1984: AN ANALYSIS

TITLE

What purpose or purposes does the title serve?
 The title “1984” is the year when it all happened.

Suggest a possible title of your own. State your reason or reasons for your suggested title.
 A possible title would be “Thoughtcriminal”. This would serve as a good title because the main
character, Winston, had already admitted to himself that he is a thoughcriminal.


PLOT

Is the plot simple or complex? If complex, how many threads of different “stories” are found? How
are these threads united so that the whole plot is a unit instead of a number of disconnected stories?
What characters serve as connecting links?
 The plot is simple. The story circulated in Winston having thoughtcrimes. Although, there were
separate issues about his sexual desires and disbelief in the Party. These two issues are being
connected by Winston himself and by the fact that both are thoughtcrimes.

How would you describe the movement of the plot- slow or rapid? Point out passages where the
movement is slow. Suggest why the author might have purposely made it slow (consider contrast).
 The movement of the plot is fast. For example, at first Winston was just having sexual desires for
the dark-haired woman who he even suspected as a thought police. And all of a sudden, after
one small conversation, the woman, Julia, confessed his love to him. I think the author did this
because these events are needed in building up the turning point/climax of the story.

Does the plot progress steadily from the beginning (linear plot), or does it open with some event, then
go back to tell what happened before-“flashback” (circular pilot)? If it employs flashback, at what
point does the story start? Or does it begin in the middle part of the action?
 The story has a circular plot. It started with Winston working as an editor. Throughout the story,
flashbacks were presented.

Does the author employ suspense by breaking the action at a critical point to introduce comment
description, or another “story”?
 Throughout the story, flashbacks about Winston’s past were illustrated. Some of these
flashbacks do not have direct relation to the current scene in the story, but were rather used to
give hints about what will happen in the later scenes.

Is the plot probable as a whole? Are there any improbable incidents?
 I don’t think that the plot of the story is probable as a whole. Some events are probable, but not
as a whole. Losing memories of the past (especially just 4 years ago) I think is improbable. Also,
the surveillance system in each and every member of the Party using telescreens and
microphones is too much to be probable.

What are the “inciting forces”? Point them out.
 The inciting forces in the story are very clear. The Party’s manipulation of the minds of its
members is the most critical inciting force in the story. The Party put a lot of effort into making
its members believe what the Party wants them to believe. They were not even free to express
love towards other people, not even to parents. They say they were free, but they definitely
weren’t.

Is there a crisis?
 Yes, there is a crisis. The crisis started when Winston started having thought crimes, and became
more complicated when he got involved with Julia.

At what point is the climax or turning point, the time at which the interest is at the highest pitch?
 The turning point is the scene when Winston and Julia were caught by the Thought Police.

It is a “closed” or submerged plot or an “open” plot?
 It is a closed plot because the story had a definite ending.



STYLE

How would you describe the author’s general style?
 The author’s style is direct. Although his words lack emotional involvement, critical readers of
the book may find his words alarming and creepy.

Does the style have individuality? Is there something about it that makes it different from that of
other writers?
 I think the author’s writing style has individuality. Making straight-to-the-point statements with
deep meanings is what makes him different from other authors.

Are the sentences particularly long or short? (Cite examples)
 Most sentences are short.
 “Bad news coming, thought Winston.” (page 33)
 “There was only one possible conclusion: the confessions were lies.” (page 100)
 “I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY.” (page 101)

Is there much dialogue? Much description? Very rapid action? (cite examples)
 There is not much dialogue in the story especially before Winston met Julia and O’Brien, but
there are lots of descriptions.
 In page 107, the author wrote as description:
“He walked on. The bomb had demolished a group of houses 200 metres up the
street. A black plume of smoke hung in the sky, and below it a cloud of plaster
dust in which a crowd was already forming around the ruins. There was a little
pile of plaster lying on the pavement ahead of him, and in the middle of it he
could see a bright red streak. When he got up to it he saw that it was a human
hand severed at the wrist. Apart from the bloody stump, the hand was so
completely whitened as to resemble a plaster cast.”
 In pages 142-143, the author wrote as a dialogue:
‘What time do you leave work?’
‘Eighteen-thirty.’
‘Where can we meet?’
‘Victory Square, near the monument.’
‘It’s full of telescreens.’
‘It doesn’t matter if there’s a crowd.’
‘Any signal?’
‘No. Don’t come up to me until you see me among a lot of people. And don’t look at me.
Just keep somewhere near me.’
‘What time?’
‘Nineteen hours.’
‘All right.’

Does the author make epigrams (short sentences filled with meaning that might serve as quotation?
Cite examples.
 “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” (page 34)
 “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.” (page 95)
 “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” (page
44)
 “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
(page 103)

Does the author use unfamiliar words? Cite some examples and give their meanings.
 Newspeak – the new language of the Party
 Doublethink – willingness to believe in contradictory statements when the Party mandates it
 Ingsoc – newspeak for English Socialism
 Prole – non-member of the Party
 Saccharine – a substitute for sugar
 Speakwrite – used to translate spoken word to written word
 Thoughtcrime – anti-Party thoughts
 Unperson – someone who no longer exist

Does the author mention religious, historical or mythological persons or events? How do they add to
the total effect of the story?
 There were not much historical events mentioned in the story, although most scenarios can be
related to the World War II. “God” was mentioned in some passages to describe power.

If dialect is used, is it hard to understand? What is gained by its use?
 Newspeak, for this book, is the dialect used. It is not that hard to understand since newspeak
words are closely similar to English words. The use of newspeak as the new language of the
Party is one illustration of IngSoc’s intentions to manipulate the way of thinking of the members
of the Party.

Does the dialogue seem natural? If it stiff and awkward? Do the characters seem to be talking at the
level we expect of them? If they are uneducated, do they sound it?
 For most of the dialogues between Winston and Julia, it was awkward because they were not
supposed to talk to each other on a romantic level. The characters were talking at the level we
expect them. Since the main characters are members of the Party, that means they are
educated and smart and they do sound like it.

Did the author use figures of speech? Cite examples and identify their type.
 The author’s writing style is mostly straightforward so there are not much figures of speech
used. For example, in the passage “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” a
metaphor was used. A metaphor was also used in the passage “We are the priests of power”.

Did the author employ foreshadowing-giving of hints of events that will transpire in the later part of
the story?
 The author did employ foreshadowing in the story. Winston had dreams about meeting with
O’Brien and making love with Julia even before they really met.



SETTING

What is the geographical location of the story? Does it shift?
 The story happened in London, although it is called Airstrip One in the story. The location does
not shift.

What is the time of the story? Can we as modern readers identify with the time if it is not the present?
How or Why?
 The time of the story starts in 1984 and ends in 1985. Modern readers can identify that the time
of the story is in the past and not in the future because the story has similarities with some
events in the World War II. Nevertheless, with these similarities, modern readers may probably
think that this story occurs in the 1940s.

Related Interests