George Orwell 1984 Summary

Part One – Thoughtcrime

1984 Chapter One – Big Brother Is Watching You







Part One – Thoughtcrime: Chapter One – Big Brother Is Watching You

With what unusual detail does Orwell capture the reader’s attention in the opening sentence?

Orwell’s inclusion of the unusual detail that ‘the clocks were striking thirteen’ captures the reader’s attention by emphasising how different the world in which ‘1984’ is set is to our own.


Why does Winston take the stairs rather than the lift?

Winston takes the stairs because ‘the electricity was switched off during the day to save money for Hate Week’.


What is different about the televisions in our world to those the world in which ‘1984’ is set?

The televisions in the world in which ‘1984’ is set cannot be switched off completely, unlike those in our world.


What effect does the presence of the Thought Police have on the behaviour of the citizens of Oceania?

The fact that the Thought Police can listen to or watch the citizens of Oceania at any time without them noticing ensures that they behave ‘correctly’ all of the time.


“The Ministry of Truth is described as a small building.” True or false?

This statement is false: the Ministry of Truth ‘was an enormous white building, three hundred metres high’ and you could see it towering above the buildings surrounding it from up to a kilometre away.


What is unexpected about the Ministry of Love, given its name?

The fact that Ministry of Love ‘was responsible for Law and Order’ and surrounded by armed guards is surprising given its name.


How does Orwell imply that the smile Winston gives to the telescreen in his bedroom was not genuine?

Orwell implies that the smile Winston gives to the telescreen in his bedroom was not genuine by following his description of it with the comment that ‘it was a good idea to look happy when you were facing the telescreen’.


Which details of Goldstein’s life are depicted as uncertain?

The uncertainty surrounding the life of Goldstein focuses on three details: how long ago he was an important member of the Party, how he escaped with his life and from where he commits his crimes against the Party.


What reasons are given for Winston’ dislike of young women?

Winston’s dislike of young women is ascribed to his view of them as ‘always most loyal to the Party’ and ‘happiest to spy on others’.


Why is Winston interested in O’Brien?

Winston is interested in O’Brien because he thinks that his intelligent appearance suggests that he might question the beliefs of the Party.


What definition of thoughtcrime in given?

Thoughtcrime, in Newspeak, is described as having an idea or opinion which the Party viewed as criminal.

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