1984 Book Summary - Plot, Themes and Characters Summary


1984 Book Summary

1984 book is a dystopian novel by George Orwell, published in 1949.  This book is written after World War II and focuses on a social government in Great Britain. Orwell is a famous author, especially for the satirical novel Animal Farm.  He writes this book as a warning against totalitarianism. This government depicted here controls everything from the economy to the language.

Nineteen Eighty-Four Overview

This book is set in a totalitarian society in 1984. The novel follows Winston Smith, a low-ranking ruling party member, as he begins questioning the government's oppressive control over every aspect of citizens' lives. Winston's rebellious thoughts and actions lead him to secretly join a resistance movement and embark on a dangerous journey toward individual freedom and truth.

The novel portrays a bleak and terrifying future where the government, led by the puzzling figure of Big Brother, uses language, propaganda, and surveillance to manipulate and brainwash the population. The Party's motto, "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength," reflects its twisted reasoning and reversal of reality.

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Throughout the novel, Orwell explores power, manipulation, conformity, and the nature of truth. He depicts the evils of a society where love, privacy, and free will are nonexistent. 1984 remains a formative work of literature and a warning on the perils of tyranny and the need for personal resistance.

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Characters in 1984 Book

This 1984 Book characters include the main and secondary ones that facilitate the running of the events in the story:

  1. Winston Smith – is a 39-year-old gentleman and the protagonist. He is impassive and harbors thoughts of rebellion and curiosity for the party’s power.  He desires to remain human amid inhuman circumstances in society. He finds unobtrusive methods to rebel against the government and believes his efforts will go unnoticed.
  2. Julia – she is Winston’s love and friend.  Julia works in the Ministry of Truth. She is also against the Party’s doctrines and wants to break the rules, change society, and end human suffering.
  3. O’Brien – is a member of the Inner Party and appears as a mysterious figure.  Most of the Party’s doctrine is revealed through O’Brien. He is an intelligent and cunning man who makes Winston believes he is part of the underground movement against the Party. He turns Winston into a thoughtcrime and tortures him in the Ministry of Love.
  4. Big Brother – Oceania’s supreme leader.  He is almost everywhere in telescreen projections, coins, and large posters. He is one of the founding fathers of the Party and Revolution. He makes decisions in the Party and everyone adores him.
  5. Mrs. Parsons - Tom Parsons's wife and neighbor to Winston. She is an old lady and looks tired. She has two troubled children who belong to the Spies and Youth League. Her children denounce her and her husband to the Thought Police.
  6. Tom Parson – a husband to Mrs. Parson and neighbor and co-worker to Winston. He is a simple man who believes everything that the party tells him. He is inactive and totally brainwashed by the Party’s doctrine; he doesn’t participate in community or group activities. He is imprisoned in the Ministry of Love after his daughter denounces him to the Thought Police.
  7. Tillotson – a coworker to Winston. He sits across from him in the Records department and he is very secretive.
  8. Ampleforth – a coworker of Winston’s and a poet who works in the Records Department. He rewrites politically or ideologically Oldspeak poems.
  9. Syme – he is a fake friend of Winston’s and a philologist updating the Newspeak Dictionary to its eleventh edition. Winston dislikes Syme but he loves having interesting conversations with him. Syme was a devoted Party member but he is smart and vocal.
  10. Katharine – he is Winston’s wife who isn’t directly mentioned in the book. Their relationship isn’t smooth and they don’t have a child together.
  11. Mr Charrington – he is the owner of the antique where Winston buys his first dairy, pen. Winston rents a room above Charringson in order to push his affair with her.  Mr. Charrinston pretends to be a kind man to Winston but is a member of the Thought Police.  He leads Winston and Julia in a trap and observes them through a hidden telescreen in the room, he arrests them.
  12. Martin – he is a servant to O’Brien, dark-haired, and believes he might be Chinese.

The setting of the 1984 Book

The 1984 Book setting (setting for 1984) is in Oceania, a totalitarian state. Oceania’s mainland is an airstrip formally called England. The story's events occur in London in 1984, during trying moments where the freedom and human spirit are crushed. War is constant in the text, as hunger, and political instability.

The Plot of 1984 Book

The 1984 Book plot has Winston as the main character.  In the novel’s imagined future, we observe a totalitarian government that rules over all aspects of life, including people’s thoughts. The state of Oceania is ruled by a group known as the Party, whose leader is Big Brother. 

Winston decides to rebel by forming a diary revealing his rebelling thoughts. By keeping this diary, he commits a thought crime, and he fears one day, he will be caught by the Thought police and killed.  Winston is fascinated by the lives of the lower-class people in the state who were not heavily policed.

He befriends Mr. Charrington, who shares his life before the Big Brother rule.  He also secretly starts a love affair with Julia, a Party member. They are always cautious and meet in areas that aren’t watched.  Later they rent a room above Mr. Charrington.

O’Brien, who pretends to be Winston’s friend, invites him and Julia to his house. Winston gets excited to visit, thinking he is politically orthodox and can sympathize with his hatred. O’Brien enlists them in Brotherhood, a secret organization dedicated to fighting Big Brother. He also gives them a book on Big Brother information and the states' development.

Winston and Julia leave to read the book in the room.  Not knowing they are trapped Thought Police storms in and arrests them. They are taken separately into the Ministry of Love.  In the Ministry, Winston realized that O’Brien tricked him and he is a government agent. He takes charge of torturing and then re-integration process on Winston to brainwash him fully.

Finally, Winston is forced to betray his love for Julia, and his feelings are destroyed. Winston is released and his fate is in the hands of the government.

That’s our plot summary of 1984 Book. It covers the events from 1984 chapter 1 to chapter 23. If you are interested in the 1984 chapter 8 summary or any other, don’t hesitate to place an order with us. Apart from 1984 book summary, we also provide others as things fall apart summary.

Themes in 1984 Book

The 1984 Book themes include the following:


It’s the major theme of this 1984 novel and represents the type of government that is unknown to the public. This theme serves as a warning to people and feeds them with propaganda and lies presented by the government.  The Party holds people hostage and controls their thoughts and even love relationships for instance that of Julia and Winston.  They could not even write a diary with peace because they were slaves to this government.

This government monitored people through telescreens through the Ministry of Truth and their language. People used some mottos such as “War in peace”.


It’s the second major theme in the 1984 novel.  It shows the way people were controlled and the impacts. The author propels this idea in the novel through the vessel Ministry of Truth. Winston also help in spreading propaganda as he works in in history department. He distorts facts and truths and spreads them throughout the country.

Subversion of Reality

In the novel, some people live in abject poverty while others work against each other. In a society, people should live in harmony and have a real life and access to information. In 1984, people were spying on each other. Winston Smith can’t even enjoy his marriage life.  Lies are distorted and presented as truth to the people who believe them.

Subversion of Love and Feelings

Another subject of 1984 is the subversion of love and feelings.  People are taught not to love and curb their feelings of love. Sex is a duty of the government or to the Party; that means Winston should only sire children for the Party.  This concept has made his marriage with Katherine to fail, and he rebels by getting intimate with Julia.  So, depriving people of love, even from the families, makes the ruling class destroy families and remain strong.

Political Loyalty

It’s another idea that comes out clearly in this novel. Winston is a loyal government employee, though he questions its way of doing things. But through his prosecution, we realize the government wants total obedience to its ideas. O’Brien, the Thought Police, is an example of a loyal person to the Party and Big Brother.

Resistance and Revolution

Winston and his lover Julia show resistance to the Party ideologies. They feel controlling people’s lives is wrong and want to discover the truth. Their quest for rebellion lands them into a trap, and they are arrested by the Thought police, who pretend to be his friend.

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1984 Book Styles and Structure

The novel employs various styles to convey the message. We have common ones like symbolism, imagery, etc.

  • Conflict – there is an internal and external conflict in the novel. The external conflict is among Winston Smith, the Party, and the agents. Finally, Winston is defeated and arrested.  The internal conflict is the thoughts going through Winston’s mind about his freedom and rights and the Party he works for.
  • Imagery – use of five senses in the description. For example, “…the beetle-like man with a flat face and tiny suspicious eyes” also describes the dilapidated and decaying buildings in the district, emphasizing society's poverty and degradation.
  • Symbolism: The symbols used in the novel, such as Big Brother, the Party, and the telescreen, represent the themes of power, control, and manipulation. These symbols emphasize the oppressive nature of society and the loss of individual freedom and identity.
  • Irony: The book has so many examples of irony, where the true meaning of a situation or statement is opposite to its literal meaning. For example, the slogan "War is Peace" reflects the twisted logic of the Party's propaganda and highlights the inversion of reality.
  • Foreshadowing: Orwell uses foreshadowing to create a sense of foreboding and tension in the novel, hinting at the dark events to come. For example, Winston's dream of his mother and sister being vaporized foreshadows the ultimate fate of many characters in the novel.
  • Allusion: Orwell alludes to historical and literary events and figures throughout the novel, such as the Stalinist purges and the works of Shakespeare. The allusions used in the novel enrich the content and place it within a broader cultural and historical framework.

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In a Nut-Shell 

The 1984 Book presents various negative social issues that sometimes affect the community. Though some may be exaggerated, we have issues of political loyalty, revolution, and propaganda even in the ruling systems today.  So, the events that occur in the text act as a warning to the ruling systems about the effects of inappropriate policies and ideologies.

The author has used more irony to explore the citizens' challenges. These people have no rights to expression, thoughts, and even decision making. Big Brother seems like a god for everyone. 

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