1984

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I t was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were strik. ing thirteen Winston Smith his chin nuzzled into his. breast in an effort to escape the vile wind slipped quickly. through the glass doors of Victory Mansions though not. quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from enter. ing along with him, The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats At. one end of it a coloured poster too large for indoor display. had been tacked to the wall It depicted simply an enor. mous face more than a metre wide the face of a man of. about forty five with a heavy black moustache and rugged. ly handsome features Winston made for the stairs It was. no use trying the lift Even at the best of times it was sel. dom working and at present the electric current was cut. off during daylight hours It was part of the economy drive. in preparation for Hate Week The flat was seven flights up. and Winston who was thirty nine and had a varicose ulcer. above his right ankle went slowly resting several times on. the way On each landing opposite the lift shaft the poster. with the enormous face gazed from the wall It was one of. those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow. you about when you move BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING,YOU the caption beneath it ran. Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of fig. Free eBooks at Planet eBook com, ures which had something to do with the production of. pig iron The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like. a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the. right hand wall Winston turned a switch and the voice. sank somewhat though the words were still distinguish. able The instrument the telescreen it was called could be. dimmed but there was no way of shutting it off complete. ly He moved over to the window a smallish frail figure. the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue. overalls which were the uniform of the party His hair was. very fair his face naturally sanguine his skin roughened by. coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the win. ter that had just ended, Outside even through the shut window pane the world. looked cold Down in the street little eddies of wind were. whirling dust and torn paper into spirals and though the. sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue there seemed. to be no colour in anything except the posters that were. plastered everywhere The blackmoustachio d face gazed. down from every commanding corner There was one on. the house front immediately opposite BIG BROTHER IS. WATCHING YOU the caption said while the dark eyes, looked deep into Winston s own Down at street level an.
other poster torn at one corner flapped fitfully in the wind. alternately covering and uncovering the single word IN. GSOC In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down. between the roofs hovered for an instant like a bluebottle. and darted away again with a curving flight It was the po. lice patrol snooping into people s windows The patrols did. not matter however Only the Thought Police mattered. Behind Winston s back the voice from the telescreen was. still babbling away about pig iron and the overfulfilment. of the Ninth Three Year Plan The telescreen received and. transmitted simultaneously Any sound that Winston made. above the level of a very low whisper would be picked up by. it moreover so long as he remained within the field of vi. sion which the metal plaque commanded he could be seen. as well as heard There was of course no way of knowing. whether you were being watched at any given moment How. often or on what system the Thought Police plugged in on. any individual wire was guesswork It was even conceivable. that they watched everybody all the time But at any rate. they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to You. had to live did live from habit that became instinct in. the assumption that every sound you made was overheard. and except in darkness every movement scrutinized, Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen It was. safer though as he well knew even a back can be revealing. A kilometre away the Ministry of Truth his place of work. towered vast and white above the grimy landscape This. he thought with a sort of vague distaste this was London. chief city of Airstrip One itself the third most populous. of the provinces of Oceania He tried to squeeze out some. childhood memory that should tell him whether London. had always been quite like this Were there always these vis. tas of rotting nineteenth century houses their sides shored. up with baulks of timber their windows patched with card. board and their roofs with corrugated iron their crazy. Free eBooks at Planet eBook com, garden walls sagging in all directions And the bombed. sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the wil. low herb straggled over the heaps of rubble and the places. where the bombs had cleared a larger patch and there had. sprung up sordid colonies of wooden dwellings like chick. en houses But it was no use he could not remember, nothing remained of his childhood except a series of bright. lit tableaux occurring against no background and mostly. unintelligible,The Ministry of Truth Minitrue in Newspeak New. speak was the official language of Oceania For an account. of its structure and etymology see Appendix was star. tlingly different from any other object in sight It was an. enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white con. crete soaring up terrace after terrace 300 metres into the. air From where Winston stood it was just possible to read. picked out on its white face in elegant lettering the three. slogans of the Party,WAR IS PEACE,FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH,The Ministry of Truth contained it was said three. thousand rooms above ground level and corresponding. ramifications below Scattered about London there were. just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architec. ture that from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see. all four of them simultaneously They were the homes of. the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus. of government was divided The Ministry of Truth which. concerned itself with news entertainment education and. the fine arts The Ministry of Peace which concerned itself. with war The Ministry of Love which maintained law and. order And the Ministry of Plenty which was responsible. for economic affairs Their names in Newspeak Minitrue. Minipax Miniluv and Miniplenty, The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all Winston had never been. inside the Ministry of Love nor within half a kilometre of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business. and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed. wire entanglements steel doors and hidden machine gun. nests Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were. roamed by gorilla faced guards in black uniforms armed. with jointed truncheons, Winston turned round abruptly He had set his features. into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advis. able to wear when facing the telescreen He crossed the. room into the tiny kitchen By leaving the Ministry at this. time of day he had sacrificed his lunch in the canteen and. he was aware that there was no food in the kitchen except. a hunk of dark coloured bread which had got to be saved. for tomorrow s breakfast He took down from the shelf a. bottle of colourless liquid with a plain white label marked. VICTORY GIN It gave off a sickly oily smell as of Chinese. rice spirit Winston poured out nearly a teacupful nerved. Free eBooks at Planet eBook com, himself for a shock and gulped it down like a dose of medi. Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out. of his eyes The stuff was like nitric acid and moreover in. swallowing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back. of the head with a rubber club The next moment however. the burning in his belly died down and the world began to. look more cheerful He took a cigarette from a crumpled. packet marked VICTORY CIGARETTES and incautiously, held it upright whereupon the tobacco fell out on to the.
floor With the next he was more successful He went back. to the living room and sat down at a small table that stood. to the left of the telescreen From the table drawer he took. out a penholder a bottle of ink and a thick quarto sized. blank book with a red back and a marbled cover, For some reason the telescreen in the living room was in. an unusual position Instead of being placed as was normal. in the end wall where it could command the whole room. it was in the longer wall opposite the window To one side. of it there was a shallow alcove in which Winston was now. sitting and which when the flats were built had probably. been intended to hold bookshelves By sitting in the alcove. and keeping well back Winston was able to remain outside. the range of the telescreen so far as sight went He could. be heard of course but so long as he stayed in his present. position he could not be seen It was partly the unusual ge. ography of the room that had suggested to him the thing. that he was now about to do, But it had also been suggested by the book that he had. just taken out of the drawer It was a peculiarly beautiful. book Its smooth creamy paper a little yellowed by age was. of a kind that had not been manufactured for at least for. ty years past He could guess however that the book was. much older than that He had seen it lying in the window of. a frowsy little junk shop in a slummy quarter of the town. just what quarter he did not now remember and had been. stricken immediately by an overwhelming desire to possess. it Party members were supposed not to go into ordinary. shops dealing on the free market it was called but the. rule was not strictly kept because there were various things. such as shoelaces and razor blades which it was impossible. to get hold of in any other way He had given a quick glance. up and down the street and then had slipped inside and. bought the book for two dollars fifty At the time he was not. conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose He had. carried it guiltily home in his briefcase Even with nothing. written in it it was a compromising possession, The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. This was not illegal nothing was illegal since there were no. longer any laws but if detected it was reasonably certain. that it would be punished by death or at least by twenty. five years in a forced labour camp Winston fitted a nib into. the penholder and sucked it to get the grease off The pen. was an archaic instrument seldom used even for signatures. and he had procured one furtively and with some difficulty. simply because of a feeling that the beautiful creamy paper. deserved to be written on with a real nib instead of being. scratched with an ink pencil Actually he was not used to. Free eBooks at Planet eBook com, writing by hand Apart from very short notes it was usu. al to dictate everything into the speak write which was of. course impossible for his present purpose He dipped the. pen into the ink and then faltered for just a second A trem. or had gone through his bowels To mark the paper was the. decisive act In small clumsy letters he wrote,April 4th 1984.
He sat back A sense of complete helplessness had de. scended upon him To begin with he did not know with any. certainty that this was 1984 It must be round about that. date since he was fairly sure that his age was thirty nine. and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945 but. it was never possible nowadays to pin down any date within. a year or two, For whom it suddenly occurred to him to wonder was he. writing this diary For the future for the unborn His mind. hovered for a moment round the doubtful date on the page. and then fetched up with a bump against the Newspeak. word DOUBLETHINK For the first time the magnitude of. what he had undertaken came home to him How could you. communicate with the future It was of its nature impossi. ble Either the future would resemble the present in which. case it would not listen to him or it would be different from. it and his predicament would be meaningless, For some time he sat gazing stupidly at the paper The. telescreen had changed over to strident military music It. was curious that he seemed not merely to have lost the pow. er of expressing himself but even to have forgotten what it. was that he had originally intended to say For weeks past. he had been making ready for this moment and it had nev. er crossed his mind that anything would be needed except. courage The actual writing would be easy All he had to. do was to transfer to paper the interminable restless mono. logue that had been running inside his head literally for. years At this moment however even the monologue had. dried up Moreover his varicose ulcer had begun itching. unbearably He dared not scratch it because if he did so it. always became inflamed The seconds were ticking by He. was conscious of nothing except the blankness of the page. in front of him the itching of the skin above his ankle the. blaring of the music and a slight booziness caused by the. Free eBooks at Planet eBook com Chapter 1 I t was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were strik ing thirteen Winston Smith his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from enter ing along with him The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage

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