Dystopian Psychological Sci-fi
The novel is set in Oceania, a surveillance state which is ruled by the “Party” and its leader Big Brother. Citizens of Oceania are constantly monitored and anyone found to be in violation of the teachings of the Party is forcibly vanished — never to be heard of again. The story is told through the eyes of Winston Smith, a nondescript office worker, who becomes discontented with his everyday life and begins to actively rebel against the Party. Readers see through Winston the deplorable conditions that the people must go through each day under the Party’s leadership. There is barely enough food nor clothing to go around. And everyday is a struggle to survive.
1984 depicts the stark reality of living under a surveillance state. There is a thick sense of unease that is clearly felt throughout the novel, with Smith constantly being on guard, as he never knows who could be watching him at any given moment. He realizes that his actions are subversive to the state, and if he is caught he will certainly be vanished.
Interestingly, within this novel, there is no moral paragon to be found. All the characters have flaws in their nature, and even the main character is not exempt. Unlike most novels that would hold the MC up as the exemplar of justice, this novel paints a negative portrayal of his personality. This is most apparent when the novel looks back at his past and his behaviour as a child.