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Free Study Guide-1984 by George Orwell-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The novel is set in Oceania, a superstate that includes the continent of America and the British Isles. Most of the action takes place in London. The other setting is the village of Paddington, which is not very far from London. In addition, there are two other superstates with which Oceania is constantly at war. These states are Eurasia, which includes the entire northern region of Europe, and Eastasia. Authoritarian governments or oligarchies control all three superstates.

Written in 1949, the story is set in 1984, 35 years into the future. The novel attempts to give a picture of what modern society will look like. It is not a pleasant view, for the story is about the struggle of an individual to retain his human spirit, sanity, and freedom in the fiercely automated and strictly controlled society of Oceania.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Winston Smith

The protagonist and main character of the novel. He is an intellectual middle aged man of 39 and a member of the Outer Party. He is also an honest man who questions and rebels against the lonely and insecure life, stripped of all human feelings, in the state of Oceania. He falls in love with Julia and is punished for the relationship with her.

Julia

A beautiful young girl of 26. Although a worker for the Party, she rebels against its ban on love and sex. She falls in love with Winston and looks towards him for emotional and physical companionship.

O'Brien

A shrewd, intelligent man who holds a high rank in the Inner Party. He comes across as a friend to Winston in the opening chapters of the novel. Later, he turns out to be the informer from the Party who turns Winston in and punishes him. He epitomizes the brute force and fanaticism of the Party.


Big Brother

The head of the Party Ingsoc. Though Big Brother does not exist in reality, his presence throughout the novel is overwhelming.

Minor Characters

Tom Parsons

A co-worker and neighbor to Winston. He is a stupid but loyal member of the Party. He is extremely proud of his children who spy on others and report them to the Police.

Syme

Winston's friend who is working on the eleventh edition of the Newspeak dictionary at the Ministry of Truth. The Party puts him to death due to his blunt and frank nature.

Mr. Charrington

The owner of a small shop selling odds and ends and secondhand articles. He lets Winston and Julia use the top floor of his shop as their hideout. In the end, he reveals himself to be a member of the Thought Police.

Ampleforth

A poet who makes a brief appearance in the staff canteen. He also works at the Ministry of Truth.

Tillotson

A man with a fierce look, who works with Winston in the Records Department.

Rutherford

One of the prominent members of the party who is accused of plotting against the Ingsoc. He is punished, forced to confess, and disappears.

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