The rise of ‘alternative facts’ has spiked the sales for George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, as people prepare for the reality of a Big Brother dystopia. People are seeking important 1984 quotes as well.
Facts are indisputable truths. Facts are not subjective, measurable or up for discussion. As the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘facts’:
?A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality. https://t.co/gCKRZZm23c
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) January 22, 2017
So when the adviser to the President, Kellyanne Conway, tried to press the narrative that falsehoods could be called “alternative facts,” people were understandably alarmed.
Parallels have been drawn between Conway’s statement and George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, or Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which ‘alternative facts’ — there called ‘untruths’ and ‘doublespeak’ — are employed by an authoritarian government in an attempt to control the narrative of its people’s reality.
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If there’s any good news to take away from Conway’s comments, it is that these parallels have actually led many truth-seekers to pick up Orwell’s important novel to gain some perspective. The Washington Post is one of many outlets now reporting that the iconic classic has soared to the top 5 on Amazon.com.
Why George Orwell’s famous novel ‘1984’ is so important
Published in 1949 and set in the dystopian ‘future’ of 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith lives under the watchful eye of a ‘Big Brother’ government that not only controls the actions of its people, but also seeks to have full commandment of their thoughts. Implementing ‘Newspeak’ in an effort to limit people’s ability to express themselves and instating the Thought Police, Big Brother has twisted reality to manipulate the human mind. And it works. It’s terrifying and necessarily thought-provoking stuff.
With the rise of fake news and the disturbing institution of a social media blackout for the Environmental Protection Agency, we appear to be heading towards a reality in which ignorance is openly being touted as a virtue. More than ever before, 1984 seems like important reading, and we’re glad so many people are picking it up.
These 1984 quotes help us understand truth and reality in the age of the 45th President, who statistically speaking has a hard time sticking with facts.
Important ‘1984’ quotes on truth and facts in the age of Trump
To get you started, here are 14 of the most important 1984 quotes from the book that present some scary and uncomfortable ways of thinking that we should never underestimate:
‘War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Ignorance Is Strength.’
On the back of the book, this contradictory quote shows the way in which the government can manipulate ‘truths’ for its people. The constant war the ‘Party’ engages with is thought to keep the peace at home.
‘He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.’
An almost instructive quote from Orwell, this quote could be applied not only to the dystopian world of 1984 but to the entirety of human history — history being, as we know, a subjective narrative crafted by those privileged enough to write it.
‘How do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?’
Or, in other words: there is no right and wrong, only ‘alternative facts.’
‘The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power – pure power.’
O’Brien tells Winston this in a candid moment, revealing what sets this government apart from those that have come before: there is no illusion of goodwill or utopian ideals involved here, these supervillains seek power for the sake of power.
‘Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.’
Much like the last quote, George Orwell here dives into the corruptive power of power itself, and what leads individuals or organizations to seek power for themselves.
‘The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.’
The Party is controlling what people know in order to control their minds, in order to control their actions.
‘Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.’
He who controls the discourse controls what we know and what we believe.
‘The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.’
An elaboration of “freedom is slavery,” this quote illustrates the ways in which the Party seeks to control its people by giving them ‘what they want’ — a simple, unthinking, fully controlled life.
‘Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.’
While being able to understand two contradictory points of view as equally valid might be considered a good thing, George Orwell’s doublethink refers to the newspeak term for citizens acknowledging that the Party contradicts itself, but being able to fully recognize what this means.
‘Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.’
It sometimes seems impossible, and yet it is so important that we cling on to our common sense.
‘The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.’
Sadly, we can probably all recognize the confirmation bias we seek out when consuming media or even just participating in conversations IRL or online. We look for our own beliefs to be proven ‘true’, and find it hard to consume other points of view (perhaps out of a fear that we will be persuaded to give up our own beliefs).
‘What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself; who gives your arguments a fair hearing and simply persists in his lunacy?’
‘Reality exists in the human mind and nowhere else.’
While scary, this quote is arguably true: we each create our own reality based on experience and perceived norms, and filter the world through those presets.
‘The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.’
And thus, Orwell has shown exactly how history is written and how reality can be manipulated by those in power. When enough people believe a thing and proclaim it as truth, and nobody has the power to safeguard actual truth, reality becomes moldable.
These scary quotes from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four should serve as a warning to all of us about the state of the world, and what future dystopian fiction truly tries to warn us against.
But it is not all bad — let’s remember this particular quotation from Orwell’s novel, and celebrate the power of facts:
‘There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.’
As you can see, these important 1984 quotes from George Orwell were both poignant and foreshadowing what was to come. Want to read the full book? Buy it here.
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What is a quote from 1984 about government? ›
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” This is one of those stand-out lines from 1984. This quote is still incredibly apt as it relates to our current political systems, and is a chilling reminder that history is written by the victors.What is the most important rule 1984? ›
For some, the quote immediately recalled a line from Orwell's dystopian novel 1984: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”What are some important quotes in book 2 of 1984? ›
I hate purity. I hate goodness. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones." She did not understand that there was no such thing as happiness, that the only victory lay in the far future, long after you were dead, that from the moment of declaring war on the Party it was better to think of yourself as a corpse.What are some quotes from 1984? ›
“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.” “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”What are some important quotes in 1984 book 3? ›
“Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves." “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”What is the final message of 1984? ›
The ending of 1984 shows that the government of Oceania and Big Brother control the past, present, and future. Winston believed that he was getting away with his non-conformity. He thought that he was inconspicuous enough to avoid detection.What is the quote from 1984 about truth? ›
“There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”What was in Room 101 in 1984 quotes? ›
"You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."What is 1984 trying to teach us? ›
Today, Nineteen Eighty-Four comes across not as a warning that the actual world of Winston and Julia and O'Brien is in danger of becoming reality. Rather, its true value is that it teaches us that power and tyranny are made possible through the use of words and how they are mediated.What is the main problem in 1984? ›
The central conflict of 1984 is the idea that one member of society can try to break the illusion of the social standards as set forth by the ruling power and the effects they have as interpreted by the individual.
What is the greatest of all failures 1984? ›
Alone—free—the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures.What is an important quote from book 1 Chapter 8 of 1984? ›
Book One, Chapter VIII: Rewriting History
And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.
Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar. 1984. Part 1, Chapter 4.What is a good quote from 1984 Chapter 5? ›
Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. 1984. Part 1, Chapter 5.What is one meaningful quote from George Orwell? ›
The Meaning of 'If You Want a Picture of the Future, Imagine a Boot Stamping on a Human Face – for Ever' 'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever. ' This is one of the most famous quotations from George Orwell's 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.What is the quote from 1984 about changing history? ›
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.What is the 2 minute hate quotes in 1984? ›
"The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in."What is an important quote in Chapter 6 of 1984? ›
"When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference. Whatever happened you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again." Quote: "He had moved from thoughts to words, and now from words to actions."What is the best quote from Part 3 of 1984? ›
'Power is not a means , it is an end. 'human face boot'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot standing on a human face - for ever. 'human nature in oceania'Humanity is the Party. 'sanity is.....'Sanity was statistical.What is the Brotherhood 1984 quotes? ›
“The Brotherhood cannot be wiped out because it is not an organization in the ordinary sense. Nothing holds it together except an idea which is indestructible. You will get no comradeship and no encouragement. When finally you are caught, you will get no help.
What was Julia's room 101? ›
In 1984, Room 101 is the final step toward brainwashing and torturing a citizen into submission. There is no physical description of Room 101 until the climax of the book when Winston is taken into it in order to make him renounce his love for Julia and pledge his love for the state.Does Julia get pregnant in 1984? ›
This paper will also provide evidence that, as a result of their coupling in the room, Julia becomes pregnant, and subsequently gives birth to Winston's child in the Ministry of Love; further, just as Winston betrays Julia by demanding that her body be exchanged for his in room 101 before the rats, so too does Julia ...What happens to Julia at the end of 1984? ›
Julia is seen one last time in the novel, when she meets Winston after they have both been reintegrated into Oceania society and restored to orthodox thought. They agree nothing – not even sex – matters any more, because their feelings for each other are gone.What is the quote about control in 1984? ›
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past," repeated Winston obediently. "Who controls the present controls the past," said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval.What does 2 2 5 mean in 1984? ›
In writing his secret diary in the year 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith ponders if the Inner Party might declare that "two plus two equals five" is a fact. Smith further ponders whether or not belief in such a consensus reality makes the lie true.What is the Big Brother slogans in 1984? ›
The people are constantly reminded of this by the slogan "Big Brother is watching you": a maxim that is ubiquitously on display throughout the novel.What is the first line of the book 1984? ›
George Orwell's well-known dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, opens with the following statement that should seem out of the ordinary: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.What are the destroying words in 1984? ›
We're destroying words -- scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We're cutting the language down to the bone. The Eleventh Edition won't contain a single word that will become obsolete before the year 2050. 'What does O'Brien say is in Room 101 and what does that mean? ›
He tells Winston that Room 101 contains “the worst thing in the world.” He reminds Winston of his worst nightmare—the dream of being in a dark place with something terrible on the other side of the wall—and informs him that rats are on the other side of the wall.What are the 3 superpowers in 1984? ›
The three fictional superstates of the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four are Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.
Is 1984 still taught in schools? ›
1984 has long been a standard on reading lists in high schools, and drawing comparisons between the ideas in the book and modern life isn't new.What grade is 1984 taught? ›
This book's Lexile measure is 1090L and is frequently taught in the 9th and 10th grade.Why is 1984 broken into 3 parts? ›
In 1984, the world is sliced into three political realms — the super states of Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia. Orwell drew these lines fairly consistent with the political distribution of the Cold War era beginning after World War II.What is the biggest conflict in 1984? ›
There are uncountable conflicts on this novel but the main one is the struggle of Winston to disobey Big Brother and try to rebel against it and destroy it trying to bring back the original past of mankind.What is the climax in 1984? ›
The novel's climax comes when Winston's free will, represented by his love for Julia, is directly challenged by the Party, and he must choose between Julia and Big Brother, between individuality and conformity.What is the room 101? ›
Room 101 refers to a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.What are three habits from before the revolution that the party is destroying 1984? ›
Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm.How much of 1984 is true? ›
George Orwell's 1984 is not a true story. However, Orwell drew inspiration from a variety of events, including the Spanish civil war (1936 to 1939), World War 2, as well as the meeting of Allied leaders at the 1944 Tehran Conference.What is a memorable line in Chapter 7 8? ›
“When we went in the house I saw he had been crying; his face was dirty in the right places, but I thought it odd that I had not heard him.”What happens in Chapter 8 Part 2 of 1984? ›
In 1984, Book 2, Chapter 8, Winston and Julia go to O'Brien's house together. After O'Brien turns off his telescreen, they tell him they are there to join the Brotherhood. O'Brien then tests their commitment to the Brotherhood and its leader, Emmanuel Goldstein, by asking them a series of often unpleasant questions.
What is chapter 4 about in the book 1984? ›
In this chapter, Orwell gives a great deal of detail about Winston's job and the place in which he works, the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite history according to Party need.What is a quote from 1984 Part 2 Chapter 1? ›
Julia in 1984
'' She passes the note, which says ''I love you,'' to Winston. Winston had been emotionally struggling, and, Orwell writes, ''At the sight of the words I love you the desire to stay alive had welled up in him, and the taking of minor risks suddenly seemed stupid.
Summary: Chapter IV
Charrington's shop, which he has rented—foolishly, he thinks—for his affair with Julia. Outside, a burly, red-armed woman sings a song and hangs up her laundry. Winston and Julia have been busy with the city's preparations for Hate Week, and Winston has been frustrated by their inability to meet.
Winston Smith strikes a deal with Mr. Charrington, owner of the junk shop where Winston bought the diary and the glass paperweight, to rent the upstairs room for his affair with Julia.What is Winston's final question? ›
9. What is the last question that Winston asks O'Brien in Chapter II? What is O'Brien's answer? Winston asks, “What is Room 101.” O'Brien answers that Winston already knows what is in Room 101, as everyone knows.What is a quote from 1984 Part 3 Chapter 6? ›
If someone who loved me betrayed me, I would have no respect for them and would not trust or see them again. But if I also betrayed them when they betrayed me, I would think of it as we are even and we can me mutual but I would never put my life in their hands again.What are the four famous last words of the book 1984? ›
Its words include doublethink (belief in contradictory ideas simultaneously), which is reflected in the Party's slogans: “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” and “Ignorance is strength.” The Party maintains control through the Thought Police and continual surveillance.What quotes show control in 1984? ›
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past," repeated Winston obediently. "Who controls the present controls the past," said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. 'Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?'What is Room 101 quotes from 1984? ›
"You asked me once," said O'Brien, "what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."What is the last sentence in 1984? ›
The last line of 1984 is, simply, "He loved Big Brother." Big Brother becomes everything to Winston.
What was Winston's last words? ›
Karl Marx's famous last words: “Last words are for fools who haven't said enough.” Winston Churchill's famous last words: “I'm bored with it all.”What are 5 famous quotes? ›
- The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
- The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
- Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
- If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.” “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” “The only good human being is a dead one.” “Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.”What is the quote about freedom in 1984? ›
14. “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”What lesson does 1984 teach us? ›
Today, Nineteen Eighty-Four comes across not as a warning that the actual world of Winston and Julia and O'Brien is in danger of becoming reality. Rather, its true value is that it teaches us that power and tyranny are made possible through the use of words and how they are mediated.What is the first line of 1984? ›
George Orwell's well-known dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, opens with the following statement that should seem out of the ordinary: It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. The thirteenth stroke here doesn't refer to military time but to an old saying.What did Winston say in Room 101? ›
Once in Room 101, Winston faces his greatest fear. O'Brien shows Winston a cage-like mask filled with hungry rats and clicks a door inside it open. One more click and the rats will feast on Winston's face. O'Brien begins to settle the mask over Winston's head when Winston shouts, "Do it to Julia!What is Room 101 meaning? ›
Room 101 refers to a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.