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Part One, Chapter One

It's a cold day in April, and Winston Smith is just getting to his home at Victory Mansions in London. (London is in a region named Oceania, which consists of the Americas, England, Australia, and several other regions near the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.) He walks up the stairs since the elevator is broken, as usual. Every floor boasts a domineering poster of a middle-aged and rugged-looking man, under which the caption reads: "Big Brother is watching." In his apartment, there is the familiar telescreen, which watches Winston's every move, even though Winston knows the real threat is the Thought Police, capable of seeing into his mind. From his apartment, there is a clear view of the Four Ministries, which tower over the other buildings in London: the Ministry of Truth, Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Love, and Ministry of Plenty. On the Ministry of Truth, also called the Minitrue (in Newspeak), are the three slogans of the Party: "War is Peace," "Freedom is Slavery," and "Ignorance is Strength." (There is also the ever-present term "Ingsoc" which is Newspeak for English Socialism. For reference, there is a Newspeak guide in the Appendix.)

Having left work early that day, Winston misses lunch and makes do with a cup of gin. He situates himself in his living room, in a special corner where he has discovered the telescreen cannot see, and begins to start a diary - an act that carries serious punishments in the eyes of the Party. Nonetheless, Winston continues, starting by writing down the date: "April 4th, 1984." He then pauses in confusion, first wondering for whom he is even writing the diary and then whether the reader will heed his advice in the diary. Suddenly, Winston begins to write furiously and recounts his trip to the movies last night, to a showing of a graphic war film. He stops writing again and recalls an encounter that morning, which spurred his desire to start the diary. It happened during the Two Minute Hate, a daily experience where Party members shout furiously after being incited by propaganda directed against Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People and the Traitor of the Party. During the Hate, Winston catches the eye of his colleague, O'Brien from the Inner Party, and realizes suddenly that O'Brien might have the same resentment towards the Party! Winston is inspired, especially by the idea that the Brotherhood, an underground anti-Party organization, might really exist. Winston emerges from his reminiscing and realizes that he has written "Down with Big Brother" all over his diary. He fears being discovered, but he knows there is no escape from the Thought Police and makes no attempts to cover up his writing. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Part One, Chapter One
Part One, Chapter Two
Part One, Chapter Three
Part One, Chapter Four
Part One, Chapter Five
Part One, Chapter Six
Part One, Chapter Seven
Part One, Chapter Eight
Part Two, Chapter One
Part Two, Chapter Two
Part Two, Chapter Three
Part Two, Chapter Four
Part Two, Chapter Five
Part Two, Chapter Six
Part Two, Chapter Seven
Part Two, Chapter Eight
Part Two, Chapter Nine
Part Two, Chapter Ten
Part Three, Chapter One
Part Three, Chapter Two
Part Three, Chapter Three
Part Three, Chapter Four
Part Three, Chapter Five
Part Three, Chapter Six


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