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Barron's Booknotes-1984 by George Orwell-Free Book Notes
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FORM AND STRUCTURE

Although written as a novel of the near future, 1984 is not science fiction. It is a political parable, whose effectiveness comes: 1. from the author's ability to involve us so deeply in Winston's story that we care about him; 2. from the author's political convictions, his knowledge of political conditions, and his ability to project what might happen from what he already knows.

The novel 1984 is divided into three parts and an appendix.

PART ONE introduces Winston and his life in the near future, under the thumb of the ruling Party. It traces his first act of rebellion, and establishes his loneliness.

PART TWO shows Winston trying to change his life by having a love affair with Julia, and meeting O'Brien, who he thinks is in a secret Brotherhood dedicated to overthrowing the Party. It shows his rising hopes for a better future being dashed by his capture. Part Two bulges because it contains a lengthy piece of political writing that may wreck the novel's structure, by bringing dramatic action to a complete halt.

PART THREE details Winston's brainwashing by O'Brien, his resistance and eventual collapse, and his conversion to Party beliefs.


THE APPENDIX contains a description of Newspeak. It is a kind of narrative leftover that didn't fit into the novel.

Notice that 1984 is one of the few novels with an appendix, the kind of thing you usually find in texts. Along with the political excerpt in Part Two, the Appendix advances the author's political message but may not help the book as novel. You may want to write about your approval of, or objection to, these extra sections.

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Barron's Booknotes-1984 by George Orwell-Free Book Notes
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