Written in 1949, the novel takes place in 1984 and presents an imaginary future. The state is called Oceania and is ruled by The Party, who control every aspect of life, including people's thoughts. Winston Smith is a 39 year old man living in London who secretly hates The Party, and wants to rebel against Big Brother, the dictator. He starts keeping a diary of his rebellious thoughts, knowing that he will soon be caught by the Thought Police and most likely killed. Winston then becomes fascinated by "proles", or the lowest social class of Ocieania who aren't under 24 hour surveillance. He befriends a prole shop owner, Mr. Charrington, who reminisces about life before Big Brother. He eventually starts a relationship with a girl at work when she secretly slips him a note saying "I love you". Winston and Julia sneak around, meeting in discreet places such as a clearing in the woods, and begin to rent the room above Mr. Charrington's shop as a private place for the two of them. O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party, finds an excuse to give Winston and Julia his home address and meet with them. He eventually enlists them in the Brotherhood, a secret organization dedicated to fight Big Brother. Winston is thrilled that he is not alone and goes to the room above Mr. Charrington's shop where he gets arrested by the Thought Police and discovers Mr. Charrington is really a Thought Police agent. He is taken to the Ministry of Love where he learns O'Brien is an orthodox government agent and deliberately tricked him. O'Brien tortures and brainwashes him until he fully believes in the Party and its ideals. In the end, Winston has submitted completely and all feelings are destroyed, including the ones he had for Julia.
1. Do you think there are any similarites with our society and the society in the novel?
2. Do you think that anything or anybody can really control people's thoughts or beliefs?