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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Language and Communication

In 1984, language is of central importance to behavior control. The major proposition is that if control of language were centralized in a state, then the possibility of rebellion or disobedience w...

Philosophical Viewpoints

1984 is an extremely philosophical work. Winston contemplates endlessly the meaning of existence, of life, of history, of power – and each one’s relation to the other. Consider the text...

Power

1984 is not just about totalitarianism; it makes us live through totalitarianism. The Party wants power for its own sake. The Party carefully monitors the behavior of all of its constituents. Morni...

Warfare

1984 depicts warfare as a necessary tool and symptom of a totalitarian state. Oceania, one of the three superstates of the world, is in constant warfare with one of the other two. This is necessary...

Violence

1984 details at length the effectiveness of torture as a tool to control subversion in a totalitarian state (or simply one where rights are not central to governing principles). Here, though, tortu...

Technology and Modernization

Modernization in 1984 takes the form of technology, used for controlling means. By placing telescreens and clandestine microphones all across Oceania, the Party monitors its constituents 24/7. At w...

Manipulation

The Party seeks to control everything – past, present, and future. Its first effort toward attaining that goal is to control and manipulate every source of information, rewriting and modifyin...

Repression

A successful totalitarian state cannot accommodate private loyalties, since private loyalties will often trump loyalty to the Party. Because sex and family create private loyalties, the Party must...

Loyalty

A successful totalitarian state cannot accommodate private loyalties, since private loyalties will often trump loyalty to the Party. Therefore, the Party in 1984 seeks to ensure that the only and u...

Rebellion

1984 is all about rebellion. Winston starts a diary for rebellious thoughts. He then becomes concerned with grand-scale, organized resistance to the Party’s rule, and joins the Brotherhood. J...

Memory and the Past

The Party seeks to control everything – past, present, and future. Another effort towards attaining that goal is to control its constituents’ memory. Without memory, the people cannot k...
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