1984

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By George Orwell

PART ONE Thoughtcrime

Chapter 1 Big Brother Is Watching You

It was a bright, cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith hurried home to Victory Mansions with his head down to escape the terrible wind. A cloud of dust blew inside with him, and the hall smelled of dust and yesterday's food.
At the end of the hall, a poster covered onewall. It showed an enormous face, more than a meter wide: the face of a handsome man of about forty-five, with a large, black moustache. The man's eyes seemed to follow Winston as he moved. Below the face were the words BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.
Winston went up the stairs. He did not even try the lift. It rarely worked and at the moment the electricity was switched off during the day to savemoney for Hate Week. The flat was on the seventh floor and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a bad knee, went slowly, resting several times on the way. Winston was a small man and looked even smaller in the blue overalls of the Party. His hair was fair and the skin on his face, which used to be pink, was red and rough from cheap soap, old razor blades and the cold of the winter that had justended.
Inside his flat, a voice was reading out a list of figures for last year's production of iron. The voice came from a metal square, a telescreen, in the right-hand wall. Winston turned it down, but there was no way of turning it off completely.
He moved to the window. Outside, the world looked cold. The wind blew dust and bits of paper around in the street and there seemed to be no colorin anything, except in the posters that were everywhere. The face with the black moustache looked down from every corner. There was one on the house opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, it said, and the eyes looked into Winston's.
Behind him the voice from the telescreen was still talking about iron. There was now' even more iron in Oceania than the Ninth Three-Year Plan had demanded. Thetelescreen had a microphone, so the Thought Police could listen to Winston at any time of the day or night. They could also watch him through the telescreen. Nobody knew how often they actually did that but everybody behaved correctly all the time because the Thought Police might be watching and listening.
Winston kept his back to the telescreen. It was safer that way — they couldn't see yourface. He looked out over London, the biggest city in this part of Oceania. The nineteenth-century houses were all falling down. There were holes in the streets where the bombs had fallen. Had it always been like this? He tried to think back to the time when he was a boy, but he could remember nothing.
He stared at the Ministry of Truth, where he worked. It was an enormous white building, threehundred meters high. You could see the white roof, high above the houses, even a kilometer away. From Winston's flat it was just possible to see the three slogans of the Party written in enormous letters on the side of the building:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
The Ministry of Truth was called Minitrue in Newspeak, the new language of Oceania. Minitrue, itwas said, had more than three thousand rooms above the ground and a similar number below. The people there worked mainly on news and entertainment. High above the surrounding buildings, Winston could also see the Ministry of Peace, where they worked on war. It was called Minipax in Newspeak. And the Ministry of Plenty — Miniplenty — which was responsible for the economy. And he could see theMinistry of Love — Miniluv — which was responsible for law and order.
The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it. Nobody could get anywhere near it unless they had business there. There were guards with guns in black uniforms even in the streets half a kilometer away.
Winston turned round quickly. He smiled. It was a good idea to look happy when you were...
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