1984 by George Orwell

Section One, Part I Analysis (pp. 1-20)

1984 is a tightly woven novel, and all the elements important to the story appear in some form in the opening chapter. Orwell introduces all the major characters in the story, including the symbolic Big Brother and Goldstein. He also sets the tone of tension, oppression, and blatant lies quickly through his use of setting: crumbling buildings named "Victory Mansions", police craft constantly searching, telescreens forcing people to act with the knowledge they are under constant surveillance. On the first page, before describing Winston's appearance, Orwell mentions "a varicose ulcer above his right ankle". This might seem like an odd detail, but Orwell continues to refer to the condition of the ulcer throughout the work. Because the condition of the ulcer mirrors the level of repression/oppression experienced by Winston, it can be inferred the ulcer is a symbol of, or at least a manifestation of, Winston's repressed humanity. The blue overalls worn by the Party are also curious because, as is later mentioned in the work, they were once the uniform of the working class (the proletariat), the very class shunned by the Party in the novel.

Orwell includes a footnote on page four referring the reader to the appendix where Newspeak, the official language of Oceania, is discussed. The appendix demonstrates the ingenuity and subtle insidiousness of the Party. The goal of Newspeak is to eliminate the ability to even think about rebellion. By constantly trimming down the vocabulary and concepts available to a person, the Party reduces a person's ability to even conceive of resisting. The appendix also discusses an important concept in the book: "doublethink". Doublethink is the act of holding two contrasting beliefs at the same time and is used by the Inner Party members to create the reality they desire and to control the minds of those below them.

It is interesting to note Winston would never have been able to begin resisting without the journal and would never have been able to write in the journal were it not for the alcove intended for a bookshelf. The first passage Winston writes contains strong allusions to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. The passage also introduces "the proles", the proletariat, the working poor who comprise the majority of the population, but due to their lack of education are not considered by the Party to be a threat.

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