50 Important Quotes You Should Pay Attention to in 1984

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Look no further! We have gathered 50 of the most important quotes and 5 themes that will help you spark some great ideas. 

To learn about top quotes from 1984 that you’ll want to remember, just scroll down! 

#11: 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.

  • Book 1, Chapter 8
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Motif of control, dichotomies of truth and fact

#12: 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.

  • Book 1, Chapter 5
  • Characters: Syme, Winston
  • Techniques: Motif of control, symbolism, critique of totalitarianism

#13: You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized

  • Book 1, Chapter 1
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Narrative perspective of 3rd person, foreshadowing, motif of control

#14: Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema. This again was never put into plain words, but in an indirect way it was rubbed into every Party member from childhood onwards. 

  • Book 1, Chapter 6
  • Characters: Winston, reflecting on his wife Katharine
  • Techniques: Critique of context, characterisation, irony

#15: All beliefs, habits, tastes, emotions, mental attitudes that characterize our time are really designed to sustain the mystique of the Party and prevent the true nature of present-day society from being perceived.

  • Book 2, Chapter 9
  • Characters: Goldstein’s manifesto, The Party, Winston, Julia
  • Techniques: Motif of control, allusion to Trotsky, allegory 

#16: If they could make me stop loving you—that would be the real betrayal.’ She thought it over. ‘They can’t do that. . . . They can make you say anything—anything—but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.’

  • Book 2, Chapter 7
  • Characters: Winston, Julia
  • Techniques: Motif of control, foreshadowing, juxtaposition

#17: We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us. . . . We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him.

  • Book 3, Chapter 2
  • Characters: O’Brien, Winston
  • Techniques: Motif of control, didactic, foreshadowing

#18: We were producing a definitive edition of the poems of Kipling. I allowed the word ‘God’ to remain at the end of a line. I could not help it! . . . The rhyme was ‘rod.’ Do you realize there are only twelve rhymes to ‘rod’ in the entire language?’

  • Book 3, Chapter 1
  • Character: Ampleforth
  • Techniques: Rhetorical devices, irony, dichotomies of truth and fact

#19: 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.

  • Book 3, Chapter 2
  • Character: O’Brien
  • Techniques: Didactic, foreshadowing, allusion to context

#20: If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.

  • Book 3, Chapter 3
  • Character: O’Brien
  • Techniques: Motif of control, allegory, symbolism

#21: [I]t was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

  • Book 3, Chapter 6
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Atmosphere of control, irony, didactic

#22: When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour.

  • Book 2, Chapter 3
  • Character: Julia
  • Techniques: Motif of control, motif of deception, allusion to totalitarianism

#23: They got me a long time ago.

  • Book 3, Chapter 1
  • Character: O’Brien
  • Techniques: Foreshadowing, narrative perspective, allusion to totalitarianism

#24: ​​I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.

  • Book 3, Chapter 2
  • Characters: O’Brien, Winston
  • Techniques: Motif of control, allusion to context, motif of deception

#25: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.

  • Book 1, Chapter 1
  • Character: Big Brother
  • Techniques: Symbolism, allusion, contextual setting

#26: 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.

  • Part 3, Chapter 4
  • Character: O’Brien
  • Techniques: Symbolism, paradox, ambiguity

#27: If leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.

  • Book 2, Chapter 9
  • Character: Goldstein
  • Techniques: Contextual settling, allusion, didactic

#28: 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.

  • Book 2, Chapter 9
  • Character: Goldstein
  • Techniques: Allusion to context, foreshadowing, motif of control

#29: He picked up the children’s history book and looked at the portrait of Big Brother which formed its frontispiece. The hypnotic eyes gazed into his own. It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you—something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses.

  • Book 1, Chapter 6
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Narrative perspective, motif of control, allusion to context

Manipulation of History

#30: Suddenly there sprang into his mind, ready-made as it were, the image of a certain Comrade Ogilvy, who had recently died in battle, in heroic circumstances. . . . It was true that there was no such person as Comrade Ogilvy, but a few lines of print and a couple of faked photographs would soon bring him into existence.

  • Book 1, Chapter 4
  • Characters: Winston
  • Techniques: Manipulation of history, cynicism, allusion to Charlemange

#31: Within twenty years at most, he reflected, the huge and simple question ‘Was life better before the Revolution than it is now?’ would have ceased once and for all to be answerable.

  • Book 1, Chapter 8
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Rhetorical devices, foreshadowing, critique of context

#32: What appealed to [Winston] about [the coral paperweight] was not so much its beauty as the air it seemed to possess of belonging to an age quite different from the present one.

  • Book 1, Chapter 8
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Motif of control, imagery of aestheticism, symbolism

#33: [T]he Party member, like the proletarian, tolerates present-day conditions because he has no standards of comparison. 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.

  • Book 2, Chapter 9
  • Characters: Winston, The Party, Goldstein
  • Techniques: Manipulation of history, allusion to context, critique of totalitarianism

#34: For the first time in his life he did not despise the proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the world. The proles had stayed human.

  • Book 2, Chapter 7
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Epiphany, allegory to context, didactic

#35: I don’t think it’s anything—I mean, I don’t think it was ever put to any use. That’s what I like about it. It’s a little chunk of history that they’ve forgotten to alter. It’s a message from a hundred years ago, if one knew how to read it.

  • Book 2, Chapter 4
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Symbolism, allegory to context, cynicism

Quotes about Freedom, Resistance and Revolution from 1984

#36: The sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion. Desire was thoughtcrime.

  • Book 1, Chapter 6
  • Characters: Winston  
  • Techniques: Characterisation, paradox, motif of resistance

#37: Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.

  • Book 1, Chapter 7
  • Characters: Winston, Jones, Aaronson, Rutherford
  • Techniques: Foreshadowing, didactic, motif of deception

#38: Any kind of organized revolt against the Party, which was bound to be a failure, struck her as stupid. The clever thing was to break the rules and stay alive all the same.

  • Book 2, Chapter 3
  • Characters: Julia, Winston
  • Techniques: Symbolism, motif of resistance, paradox

#39: [E]verywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands or millions of people just like this . . . people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world. If there was hope, it lay in the proles!

  • Book 2, Chapter 10
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Critique of context, allusion to context, foreshadowing

#40: ‘Listen. The more men you’ve had, the more I love you. Do you understand that?’ ‘Yes, perfectly.’ ‘I hate purity, I hate goodness! I don’t want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones.’

  • Book 2, Chapter 2
  • Characters: Winston, Julia
  • Techniques: motif of control, narrative perspective, juxtaposition

#41: The paperweight was the room he was in, and the coral was Julia’s life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal.

  • Book 2, Chapter 4
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: narrative perspective, imagery of aestheticism, allusion to context

#42: The best books, [Winston] perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.

  • Book 2, Chapter 9
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Critique of context, motif of control, narrative perspective

#43: In this game that we’re playing, we can’t win. Some kinds of failure are better than other kinds, that’s all.

  • Book 2, Chapter 3
  • Characters: Winston, to Julia
  • Techniques: Atmosphere of control, juxtaposition, characterisation

#44: ​​I am afraid of death. You are young, so presumably you’re more afraid of it than I am. Obviously we shall put it off as long as we can. But it makes very little difference. So long as human beings stay human, death and life are the same thing.

  • Book 2, Chapter 3
  • Characters: Winston, Julia
  • Techniques: Characterisation, irony, critique of context

#45: I don’t imagine that we can alter anything in our own lifetime. But one can imagine little knots of resistance springing up here and there—small groups of people banding themselves together, and gradually growing, and even leaving a few records behind, so that the next generations can carry on where we leave off.

  • Book 2, Chapter 5
  • Character: Winston
  • Techniques: Didactic, narrative perspective, motif of resistance

#46: We believe that there is some kind of conspiracy, some kind of secret organization working against the Party, and that you are involved in it. We want to join it and work for it. We are enemies of the Party. We disbelieve in the principles of Ingsoc. We are thought-criminals. We are also adulterers. I tell you this because we want to put ourselves at your mercy. If you want us to incriminate ourselves in any other way, we are ready.

  • Book 2, Chapter 8
  • Characters: Winston, O’Brien
  • Techniques: Motif of resistance, foreshadowing, allusion to English Socialism

#47: I LOVE YOU.

  • Book 2, Chapter 1
  • Character: Julia
  • Techniques: Motif of resistance, juxtaposition, motif of deception

#48: And do you know what I’m going to do next? I’m going to get hold of a real woman’s frock from somewhere and wear it instead of these bloody trousers. I’ll wear silk stockings and high-heeled shoes! In this room I’m going to be a woman, not a Party comrade.

  • Book 2, Chapter 4
  • Character: Julia
  • Techniques: Motif of resistance, binary oppositions, symbolism

#49: If they could make me stop loving you—that would be the real betrayal. They can’t do that…They can make you say anything—anything—but they can’t make you believe it. They can’t get inside you.

  • Book 2, Chapter 7
  • Character: Julia
  • Techniques: Motif of control, motif of resistance, foreshadowing

#50: Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.

  • Book 3, Chapter 3
  • Character: O’Brien
  • Techniques: Motif of resistance, manipulation, critique of totalitarianism

If you’ve found our quotes from 1984 useful, you should check out our list of quotes for the following texts:

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Camille Chin is your certified Art of Smart Veteran! Starting as a student at Art of Smart herself, she felt passionate about helping students boost their academic confidence so that they can achieve and reach their full potential in their studies. She currently studies Law and Arts – English at Macquarie University, and loves volunteer firefighting, reading and watching musical theatre in her spare time.





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