According to Orwell, what was life in 1984?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Orwell uses his whole novel to tell us what life was like in 1984, but here are some of the major points:

  • The government could watch everybody all the time.  They had viewscreens in the apartments so they could watch what the people were doing.
  • The government would severly punish anyone who went against it.
  • The country was in a state of constant war.
  • No one really had any loving relationships with anyone else.
  • No one had very much in the way of material goods because the country was always at war.
  • The government tells all kinds of lies about how the past was and they change newspapers and stuff from the old days to match their lies.

In the whole novel, everything is very depressing.  No one really gets to think for themselves or have any real personal life.  The government controls everything.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From Orwell's conception, life at the time was defined by government control.  The vision of the state was the personification of authoritarian and intrusive, where the government was able to possess knowledge and control over what people felt and thought.  The need for constant intrusion and encroachment helped to consolidate the state's power over individuals and the nation of Oceania.  Big Brother's need to ensure complete and total submission negates the idea of free will and individual choice. The life featured is one where identity is submerged into that of the state.  With this vision of reality, Orwell developed "the worst case scenario" of what happens in a world absent of personal freedom.

mkcapen1 | Student

In George Orwell's 1984 the world is divided into three separate super powers.  They are Eastasia, Eurasia, and and Oceania.  At least one superpower is at war with another at all times.  The wars serve to keep the people living in Oceania suppressed at the hands of the government.  The people in Oceaniaare not allowed to read or think on their own.  The government is in total control.  Propaganda is rampant and goods are in short supply.  There are several political parties.  The Inner party members receive special privileges and items.  The government watches over people everywhere they are, including in their homes.  There are spies who are trying to catch members of an underground group called "The Brotherhood."