In Part One of Orwell’s 1984, we are introduced to the protagonist Winston Smith, the setting of Airstrip One, and the oppressive power of Big Brother and INGSOC. Part One of the novel is full of Winston’s exposition, and is important to ‘set the stage’ and help us understand the day-to-day life for Party members, the depth of surveillance instituted by Big Brother and the mental and emotional state of our main character.

As we work through part one, you should work to familiarize yourself with the important characters:

  • Winston Smith
  • O’Brian
  • Parsons
  • Smye
  • Mr. Charrington
  • Emmanuel Goldstein
  • The Proles
  • Katherine

Additionally, you should pay attention and be sure to understand the Newspeak words used in Part One, as well as understanding what Newspeak is:

  • Totalitarianism
  • socialism
  • communism
  • telescreen
  • two minutes hate
  • INGSOC
  • speakwrite
  • thought crime
  • thought police
  • the party
  • inner party
  • outer party
  • Proles
  • the Spies
  • Junior Anti-Sex League
  • The Brotherhood
  • Newspeak
  • OldSpeak
  • Doublethink
  • groupthink
  • memory hole
  • floating fortress
  • FFCC
  • unperson

Finally, be sure to understand the themes of Part One, and be able to explain how we see these themes in the text:

  • The Power of Language
  • Privacy and Technology
  • The Control of Information
  • The Importance of History
  • Individual Freedoms
  • Relationships and Human Connections

Please see the video below for background information on 1984.