Thought-Provoking George Orwell Quotes

1984 with barbed wire in front- George Orwell
06/15/2021

George Orwell was a master of his craft. Over his years, he created several novels and nonfiction works which expressed thought-provoking ideas about the future, and offered intriguing societal criticism. His style of dystopian tales were both futuristic and alarmingly believable. His knack for describing future worlds and technologies, many of which have similar realistic applications in modern times, has also helped to make his works timeless classics.

He is also one of the most well known and studied creators throughout Canadian schools. Novels such as 1984 and Animal Farm are go-to titles for English studies, and many of his concepts and phrases, with examples like Big Brother and doublespeak, have become part of everyday language. His outspoken socialist ideas, as well as his blatant anti-totalitarian beliefs, created master stories that have spanned the test of time.

We have gathered a list of some of Orwell's most poignant and powerful quotes on a variety of topics. Covering everything from power politics to love, Orwell’s satirical style and hard-hitting beliefs have left a wide range of quotable words that are sure to resonate with listeners.

Quotes on Freedom

Many dystopian audiobooks and stories that are rooted in satire have a great deal to say about freedom. Often characters are fighting with issues of oppression, or government surveillance. This idea is found often in Orwell’s works, and as such, he has a lot to say about what it means to be free. Here, we’ve gathered some of our favourite passages on the subject.

1.“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” - Animal Farm

2.“We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” - 1984

3.“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” - 1984

4.“To die hating them, that was freedom.” - 1984

5.“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” - Animal Farm

6.“If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile, even when it can't have any result whatever, you've beaten them.” - 1984

7.“If you kept the small rules, you could break the big ones.” - 1984

8.“Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than just ribbons?” - Animal Farm

Quotes About Power and Politics

George Orwell was a known socialist, whose literary works and stories dealt with ideas of power and politics. Both 1984 and Animal Farm challenge ideas of power and its constructs in society. Orwell’s dislike for fierce rule and totalitarian societies comes through in almost every word, and every chapter. Check out these quotes about power and politics that are sure to bring out the inner activist in any listener.

9.“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” - 1984

10.“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” - 1984

11.“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” - 1984

12.“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” - 1984

13.“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” - 1984

14.“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” - Animal Farm

15.“The only good human being is a dead one.” - Animal Farm

16.“Four legs good, two legs bad.” - Animal Farm

17.“One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” - 1984

18.“We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.” - 1984

19.“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.” - 1984

20.“Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.” - Animal Farm

21.“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. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.” - 1984

22.“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

Quotes About Truth and Reality

In a dystopian, or totalitarian society, it can be hard to decipher what is real and what isn’t. Orwell often looks at ideas of truth and reality from a unique point of view that is both striking and thought-provoking. Here are some of our favourite Orwell quotes about truth and reality.

23.“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” - 1984

24.“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.” - 1984

25.“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.” - Animal Farm

26.“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” - 1984

27.“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” - 1984

28.“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” - 1984

29.“In the face of pain there are no heroes.” - 1984

30.“If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.” - 1984

31.“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.” - 1984

32.“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” - 1984

33.“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.” - 1984

34.“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.” - 1984

35.“Confession is not betrayal. What you say or do doesn't matter; only feelings matter. If they could make me stop loving you-that would be the real betrayal.” - 1984

36.“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” - 1984

37.“Let's face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.” - Animal Farm

38.“The Seven Commandments: Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. No animal shall wear clothes. No animal shall sleep in a bed. No animal shall drink alcohol. No animal shall kill any other animal. All animals are equal.” - Animal Farm

39.“We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future.” - 1984

40.“If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?” - 1984


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