Literapedia Book Notes for

1984 by George Orwell


Characters

  • Winston Smith (I:1) protagonist, member of The Party
  • Julia (I:1) works in the Department of Fiction, wears a red sash, rebellious party member, Winston's lover
  • O'Brien (I:1) works in Winston's office, Winston feels special connection to him
  • Big Brother (I:1) the Leader of The Party, his picture is on posters everywhere
  • Mrs. Parsons (I:2) downstairs neighbor of Winston
  • Tom Parsons (I:2) husband of Mrs. Parsons, coworker to Winston, sweats a lot
  • Tillotson (I:4) man who works in cubicle accross from Winston's
  • Syme (I:5) Winston's comrade whose "society is pleasanter than that of others"
  • Katharine (I:6) Winston's wife
  • Mr. Charrington (I:8) old man, owner of Week's antique shop
  • Old Man in the Bar (I:8) discusses his distant memories of pre-Ingsoc with Winston

Chapter Summaries


Part One:
  1. Winston comes home from work during his lunch break and opens, for the first time, his diary, committing a thoughtcrime. While writing, he recalls that day's Two Minutes Hate at the Minitruth.
  2. Winston unclogs Mrs. Parson’s sink, gets shot at with toy guns by her children, and reflects on what the Party is doing to groom children’s thoughts for the future. He hides the diary and returns to work.
  3. Winston wakes from a dream about his parents, and during the course of that morning’s Physical Jerks reflects on the Party’s control of history, explaining the idea of doublespeak.
  4. Winston goes to work, essentially rewriting facts and numbers of history. He invents Comrade Ogilvy.
  5. Winston eats lunch with Syme and Parsons, and he allows his thoughts to wander during the Miniplenty announcement.
  6. Winston enters the story of his past encounter with a prostitute into his diary and reflects on how the Party has changed the nature of sex.
  7. Winston writes about how history has been changed retrospectively, and how the only hope lies in the proles. He decides he is writing this diary for O'Brien.
  8. Winston goes out into the land of the proles, visiting a neighborhood, conversing with an old man in a bar, and visiting quite by accident the antique shop from which he bought his diary. He buys the paperweight.

Part Two:
  1. Winston finds out that the girl with the red sash (Julia) is in love with him, and he manages to arrange a private meeting with her.
  2. Winston and Julia begin their love affair in the woods.
  3. Julia and Winston continue their affair, and discuss society and the lies of the Party in an old, abandoned bell-tower.
  4. Winston rents the room above Week's antique shop, and there continues his love affair with Julia.
  5. Syme is vaporized. Winston and Julia continue their affair, and they have a discussion as to what the Party's aims are and if what they are doing is important.
  6. Winston and O'Brien meet in the hall close to the place that Julia first slipped Winston his note. O'Brien compliments Winston on his writing and offers to give him a dictionary, giving him the opportunity to visit O'Brien in his home.
  7. Winston wakes from a nightmare and relates the story of his mother's disappearance to Julia. He figures out that staying alive is not the same as staying human: staying human means that he will never lose what is inside him, i.e. his feelings for Julia.
  8. Winston and Julia decide to finally visit O'Brien. They join the Brotherhood, and O'Brien arranges to give Winston The Book.
  9. Winston begins reading Goldstein's book, skipping the first two chapters and starting with Chapter Three, which explains the necessity of perpetual warfare. After Julia arrives, he reads Chapter 1, which explains the principles and history of Ingsoc, aloud to her until they both fall asleep.
  10. Winston and Julia wake up and are captured and separated. Mr. Charrington reveals himself to be a member of the Thought Police.

Part Three:
  1. Winston is imprisoned in the Ministry of Love. He sits in his cell for a long time, accompanied by a flow of prisoners that includes Parsons and Aberforth. O'Brien enters with the men who beat Winston.
  2. Winston remembers his process of torture and confesion. O'Brien tries to cure his "madness."
  3. Winston moves on to the "understanding" state of his rehabilitation. He and O'Brien discuss the purpose and goals of the party. Winston sees himself in the mirror for the first time in weeks.
  4. Winston is placed in solitary confinement, where he is fed and grows stronger. He tries to train himself in crimestop, but he decides that if he can die while hating the Party, he will still be free.
  5. Winston goes to room 101 and faces his greatest fear. He begs for something horrible.
  6. Winston is released. He and Julia meet once. He watches bulletins in the Chesdnut Tree under Big Brother, and finally, "he loved Big Brother."

Student Contributors

Alison Walter, '08