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Key Facts

Key Facts

full title  ·  1984

author · George Orwell

type of work  · Novel

genre · Negative utopian, or dystopian, fiction

language  · English

time and place written  · England, 1949

date of first publication  · 1949

publisher  · Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

narrator  · Third-person, limited

climax  · Winston’s torture with the cage of rats in Room 101

protagonist  · Winston Smith

antagonist  · The Party; Big Brother

setting (time)  · 1984

setting (place)  · London, England (known as “Airstrip One” in the novel’s alternate reality)

point of view  · Winston Smith’s

falling action  · Winston’s time in the café following his release from prison, including the memory of his meeting with Julia at the end of Book Three

tense  · Past

foreshadowing  · Winston’s dreams (making love to Julia in the forest, meeting O’Brien in the “place where there is no darkness”); the St. Clement’s Church song (“Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!”)

tone · Dark, frustrated, pessimistic

themes  · The psychological, technological, physical, and social dangers of totalitarianism and political authority; the importance of language in shaping human thought

motifs  · Urban decay (London is falling apart under the Party’s leadership); the idea of doublethink (the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s mind at the same time and believe them both to be true)

symbols  · The glass paperweight (Winston’s desire to connect with the past); the red-armed prole woman (the hope that the proles will ultimately rise up against the Party); the picture of St. Clement’s Church (the past); the telescreens and the posters of Big Brother (the Party’s constant surveillance of its subjects); the phrase “the place where there is no darkness” (Winston’s tendency to mask his fatalism with false hope, as the place where there is no darkness turns out to be not a paradise but a prison cell)

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by Tildinator, November 27, 2012

This is my favourite thing ever


37 out of 103 people found this helpful

This book is amazing

by LukeLay, January 28, 2013

Not really; Hamlet died at the end.


36 out of 160 people found this helpful


by drunkBrain, March 03, 2013

I guess it's a really hardline totalitarian society, as opposed to the soft 'liberalism' of Brave New World.


1 out of 1 people found this helpful

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1984 (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)