Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian novel by the English writer George Orwell, published in 1949. The story, which focuses on the life of Winston Smith, was Orwell's vision of a totalitarian state which has absolute control over every action and thought of its people through propaganda, secrecy, constant surveillance, and harsh punishment. In some editions it is retitled 1984.

Part One

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.
  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
    • Ch. 1
  • DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER
    • Ch. 1
  • The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education and the fine arts. The Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs.
    • Ch. 1
  • The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.
    • Ch. 1
  • Then the face of Big Brother faded away again and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:
    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
    • Ch. 1
  • Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed— would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper— the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever.
    • Ch. 1
  • To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!
    • Ch. 2
  • Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.
    • Ch. 2
  • Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time.
    • Ch. 3
  • If all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.
    • Ch. 3
  • He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.
    • Ch. 3
  • If there is hope... it lies in the proles.
    • Ch. 7
  • Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
    • Ch. 7
  • He wondered, as he had many times wondered before, whether he himself was a lunatic. Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.
    • Ch. 7

Part Two

  • The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, "just to keep people frightened."
    • Ch. 5
  • "You're only a rebel from the waist downwards," he told her.
    • Ch. 5
  • "Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn't matter: only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you—that would be the real betrayal."
    She thought it over. "They can't do that," she said finally. "It's the one thing they can't do. They can make you believe it. They can't get inside you."
    "No," he said a little more hopefully, "no; that's quite true. They can't get inside you. If you can feel that staying human is worth while, even when it can't have any result whatever, you've beaten them."
    • Ch. 7
  • The empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc.
    • Ch. 9
  • There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.
    • Ch. 9
  • The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.
    • Ch. 9
  • All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers.
    • Ch. 9
  • War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible.
    • Ch. 9
  • Sanity is not statistical.
    • Ch. 9
  • The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation.
    • Ch. 9

Part Three

  • I tell you Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the party holds to be truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.
    • Ch. 2
  • "How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."
    "Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane."
    • Ch. 2
  • We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. [...] we make the brain perfect before we blow it out.
    • Ch. 2
  • The command of the old despotisms was Thou shalt not. The command of the totalitarians was Thou shalt. Our command is Thou art.
    • Ch. 2
  • Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
    • Ch. 2
  • The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites.
    • Ch. 3
  • We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
    • Ch. 3
  • He also felt that his mother’s love for him and his awareness of her death as a tragedy belonged to a bygone age when words like love and tragedy had some real meaning just as human individuals possessed some real dignity.
    • Ch. 3
  • The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy— everything.
    • Ch. 3
  • We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science.
    • Ch. 3
  • There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always— do not forget this, Winston— always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.
    If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.
    • Ch. 3
  • If you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct; we are the inheritors. Do you understand that you are alone? You are outside history, you are non-existent.
    • Ch. 3
  • To die hating them, that was freedom.
    • Ch. 4
  • "You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."
    • Ch. 5
  • "They can't get inside you," she had said. But they could get inside you. "What happens to you here is forever," O'Brien had said. That was a true word. There were things, your own acts, from which you could never recover. Something was killed in your breast: burnt out, cauterized out.
    • Ch. 6
  • Under the spreading chestnut tree
    I sold you and you sold me.
    There lie they, and here lie we
    Under the spreading chestnut tree.
    • Ch. 6
  • But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.
    • Ch. 6

Appendix

  • The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.


External links

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WARNING: Nineteen Eighty-Four will NOT enter the public domain in the United States of America until 2044 and in the European Union until 2020, although it is public domain in countries such as Canada, Russia, and Australia.