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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
The novel is divided into three parts with 8 to 10 chapters each. The story of the new society, under a single-Party dictatorship, unfolds in the Part I. In the second part, Julia and Winston are attracted to each other and resist the Party's oppression. Part III dwells on Winston's imprisonment, torture, and brainwashing. He is finally released from prison when O'Brien thinks that he was totally crushed Winston's spirit and made him a true believer in the Party. When Winston reveals that he still has human emotions in his continued lover for Julia, the Party puts him to death with a thought-bullet at the back of his head.
The plot of 1984 is really rather simple. The protagonist fights against his enemy, Big Brother and all he represents in the totalitarian society. He forms a relationship with Julia, who thinks similarly to himself. They defy the Party with their acts of companionship and sexual intimacy. They are arrested by the Party and imprisoned. Winston is tortured and brainwashed; verbally, he espouses the beliefs of the Part and wins his release. He is shot by the enemy when he reveals that he still harbors human emotions. There are no strange twists or wild surprises in the story, except for learning the true identities of Charrington and O'Brien. In retrospect, even these characters are not truly surprising, for they behave in a manner expected of true Party member.
The plot is deliberately simple so that Orwell can clearly convey his negative ideas on the new society. Totalitarianism and excessive control of people are horrors to the author, and he succeeds in clearly revealing the depth of the horror within the pages of the short novel. He is fearful that government can too easily seize 'power over all men'. In fact, Orwell's story is a warning about what dictatorship of any form can do to mankind.
Finally, Orwell's simple plot is allegorical, He uses Winston Smith, a common man, to represent all mankind. Winston tries harder than most in the new society to resist the control of Big Brother. In truth, he is powerless to fight against the Party in any large way. His only defense is to hold on to some small shred of his humanity. When he does, he is murdered by the Party. Orwell is trying to indicate to the reader that what happens to Winston Smith can happen to any man if the wrong leaders come to power.
To bring his plot and setting to life, Orwell uses imaginative descriptions, a racy style, and harsh language to make the reader live through everything that the main character in the novel experiences. His detailed negative descriptions of the society and the Party influence the reader to react like Winston and hate the system. His subtle use of imagery, smells, colors, and sounds, especially in the scenes of torture, make the plot more meaningful. In spite of the many descriptions, the story of Winston unfolds in a rapid enough manner to make the plot interesting for the reader from beginning to end. As a result, 1984 is a memorable novel with a plot that fully involves the reader and a theme that still has meaning for contemporary times.