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Plot: 1984

1984 by George Orwell 60second Recap Decoder Resources PageGeorge Orwell’s 1984 is a story about one man’s struggle to think for himself in a world that doesn’t want him to think at all.

It’s also the story of the emotions experienced by the main character, Winston Smith, as he struggles to assert his humanity in an inhuman society.

Watch as the events in Orwell’s plot track Winston’s emotional journey…from paranoia to hope…to fear…to agony. Just don’t say we promised you a happy ending.


George Orwell, 1949
Famous for: Big Brother, doublethink, and some of the 20th century's most memorable quotes: "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Heart of Darkness by Robert Conrad_60second Recap Decoder Video Study Guide

George Orwell wants you to experience his main character’s feelings. So does Robert Conrad: In Heart of Darkness, Conrad takes you on a journey that’s as emotional as it is geographical.

Recap Three, 1984

Orwell’s Dystopia:
A Tale of Six Emotional States.

After reading a few pages of 1984, you might begin to feel like you’ve become a part of the story. Don’t worry: Orwell would have wanted it that way. In fact, his story seems designed to help you experience Winston Smith’s emotions right along with Winston Smith!

Yes, the plot of 1984 is as much about emotions as it is about events. Here they are:

1. Paranoia.

We meet main character Winston Smith. He lives in London, the largest city in Airstrip One (formerly the United Kingdom, now part of the superstate Oceania). Winston works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, rewriting and distorting history. We experience Winston’s life in this rigorously controlled society. Everyone and everything is subject to the government’s observant eye. At home, at work, even in the bathroom, no place is safe. Big Brother is always watching.

1984 by George Orwell: 60second Recap Overview

Recap Two, 1984: Overview.

2. Hope.

We learn of Winston’s secret dream of a world in which people are free to think for themselves. It’s a world that can only brought about by a rebellion against those who control the government—the members of the Inner Party.

3. Fear.

We watch as Winston begins to keep a diary. We learn that he risks death if he’s caught. Winston meets a dark-haired girl from the Fiction Department: We’re led to be believe that she’s with the Thought Police and that she’s out to destroy him.

1984 by George Orwell Characters 60second Recap

Up Next…Recap Four, 1984: Characters.

4. Hope.

We watch as the dark-haired girl hands Winston a note that says, “I love you.” The girl’s name is Julia. They fall in love and dedicate themselves to overthrowing Big Brother and its government. They’re brought into an underground, anti-Big Brother organization called “the Brotherhood” by a man named O’Brien. We assume O’Brien hates the Party as much as they do.

5. Paranoia.

We watch as Winston realizes that Big Brother has caught him reading forbidden anti-government literature. We see Winston and Julia arrested and separated. We follow Winston into a windowless prison, the Ministry of Love, where he sits alone. And waits.

6. Agony.

O’Brien arrives at the Ministry of Love and now we see that he has come not to rescue Winston, but to break him. O’Brien succeeds: Winston and Julia betray each other and become everything they once hated: They become the unthinking pawns of Big Brother.

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