Nineteen Eighty-Four is a compelling novel, written in the period just after W.W.II. It details the life of one man, Winston Smith, and his struggles with an undoubtedly fascist government. The book is set approximately in the year 1984, in which Winston's society is ruled by a governing force known as "The Party". At the head of this government is a fictional figure known as Big Brother, to whom all citizens must love and respect. In this society, privacy and freedom do not exist. People are constantly monitored by telescreens, and subjected to a constant barrage of propaganda. Any devious thought or action is dealt with by cruel and deadly punishment.
Winston is a worker in one of the government agencies. His job: to rewrite the past so that The Party, specifically Big Brother, appears to be omnipotent. From as long as he can remember, he has despised The Party and what it stood for, although he doesn't reveal his true feelings to anyone around him. When Winston begins a torrid love affair with one of the young women in his agency named Julia, he finds someone else who shares in his beliefs. The two have several meetings throughout the book, in which they discuss their hatred for the government. They join a secret alliance called The Brotherhood, who's specific purpose is the end of The Party. Through the literature of The Brotherhood, they learn about the inner workings of The Party and how it accomplishes its stronghold on the people. The world as Winston knows it comes crashing down when he and Julia are arrested by the thought police, a faction of the government which deals with those who do not agree and abide by the ways of The Party. They are taken to a prison unlike any other. Winston is constantly tortured and beaten, until he confesses to crimes which he didn't commit or never even happened. If the party just killed Winston right away, they might run the risk of making a martyr out of him. Instead they re-educate him with the morals of The Party, using such techniques as pain, starvation, and using Winston's greatest fear against him. Once re-educated, he is introduced back into society. But he is not the same person, just a hollow shell. Winston had once said in the novel that if he could die hating Big Brother, then he would have won. But when Winston is finally killed, the only thing he can think is that he loves Big Brother.
As this book was written just after the reign of Hitler in W.W.II, one can easily guess where Orwell got the basis for it. The world was in a general state of disbelief and panic after the atrocities that Hitler had committed. It was hoped that nothing like this would ever happen again. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a good reason why. The novel shows what could have happened if Hitler was able to continue upon his quest for power. The novel can also apply to the present era, as the novel was actually set in more modern times. Not only does the novel apply to Hitler's way of thinking, but also to Stalin. Even though both are at opposite sides of the political spectrum, they both established totalitarian governments. The Party also ran a totalitarian government but on a much larger scale.
A large part of the novel deals with the relationship between The Party and society. Many of the techniques used by The Party are similar to those used by Hitler or any controlling government for that matter. One of these ways is by propaganda. With telescreens in everyone's homes, it was very easy to broadcast the views and beliefs of The Party. Also, as this was the only form of broadcasted media, the government could easily control what the people watched and listened to. Another form of propaganda was by means of posters and slogans. In this society it was impossible to go anywhere without seeing a poster of Big Brother and reading slogans such as "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU" and "War is Peace...Freedom is Slavery...Ignorance is Strength." Hitler was a big fan of propaganda and used it a great deal. Also,