1984

In this study guide we will help you analyse the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. You can also find a detailed summary of the novel, as well as inspiration for interpreting the text and putting it into perspective.

This study guide is based on the Penguin Books edition of the novel from 2008.

Presentation of 1984

Title: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Author: George Orwell
Genre: Novel

Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950) is one of the most famous British authors of the 20th century. He is most well-known under his pseudonym George Orwell.

Orwell’s life led him all across the world. He worked as a law enforcement officer in Burma (today known as Myanmar), he participated in the Spanish Civil War (where he was badly injured), and he did a lot of journalistic work during the Second World War. Orwell’s health was very poor in the final years of his life, and in 1950 he died of tuberculosis.

Orwell’s writing spans many different genres, but he is especially famous for his works of fiction, which often have strong political overtones. Many regard the science-fiction novel Nineteen Eighty-Four as his masterpiece, and its terrifying depiction of a totalitarian surveillance state still inspires comparisons to political reality today.

Extract

You can see a short extract from our study guide below:

Big Brother

Big Brother is a key symbol in Nineteen Eighty-Four. He shows up in various ways throughout the story, even though we never meet him in person and it is doubtful whether he actually exists.

Big Brother is a symbol of the Party and its complete control of the people. In the minds of the citizens, he is often associated with positive qualities. He appears as protector, always appearing as a reassuring figure at the end of Hate videos or news about war, promising safety from the states’ enemies. We see a clear example of this in the beginning of the book, when the employees at the Ministry of Truth react to his appearance on-screen:

…drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio’d, full of power and mysterious calm […] Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement […] restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. (p. 18)

 

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1984

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