Notes and Quotes – George Orwell

– Notes and Quotes –


George Orwell (1903-1950)

1984 (1949), Animal Farm (1945)


“The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.”



Animal Farm (1945)


bon mot


Major: “majestic-looking pig” (2)

Boxer and Clover cart horses

“. . . those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength” (3)

“No animal must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, cleveror simple, we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.” (5)


“Then Snowball (for it was Snowball who was best at writing) took a brush between the two knuckles of his trotter, painted out MANOR FARM from the top bar of the gate and in its place painted ANIMAL FARM. This was to be the name of the farm from now onwards.” (10)


“moonshine of windmills” (23)


Commandment Four: Beds without sheets: “We have removed the sheets from the farmhouse beds, and sleep between blankets. And very comfortable beds they are too! But not more comfortable than we need, I can tell you, comrades, with all the brainwork we have to do nowadays. You would not rob us of our repose, would you, comrades? You would not have us too tired to carry out our duties?” (28)

“[Napoleon’s] tail had grown rigid and twitched sharply from side to side, a sign in him of intense mental activity.” (29)

“Long live the windmill! Long live Animal Farm!’” (29)


Coccidiosis (31)

Black Minorca pullets (31)

“Whenever anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball.” (31)

“‘Animal Hero, First Class’” (32)

“‘Death to Humanity!’” (33)

“Then a sheep confessed to having urinated in the drinking pool . . .” (34)

“It must be due to some fault in ourselves.” (34)

Clover: “. . . this was not what they had aimed at when they had set themselves years ago to work for the overthrow of the human race.” (35)


“The animals saw no reason to disbelieve him, especially as they could no longer remember very clearly what conditions had been like before the Rebellion. All the same, there were days when they felt that they would sooner have had less figures and more food.” (36)


“‘Serves you right.’” (40)


“Napoleon had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The truest happiness, he said, lay in working hard and living frugally.” (50)


“‘To the prosperity of Animal Farm!’” (54)




1984 (1949)



“Victory Coffee” (64)

“Victory Square” (143)


Part One:

“The actual writing would be easy. All he had to do was to transfer to paper the interminable restless monologue that had been running inside his head, literally for years.” (11)


“One of them was a girl whom he often passed in the corridors. He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department.”

“A narrow scarlet sash, emblem of the Junior Anti-Sex League, was wound several times round the waist of her overalls, just tightly enough to bring out the shapeliness of her hips. Winston had disliked her from the very first moment of seeing her.” (13)



“He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones. It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthdoxy. But this particular girl gave him the impression of being more dangerous than most.” (13-14)


“As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen.” (15)


“It was a book without a title. People referred to it, if at all, simply as THE BOOK.” (18)


“Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind. He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrows like Saint Sebastian. He would ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax. Better than before, moreover, he realized WHY it was that he hated her. He hated her because she was young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed with her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm, there was only the odious scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of chastity.” (19-20)


O’Brien’s face: ‘I am with you.’ (22)


“In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply disappeared, always during the night.” (24)


“All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which ‘The Times’ did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak—‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used—had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.” (31-32)



Big Brother: “Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” (34)


“He wondered again for whom he was writing the diary. For the future, for the past—for an age that might be imaginary.” (35)


Diary: “From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink—greetings!” (35)


“But which buggers they didn’t ought to have trusted Winston could not now remember.” (42)


“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’” (44)


“‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.” (44)


“Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.” (45)


“Never show dismay! Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could give you away.” (46)


“doubleplusungood” (49)


Palimpsest (51)


“All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot.” (53)


Newspeak: “‘The Eleventh Edition is the definitive edition,’” (65)

“‘We’re destroying words—’” (65)

“‘‘It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.’” (65)


Good, bad, ungood, plusgood, doubleplusgood (66)


“‘Oldspeak, with all its vagueness and its useless shades of meaning.’” (66)



“‘Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’” (68)


“‘The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change.’” (68)


“His powers of sweating were extraordinary.” (71)


“It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide.” (79)



Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” (90)


Top hat, frock coat: “This was the uniform of the capitalists, and no one else was allowed to wear it.” (93)


“But this was concrete evidence; it was a fragment of the abolished past, like a fossil bone which turns up in the wrong stratum and destroys a geological theory.” (100)


I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY.” (101)


“Newspeak: OWNLIFE, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity.” (104­)


The Lottery (108)


“‘You must have seen great changes since you were a young man,’ said Winston tentatively.

“‘The beer was better,’ he said finally. ‘And cheaper!” (113)


Labor Party: Lackeys, Parasites, Hyeanas, “‘Flunkies of the ruling class!’” (115)


“‘Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement’s, You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin’s——’” (124-125)




Part Two:

I Love You: “Only five nights ago he had contemplated smashing her skull in with a cobblestone, but that was of no importance. He thought of her naked, youthful body, as he had seen it in his dream.” (138)


“But the physical difficulty of meeting was enormous. It was like trying to make a move at chess when you were already mated.” (138)


“blackmarket butter” (149)


“Anything that hinted at corruption always filled him with a wild hope.” (158)

“‘I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don’t want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones.’” (158


“No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred.” (159)


“If you kept the small rules, you could break the big ones.” (163)


“Pornosec, the sub-section of the Fiction Department which turned out cheap pornography for distribution among the proles. It was nicknamed Muck House by the people who worked in it, she remarked. There she had remained for a year, helping to produce booklets in sealed packets with titles like ‘Spanking Stories’ or ‘One Night in a Girls’ School’,” (164)


“He learned with astonishment that all the workers in Pornosec, except the heads of the departments, were girls. The theory was that men, whose sex instincts were less controllable than those of women, were in greater danger of being corrupted by the filth they handled.” (165)


“What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship.” (167)


“All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour.” (167)


“She was very young, he thought, she still expected something from life, she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing.” (170)


“‘Some kinds of failure are better than other kinds, that’s all.’” (170)


“Privacy, he said, was a very valuable thing. Everyone wanted a place where they could be alone occasionally.” (173)


“He wished above all that they had some place where they could be alone together without feeling the obligation to make love every time they met.” (175)


“She had painted her face.” (178


“‘You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin’s, When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey——’” (183)


“There were times when the fact of impending death seemed as palpable as the bed they lay on, and they would cling together with a sort of despairing sensuality, like a damned

soul grasping at his last morsel of pleasure when the clock is within five minutes of striking.” (190-191)


“Once when he happened in some connexion to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, ‘just to keep people frightened’.” (193)


“‘You’re only a rebel from the waist downwards,’ he told her.” (196)


“What was happening was only the working-out of a process that had started years ago. The first step had been a secret, involuntary thought, the second had been the opening of the diary. He had moved from thoughts to words, and now from words to actions. The last step was something that would happen in the Ministry of Love. He had accepted it. The end was contained in the beginning.” (201)


“But if the object was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make?” (210-211)



Persiflage (221)



“‘Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St Clement’s,

You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St Martin’s,

When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey,

When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.’” (225)


“sluttish armchair” (232)





by Emmanuel Goldstein” (233)


“. . . the object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which to wage another war.” (238)


“In the early twentieth century, the vision of a future society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly, and efficient—a glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete—was part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person.” (238-239)


“In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which WEALTH, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while POWER remained in the hands of a small privileged caste.” (240)


“The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare.” (241)


“The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought. There are therefore two great problems which the Party is concerned to solve. One is how to discover, against his will, what another human being is thinking, and the other is how to kill several hundred million people in a few seconds without giving warning beforehand.” (244)


“The scientist of today is either a mixture of psychologist and inquisitor, studying with real ordinary minuteness the meaning of facial expressions, gestures, and tones of voice, and testing the truth-producing effects of drugs, shock therapy, hypnosis, and physical torture; or he is chemist, physicist, or biologist concerned only with such branches of his special subject as are relevant to the taking of life.” (245)


“In Oceania the prevailing philosophy is called Ingsoc, in Eurasia it is called Neo-Bolshevism, and in Eastasia it is called by a Chinese name usually translated as Death-Worship, but perhaps better rendered as Obliteration of the Self.” (248)


“Nothing is efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police.” (250)


“A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This—although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense—is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.” (252)



“But the principal, underlying cause was that, as early as the beginning of the twentieth century, human equality had become technically possible.” (257)

“But by the fourth decade of the twentieth century all the main currents of political thought were authoritarian. The earthly paradise had been discredited at exactly the moment when it became realizable.” (258)

“With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.” (259)

“Oceania has no capital, and its titular head is a person whose whereabouts nobody knows. Except that English is its chief LINGUA FRANCA and Newspeak its official language, it is not centralized in any way.” (263)

“Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed to graduate into the Party. The most gifted among them, who might possibly become nuclei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated.” (264)

“[Proletariats] can be granted intellectual liberty because they have no intellect. In a Party member, on the other hand, not even the smallest deviation of opinion on the most unimportant subject can be tolerated.” (265)

“The first and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught even to young children, is called, in Newspeak, CRIMESTOP. CRIMESTOP means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. CRIMESTOP, in short, means protective stupidity.” (267)

“The keyword here is BLACKWHITE. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to BELIEVE that black is white, and more, to KNOW that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.” (267-268)

“The alteration of the past is necessary for two reasons, one of which is subsidiary and, so to speak, precautionary.” (268)

“He must be cut off from the past, just as he must be cut off from foreign countries, because it is necessary for him to believe that he is better off than his ancestors and that the average level of material comfort is constantly rising.” (268)

“But by far the more important reason for the readjustment of the past is the need to safeguard the infallibility of the Party.” (268)

“But it is also necessary to REMEMBER that events happened in the desired manner. And if it is necessary to rearrange one’s memories or to tamper with written records, then it is necessary to FORGET that one has done so.” (269-270)

“In Oldspeak it is called, quite frankly, ‘reality control’. In Newspeak it is called DOUBLETHINK . . .” (270)

“DOUBLETHINK means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” (270)

“Even in using the word DOUBLETHINK it is necessary to exercise DOUBLETHINK. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of DOUBLETHINK one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.” (270-271)

“For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one’s own infallibility with the Power to learn from past mistakes.” (271)

“In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are also those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion; the more intelligent, the less sane.” (271)

“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation.” (273)

“. . . then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.” (273)

“He understood HOW; he did not understand WHY.” (274)


Chapter 10: “*****” (274)

“‘Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head’!’” (280)




Part Three:

“The Party prisoners were always silent and terrified, but the ordinary criminals seemed to care nothing for anybody. They yelled insults at the guards, fought back fiercely when their belongings were impounded, wrote obscene words on the floor, ate smuggled food which they produced from mysterious hiding-places in their clothes, and even shouted down the telescreen when it tried to restore order.” (286)


“The positions of trust were given only to the common criminals, especially the gangsters and the murderers, who formed a sort of aristocracy. All the dirty jobs were done by the politicals.” (287)

“room one-oh-one” (289)

“‘Has it ever occurred to you,’ he said, ‘that the whole history of English poetry has been determined by the fact that the English language lacks rhymes?’” (292)

“He had only six thoughts. The pain in his belly; a piece of bread; the blood and the screaming; O’Brien; Julia; the razor blade.” (293)                                          

“‘Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,’ he said sententiously. ‘It’s insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep!” (294)

“‘Down with Big Brother!’” (295)



“Their real weapon was the merciless questioning that went on and on, hour after hour, tripping him up, laying traps for him, twisting everything that he said, convicting him at every step of lies and self-contradiction until he began weeping as much from shame as from nervous fatigue.” (305)

“He confessed to the assassination of eminent Party members, the distribution of seditious pamphlets, embezzlement of public funds, sale of military secrets, sabotage of every kind. He confessed that he had been a spy in the pay of the Eastasian government as far back as 1968. He confessed that he was a religious believer, an admirer of capitalism, and a sexual pervert. He confessed that he had murdered his wife, although he knew, and his questioners must have known, that his wife was still alive. He confessed that for years he had been in personal touch with Goldstein and had been a member of an underground organization which had included almost every human being he had ever known. It was easier to confess everything and implicate everybody.” (306)

O’Brien: “. . . a voice murmured in his ear: ‘Don’t worry, Winston; you are in my keeping. For seven years I have watched over you. Now the turning-point has come. I shall save you, I shall make you perfect.’” (308)

“We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?’

‘But how can you stop people remembering things?’ cried Winston again momentarily forgetting the dial. ‘It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!’” (314)

“‘You must humble yourself before you can become sane.’” (314)

“We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them.” (319)


The Inquisition: “It set out to eradicate heresy, and ended by perpetuating it.” (320)


Totalitarians: “There were the German Nazis and the Russian Communists.” (320)

“Before they exposed their victims to public trial, they deliberately set themselves to destroy their dignity.” (320)


“And above all we do not allow the dead to rise up against us. You must stop imagining that posterity will vindicate you, Winston. Posterity will never hear of you.” (320-321)

“The command of the old despotisms was ‘Thou shalt not”. The command of the totalitarians was ‘Thou shalt”. Our command is ‘THOU ART”.” (322)

“What most oppressed him was the consciousness of his own intellectual inferiority.” (322)

“We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.’” (323)

“‘You do not exist,’ said O’Brien.” (327)


“‘There are three stages in your reintegration,’ said O’Brien. ‘There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance. It is time for you to enter upon the second stage.’” (329)

“The rule of the Party is for ever.” (330)

Solipsism (336)

“But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. 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.” (337)

“All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler.” (337)

“The espionage, the betrayals, the arrests, the tortures, the executions, the disappearances will never cease. It will be a world of terror as much as a world of triumph. The more the Party is powerful, the less it will be tolerant: the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism.” (338)

“‘And you consider yourself morally superior to us, with our lies and our cruelty?’” (340)

“‘I have not betrayed Julia,’ he said.’” (344)

“‘In the end we shall shoot you.’” (345)


“Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: ‘It doesn’t really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.’” (350)

“He obeyed the Party, but he still hated the Party. In the old days he had hidden a heretical mind beneath an appearance of conformity. Now he had retreated a step further: in the mind he had surrendered, but he had hoped to keep the inner heart inviolate.” (353)

“To die hating them, that was freedom.” (354)

“. . . what are your true feelings towards Big Brother?’

‘I hate him.’

‘You hate him. Good. Then the time has come for you to take the last step. You must love Big Brother. It is not enough to obey him: you must love him.’” (355)


“‘Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!’” (362)


“There was no need to give orders. They knew his habits.” (365)

Chess move: “‘White to play and mate in two moves.’” (365)

“White always mates, he thought with a sort of cloudy mysticism.” (365)

“A shrill trumpet-call had pierced the air. It was the bulletin! Victory! It always meant victory when a trumpet-call preceded the news.” (374)

“He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The long-hoped-for bullet was entering his brain.” (375)

“He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” (376)




Appendix (376):

“Ingsoc, or English Socialism.” (376)