|Study Guide for 1984 Test
SHORT ANSWER STUDY GUIDE QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS
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Section One: Chapters I, II, III
1. Who is the main character? Briefly describe the main character.
The main character is Winston Smith. He is about thirty-nine years old.
2. What is the setting of the novel? Give the country and the city.
The novel is set in and around London, which is the main city of Airstrip One,
a province of the country of Oceania.
3. What are the three slogans of the Party? Write them the way they are shown in the novel.
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
4. What does the caption on the posters say?
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.
5. Name each of the Ministries and explain its function. Also include the Newspeak
name for each ministry.
The Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue, is concerned with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of Peace, or Minipax, is concerned with war. The Ministry of Love,
or Miniluv, maintains law and order. The Ministry of Plenty, or Miniplenty is responsible for
6. What date does the main character record?
April 4th , 1984
7. Describe the two people the main character sees just before the Two Minutes Hate.
Tell what he thinks of each of these people.
He sees a girl of about age 27 who works in the Fiction Department. She looks like the ideal
young Party member. Winston feels uneasy and hostile whenever he sees her. The other
character is a man named O’Brien. He is a member of the Inner Party and does some kind of
very important work, although Winston does not know exactly what it is. Winston is attracted
to O’Brien. He thinks O’Brien is someone he could talk to.
8. Explain the importance of Emmanuel Goldstein. Also describe the way his image looks.
Emmanuel Goldstein is the Enemy of the People. He had been a leading member
of the Party but then turned traitor. All crimes against the Party are attributed to
his teaching. His image is shown on the telescreen and on posters to create hatred
among Party members. He looks Jewish with fuzzy white hair and a goatee beard.
His nose is long and thin. He wears glasses. He supposedly commands an army of
conspirators called The Brotherhood.
9. Explain the importance of Big Brother. Also describe the way his image looks.
Big Brother is the leader of the Party. He has black hair, a black mustache, and
looks calm and powerful.
10. What crime does the main character commit? How does he do this? What is the punishment?
Smith commits Thoughtcrime when he opens the diary and when he writes “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” in it. The punishment is vaporization.
11. What is the telescreen and how is it used?
The telescreen is a large screen that sends and receives images and sounds at the same time.
Telescreens are in all workplaces and homes. The Thought Police regularly monitor them.
12. Describe thoughtcrime and give an example.
Thoughtcrime is thinking anything against the Party. Orwell describes it as “the essential crime that contained all others in itself.” Thoughtcrime could not be concealed forever. Eventually the Thought Police would get whoever committed thoughtcrime. Winston committed an act of thoughtcrime when he wrote in his diary.
Section One: IV, V, VI
1. What happens to the rewritten news articles after Winston puts them into the pneumatic tube?
Why is this significant?
An edition of the Times is reprinted to include the revisions. Then the original edition is destroyed. In this way, the past is always kept up to date with the present. All predictions made by the Party are always correct.
2. Winston thinks that what he does is not forgery. What does he think it is?
Winston thinks it is the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. The material has no connection with the real world.
3. What is Winston’s greatest pleasure in his life, and why is it so?
His greatest pleasure is his work. He thinks he is good at the type of rewriting that he has to do.
4. Describe the aim of Newspeak and how it works.
The main aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought. Newspeak is the only language that destroys words instead of adding new ones. The vocabulary continually gets smaller. When the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak Dictionary is finished, every needed concept will be expressed by exactly one word. All meanings will be rigidly defined. It will become impossible to commit Thoughtcrime.
5. What is Syme’s observation about Winston’s appreciation of Newspeak?
Syme says that Winston does not really appreciate Newspeak, even though his written articles are good enough. Syme thinks Winston still thinks in and prefers Oldspeak.
6. Winston is at lunch when the message on the telescreen relates the good news about
increases in production, including that the chocolate ration has been raised to twenty
grams a week. What is Winston thinking as he hears this message?
Winston remembers that the previous day the chocolate ration had been decreased to twenty grams. He wonders how all the people manage to believe the lie. He wonders if he is the only person with a memory. Winston wonders if life has always been the way it is now, and why he feels that some things are intolerable. He thinks he must have an ancestral memory that things had once been different.
7. What is facecrime? Give an example.
Facecrime is having the wrong look on one’s face. One’s features are always to be under control. To show surprise or disbelief when a war victory is announced is a facecrime.
8. Who is looking at Winston during lunch? How does this affect him?
The girl with the dark hair is looking at him. Winston is afraid that she is a spy, if not a member of the Thought Police.
9. What is the aim of the Party with regard to male-female relationships and sex?
The Party wants to prevent men and women from forming relationships and loyalties that it might not be able to control. It wants to remove all pleasure from the sexual act.
10. What is the Party’s policy on marriage, divorce, and children?
The Party approves all marriages. If the couple seem physically attracted to one another, the Party does not allow the marriage to take place. The only reason for sexual intercourse is to create a child. Divorce is not allowed. Separation is encouraged if there are no children.
Section One: VII, VIII
1. Where does Winston think hope lies? Why?
He thinks hope lies in the proles. Since the proles make up eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, they could come together to destroy the Party. He does not think the Party can be overthrown from within.
2. What is the Party belief about the proles?
The Party sees the proles as natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection. They should not have strong political feelings. They do not need to be indoctrinated in Party ideology. They only need enough patriotism to make them accept whatever the Party offers.
3. Describe the one time that Winston held real evidence of an act of falsification.
Once when he was in the Chestnut Tree Café, Winston saw three men who had been arrested, confessed, and reinstated in the Party. A little while later they were arrested. They confessed
again and were killed. About five years later Winston found a newspaper article with photo of
the men at a Party function. The date of the article was the same as the date the men said they
were in Eurasia betraying the Party. Winston realized the confessions had to be false. He destroyed the newspaper article.
4. What bothers Winston the most, along with the sense of nightmare?
He is bothered because he does not clearly understand why the falsifications take place. He wonders if he is a lunatic.
5. What bothers Winston more than the thought that he might be a lunatic?
The thought that he might be wrong bothers him more.
6. What is the heresy of heresies? Why is that terrifying to Winston?
The heresy of heresies is common sense. It is terrifying to Winston that the Party
might be right in its ideas.
7. For whom does Winston realize he is writing his diary? Why?
He is writing for O’Brien because he thinks O’Brien is on his side.
8. What is the final, most essential command of the Party?
The Party tells people to reject the evidence of their eyes and ears.
9. What does Winston write in his diary?
He writes: Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
10. Describe what happens when Winston goes to the antique shop, and who he sees when he comes out.
He buys an old paperweight that has a piece of coral in it. Then Mr. Charrington shows him the room above the shop. Winston realizes there is no telescreen. Mr. Charrington tells Winston the part of an old nursery rhyme. When he leaves the shop he sees the girl from the Fiction Department. He thinks she is following him.
Section Two: Chapters I, II, III, IV
1. Describe what happens when the girl with the dark hair falls on the floor.
Her arm is in a sling. She falls near Winston, and he helps her up. While he is helping her up she slips a note in Winston’s hand.
2. What does the note say?
I love you.
3. How does Winston feel about the message on the note?
He is stunned and finds it hard to concentrate on his work for part of the day. He feels a desire to stay alive. That night in the dark he thinks about ways to meet with the girl. Then he becomes afraid that he might lose her.
4. Describe their next meeting.
It takes place at lunchtime in the canteen a week later. Winston sits at her table and they are able to arrange a meeting in Victory Square for that night.
5. Describe their meeting in Victory Square.
They stand next to each other and watch a parade of prisoners go by. They do not look at each other. The girl gives Winston directions for a place to meet the following Sunday. They manage to hold hands for about ten seconds.
6. What emotions does Winston feel at first when the girl puts her arms around him? What emotion didn’t he feel?
He feels incredulity and pride. He does not feel any physical desire.
7. What is the girl’s name?
8. Winston asks the girl what attracted her to him. What is her answer?
She says there is something in his face that shows he does not belong. She knew right away that Winston was against the Party.
9. What does the girl tell Winston about her attitude toward the party?
She hates the Party. She says the Party wants to stop people from having fun, so she breaks the rules whenever she can. She has no interest in Party doctrine. However, she always acts interested in the Party and participates in many activities.
10. Summarize Julia’s explanation of the meaning of the Party’s sexual puritanism.
Doing without sex created a kind of hysteria in the people. When people are able to have sexual relationships they use up energy and are happy. Then they are not interested in the Party. So keeping sex away from the people enables the Party to create fear and hatred.
11. According to Winston, how has the Party used the instinct of parenthood?
Parents are still encouraged to be fond of their children. However, the children are taught to spy on their parents, creating an arm of the Thought Police in every home.
12. What does Winston do the next time he visits the little shop? Why?
He rents the room above the shop. He plans to use it for a private place for himself and Julia.
13. What does Julia bring to their meeting?
She brings luxuries that only the Inner Party members have: real coffee, sugar, and milk. She also brings and puts on makeup and perfume that she got from a prole store.
14. How does Winston react when he sees the rat?
He gets pale and tells Julia he does not like rats. He thinks of a recurring nightmare that he has.
Section Two: V, VI, VII, VIII
1. Who has vanished?
2. How has Winston changed since he started coming to the little room with Julia?
He has gained weight, he is not coughing, and his varicose ulcer has gone down. He does not drink gin. He does not have any urge to make faces at the telescreen or curse.
3. What do Winston and Julia realize about their relationship?
They know it cannot last.
4. What does Winston realize from talking to Julia about things he remembers?
He realizes that it is easy to look like one was supporting the Party when one has no idea what was really going on.
5. Describe the meeting between Winston and O’Brien.
They meet in a hallway in the Ministry. O’Brien compliments Winston on his writing. He mentions Syme’s work but not his name. This reference seems to Winston to be a signal or code word that he and O’Brien are accomplices in thoughtcrime. O’Brien offers to loan Winston a copy of the Eleventh Edition of the Newspeak dictionary and gives Winston his address in full view of a telescreen.
6. What does Winston think this meeting means?
He thinks the meeting means that the conspiracy against The Party is real and he has reached it. He also thinks it will mean his death.
7. What does Winston tell Julia the real betrayal will be when they are caught?
He says the real betrayal will be if they can be made to stop loving each other.
8. How does Winston say they can beat the Party?
He says if they can feel inside that staying human is worthwhile they will have beaten the Party.
9. Describe the meeting between O’Brien, Julia, and Winston at O’Brien’s apartment.
Winston asks if Goldstein and the Brotherhood are real. O’Brien tells them it is, and that he is part of it. They say they want to join. O’Brien says they won’t see any changes in their lifetime. He tells Winston how he will receive a copy of Goldstein’s book.
10. What does O’Brien know that surprises Winston?
O’Brien knows the last line of the rhyme that Mr. Charrington had started telling him.
Section Two: IX, X
1. Why is Winston working such long hours?
The enemy has changed from Eurasia to Eastasia, so all of the literature has to be rewritten.
2. According to The Book, what is the aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink)?
The aim of modern war is to use up products but not raise the standard of living.
3. According to The Book, what is really going on with the war, and why?
The superstates are not really fighting with each other. The powers of each superstate are really warring against their own people to keep the structure of the society intact.
4. While Winston is reading Chapter 1 of The Book, he stops for a minute. Why does he stop reading?
He stopped reading to appreciate the fact that he was reading in comfort and safety, without feeling nervous, and with no telescreen watching him.
5. How is the current government different than any previous governments? What invention enables it to be like this?
The current government is able to watch all the citizens all the time because of the invention of the two-way telescreen. Previous governments were not able to watch the citizens all of the time.
6. Explain the organization of the Party.
Big Brother is at the top, followed by members of the Inner Party. The Outer Party comes next, followed by the proles.
7. Explain the concept of doublethink.
Doublethink is the ability to have two opposite or contradictory thoughts at the same time, and accept both of them. People who practice doublethink are able to tell lies and believe them or forget about facts that they don’t need. They deny objective reality while they are aware of that same reality.
8. What is the one thing that Winston and Julia know they will never do together?
They will never have a child together.
9. While Winston and Julia are in the room, he says, “We are the dead,” and Julia repeats the phrase. What happens next?
They hear another voice say, “We are the dead.” The voice is coming from behind the picture, as there is a hidden telescreen. The Thought Police come into the room and captured them.
10. What does Winston discover about Mr. Charrington?
He is a member of the Thought Police.
Section Three: Chapters I, II
1. Where is Winston as this section of the novel opens?
He is in the Ministry of Love.
2. What is Winston Smith’s number?
3. Who is brought into the cell with Winston and why does he think he is there?
Ampleforth is brought in. He thinks it was because he let the word “God” stay at the end of a sentence of a poem he was rewriting.
4. Who is brought into the cell next and why? Who denounced him? How does he feel about the arrest?
Parsons is brought in for committing thoughtcrime. His daughter had denounced him for saying, “Down with Big Brother.” He tells Winston he must have been guilty and was glad the Thought Police had stopped him before it went any further.
5. What is the number of the room where the guards take some of the prisoners? How do many of them react to this?
They are taken to Room 101. Many of them react with fear.
6. Who comes into the room next? What does Winston discover about this person?
O’Brien comes in and Winston discovers that O’Brien is a Party member, not a member of the Brotherhood, and has betrayed him.
7. Describe what is happening to Winston in Section Three: Chapter II, and who is doing this.
Winston is being tortured by O’Brien. O’Brien says Winston is insane and he (O’Brien) will cure Winston.
8. What does O’Brien tell Winston about Big Brother, the Party, and the Brotherhood?
Big Brother and the Party both exist. Winston will never know if the Brotherhood exists.
9. What is the last question that Winston asks O’Brien in Chapter II? What is O’Brien’s answer?
Winston asks, “What is Room 101.” O’Brien answers that Winston already knows what is in Room 101, as everyone knows.
10. Does Winston betray Julia in either of these chapters?
O’Brien tells Winston that Julia has betrayed him, but the reader has no evidence of this yet.
Section Three: III, IV, V, VI
1. According to O’Brien, what are the three stages of Winston’s reintegration?
Learning, understanding, and acceptance.
2. What does Winston find out about The Book?
O’Brien wrote part of The Book.
3. Winston learns why the Party seeks power. What is the reason?
The Party wants power just to have power.
4. How has Winston changed physically during his imprisonment? What does he do after he sees himself in the mirror?
He is now stooped over and very thin, and his skin looks gray. He is partly bald, covered with scars and wounds. After Winston looks in the mirror, he collapses on a small stool and cries.
5. What is Winston’s answer when O’Brien asks, “Can you think of a single degradation that has not happened to you?” How does O’Brien respond?
Winston replies that he has not betrayed Julia. O’Brien agrees.
6. While Winston is exercising himself in Crimestop, he calls out, “Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!” What does this show about him? What happens to him as a result? Include his conversation in the room with O’Brien.
His cries show that he is obeying the Party but he still hates the Party. He realizes that he will have to undergo reeducation all over again. O’Brien comes into the room and asks how Winston feels about Big Brother. Winston replies that he hates Big Brother. O’Brien orders Winston to be taken to Room 101. He tells Winston he must learn to love Big Brother.
7. According to O’Brien, what is in Room 101 in general? What is this for Winston in particular?
The worst thing in the world is in Room 101. For Winston, this is rats.
8. Describe the scene with the cage. Tell what is in the cage. Tell the outcome of the scene.
The cage is a kind of face mask that has two rats in it. O’Brien tells Winston he will put the mask on Winston’s face unless Winston does what is required of him. Winston asks what he is to do, but O’Brien does not answer. As the mask is closing on his face, Winston screams that O’Brien should put the mask on Julia instead. This is what O’Brien wants; for Winston to betray Julia. The Party has succeeded .
9. Describe what happens when Winston and Julia meet after they have been released. Include the verse that Winston hears.
They admit that they have betrayed each other and that they don’t feel the same about each other anymore. The voice that Winston hears is singing, “Under the spreading chestnut tree/I sold you and you sold me.”
10. What is Winston thinking at the end of the novel?
He realizes that he has won the victory over himself. He now loves Big Brother.
1. What is Newspeak and what is its purpose?
Newspeak is the official language of Oceania. It has been created to meet the needs of Ingsoc. Newspeak provides a way to express the views of Ingsoc and to make all other types of thought impossible.
2. Explain what is in the A vocabulary of Newspeak.
The A vocabulary is the words needed for everyday life, such as eating, drinking, working, getting dressed, and riding in vehicles. There are not as many words as there are in current-day English. Each word expresses a simple thought involving a concrete object or physical action.
3. What two things about the grammar of Newspeak are peculiar?
First, the parts of speech are almost completely interchangeable. Any word can be made negative by using the affix un-. Words can be strengthened by using the affixes plus- or doubleplus-. Affixes including ante-, post-, up-, and down- can be used. Second, the language is very regular, with all inflections following the same rule.
4. Explain what is in the B vocabulary of Newspeak. Give examples.
The B vocabulary contains words that are used for political purposes. These words force a certain mental attitude on people. These words are all compound words. Miniluv, Minitrue, Minipeaceful, Oldthinkers, and unbellyfeel are some examples.
5. What aspect of the B vocabulary outweighs almost all others?
Euphony outweighs almost all other considerations. The use of the short, clipped words create monotonous speech. This is what the Party wants.
6. Explain what is in the C vocabulary of Newspeak. Who uses this part of the language? For what is there no word? Why?
The C vocabulary has scientific and technical words. Only scientific or technical workers use it, but they only know the words for their own specialty. There is no word for “science” because the meaning is covered by the word Ingsoc.
7. Describe duckspeak.
Duckspeak is the kind of speech that Newspeak aims to produce. It is a style of talking that sounds like the quacking of a duck, with the sounds coming from the larynx and as far removed as possible from thinking with the brain.
8. According to the Afterword, what are the mood and warning expressed in the novel 1984?
The mood is near despair over the future of man, and the warning is that “unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it.”
9. With what real concept from the era around 1961 does Orwell connect the dictatorial society in 1984?
He connects the society in 1984 with atomic war.
10. In the Afterword, what point about doublethink is made?
When doublethink is used successfully, the person thinks the opposite of the truth.
11. According to the Afterword, what warning is Orwell giving anyone who reads 1984?
Orwell is warning us that there is a danger in creating a society of automatons who have lost the ability to love, think critically, and be individuals. The worst result of this society is that doublethink has created a situation where the people don’t even realize what they have lost.
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