Quotes & Analysis From 1984 by George Orwell

Quotes & Analysis From 1984 by George Orwell
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Important 1984 Quotes

Quote: Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Analysis: Nobody understands this better than politicians. Did you know, for example, that Newsweek had an article about the dangers of global cooling in 1975. Of course you didn’t. Politicians elected, in part, by a promise to reverse global warming along with a complicit media have buried such information and mocked anyone who opposes their environmental views. This is just one real life example of how who controls the past controls the future.

Have you ever asked yourself why schools rarely teach The Declaration of Independence or The Constitution of The United States? Do government run schools not want you to know what’s in them? Perhaps I’m being paranoid and perhaps I’ll be rounded up by the thought police soon. Perhaps I’m just challenging you to think more deeply about 1984.

Maybe I’m insane. Winston Smith was.

Quote: War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength

Analysis: For a brilliant analysis of this quotation, check out Irony in 1984.

Quote: 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.

Analysis: I probably don’t need to tell you this, but someone is probably monitoring your Internet activity right now. If you go to Google Earth, you could find a picture of your back yard. Cameras smaller than your fingernail could be mounted in your shower. Anything stupid you do in public, especially if you’re famous, could be on Youtube in less than 20 minutes. Big Brother is watching.

Quote: A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.

Analysis: Sounds like a Raiders game.

Quote: He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Analysis: How depressing!

Share your favorite 1984 quotes in the comments section.

This post is part of the series: 1984 Study Guide

Don’t get sent to room 101 for failing your 1984 exam.

  1. Irony in 1984 by George Orwell
  2. Chapter Summaries of 1984 by George Orwell
  3. Quotes From “1984” by George Orwell
  4. 1984 Character Analysis
  5. 1984 Discussion Questions and Answers