"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." This is the slogan of the Ministry of Truth, a branch of the totalitarian government in post-war London. The figurehead of this government is Big Brother, who employs a vast army of informers called the Thought Police who watch and listen to every citizen at all times through a device called a telescreen for the least signs of criminal deviation or unorthodox thoughts. This novel, like Orwell’s earlier work Animal Farm and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, is an example of anti-utopian fiction, that kind of fiction which shows man at the mercy of some force over which he has no control. Anti-utopian novels are usually intended as a criticism of the time in which the author lives. Nineteen Eighty Four, a satire of totalitarian barbarism told through the eyes of Winston Smith, is no exception. Orwell deliberately keeps the plot in 1984 simple, without any narrative twists or shocking surprises until the very end. He is very careful to present the idea that it is our society and government, not people, that are mixed up. The plot is not merely a boy meets girl story, but helps to pull the characters through the story. For Orwell’s purposes, the plot need not be too complex, for it might detract from his message. By keeping the time frame of 1984 to a short period and involving relatively few main characters, Orwell focuses on the important issues of totalitarianism and total government control through brainwashing. In connection with the plot of this novel, Orwell’s setting is of supreme importance, for it creates the ambience of the story. Orwell’s setting is well done, and helps formulate the reader’s opinions about what he is reading.
Nineteen Eighty Four begins in spring, the traditiona ltime of rebirth and romance. But the reader soon learns this is not an accurate description of the times. The air is cold and the city is a ruin. With just a few indications of setting, the reader begins to...
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