The book 1984 by George Orwell
June 8th was the 70 th anniversary of the publication of 1984
1984 led to the word Orwellian meaning a state where normal societal freedoms are restricted.
Whilst Orwell did not invent CCTV in the story Telescreens are used to spy on all the party members and many fear that with the mass use of cctv and government surveillance we are heading for a world similar to Oceania. It also spawned the phrase big brother is watching you to describe the state watching its citizens as described in the book. Room 101 also came from the book.
Winston Smith is the only character in the book whose full name is used, Julia is the only other character whose first name is used all the others are given only surnames, also winston is the only character whose party number we know, 6079.
Orwell describes a society where even thinking improper thoughts is a crime, language is systematically destroyed, relationships beyond ones with the all powerful party are discouraged, children are trained and rewarded for turning in their parents and facts of the past are changed to fit the present and accepted by every citizen.
The book describes life in a totalitarian state run by the Party Incsoc from the view of an outer party member who decides to break the law by writing a diary and falls in love and has a relationship with a younger rebellious party member whilst working as a fa t alterer at the ministry of truth where his job is to remove or Change past fact reported in the times to fit present day requirements of the party, he decides to join a resistance movement called the brotherhood run by a mysterious enemy of the state called Goldstein. He forms an alliance with an inner party member, Obrien only to be betrayed and tortured into loving the supposed head of the Party Big Brother.
Sales of the book increased recently in 2013 following the revelations by Edward Snowden and again in 2016 when President Trump mentioned "alternative facts".
In the story Winston is ever fearful of the thought police watching him who could be anyone and there was a theory Julia, winstons lover, was a member of the thought police. There is only one character in the book who is confirmed as a member of the thought police.
In 1984 the state has its own language which is increasingly being used, Newspeak. The language is used to ensure that words only have one meaning for example words such as Excellent and Terrible are replaced by double plus good or double plus bad. Syme is a character winston works with whose job is to destroy words the party does not agree with, idea being it will be impossible to think heretical thoughts if you don't have the language to think them. He is working on the 10th edition newspeak dictionary at the time of the book. Doublethink is a newspeak word meaning to hold two opposing views at the same time and simultaneously change from one view to another and forget the other as the Party requires.
Enemies of the state are made "unperson" by all records of their existence being erased so no one can prove the person ever lived. Everyone must then adjust their memory accordingly as to mention that such a person e erm existed is to commit thought crime, the most serious offence. It is never revealed whether Goldstein or Big Brother are real people or made up by the state as while they are frequently mentioned, they never appear in person in the story.
The book is set in Airstrip one which is London, part of the land of Oceania made up of the Uk, parts of the US and Australia. Oceania is constantly at war with either the lands of eastasia or Eurasia and this frequently changes however the party members will never admit the change and state they have always been at war with one or the other.
The London Underground once produced a poster showing where the three fictions ministries , ministry of peace(concerned with war) ministry of truth( concerned with news and propaganda) and the ministry of Love (concerned with justice and punishment) would have been on the map.
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