Chapter One: The novel's first chapter introduces the reader to the novel's protagonist, Winston Smith of Airstrip One, Oceania. Winston is an unimportant member of Ingsoc, the controlling party of Oceania. As he labors up the stairs to his apartment, he passes several posters of Big Brother, the embodiment of party leadership, who in reality represents oppression, but to citizens represents all that is good. Winston commits thoughtcrime by writing DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER in his diary, the possession of which constitutes thoughtcrime.
Chapter Two: Winston hears a knock at the door and fears it's the thought police. It's actually his neighbor whose sink he unplugs and whose children are junior spies for the party.
Chapter Three: Winston dreams of his mother, of a naked girl running toward him, and of Shakespeare, all three of which represent thoughtcrime. He awakens to the telescreen's shrill cry of exercise time.
Chapter Four: Winston goes to work at The Ministry of Truth. His job is to falsify past records to make them conform to current reality.
Chapter Five: Winston eats lunch with Syme, an expert on Newspeak, the official language of the party, whose purpose is to reduce the number of words and to render thoughtcrime impossible.
Chapter Six: Winston records his most recent sex act in his diary, a disgusting affair with a Prole prostitute with no teeth. He longs for a meaningful love affair, what he considers the ultimate rebellion against the party.
Chapter Seven: Winston writes in his diary that the only hope is in the Proles, the working class. He longs for a sense of the past, picks up a children's history book, and realizes any record of the past is controlled by the party and has been falsified.
Chapter Eight: Winston wanders into the Prole district and buys a paperweight at the same store he bought the diary. He notices a woman from the Ministry of Truth and fears he is being followed. He contemplates smashing her face in with a cobblestone.
Analysis: The party controls its citizens through media manipulation, language manipulation, psychological trickery, the dissolving of family ties, and torture. The party has made illegal all things that make life enjoyable: family ties, sex, romantic love, the freedom to think, great literature, and anything which involves introspection. Although Oceania has no specific laws prohibiting any of Winston's actions, his actions are outward signs that he has committed the ultimate crime, thoughtcrime.
Book One introduces the reader to the novel's other two significant characters, Julia, the girl in the blue overalls, and O'Brien, the inner party member who Winston believes may be a fellow conspirator.