It was a bright cold day in April…Orwell 1984

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the wild wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tackled to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.
Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right‑hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed but there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uniform of the Party. His hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.
Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The blackmoustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into the people’s windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered…

 SUMMARY

On a cold day in April of 1984, a man named Winston Smith returns to his home, a dilapidated apartment building called Victory Mansions. Thin, frail, and thirty-nine years old, it is painful for him to trudge up the stairs because he has a varicose ulcer above his right ankle. The elevator is always out of service so he does not try to use it. As he climbs the staircase, he is greeted on each landing by a coloured poster depicting an enormous face of a dark-eyed man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features, underscored by the words “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.”

Though Winston is technically a member of the ruling class, his life is still under the Party’s oppressive political control. In his apartment, an instrument called a telescreen—which is always on, spouting propaganda, and through which the Thought Police are known to monitor the actions of citizens—shows a dreary report about pig iron. Winston keeps his back to the screen while the police patrol helicopter is snooping into the people’s windows to spy on them.

1984 George Orwell

…It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the wild wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tackled to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.
Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right‑hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed but there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uniform of the Party. His hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.
Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The blackmoustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into the people’s windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered…

1. ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
1.1. Where is Winston Smith’s flat situated?
1.2. Why cannot he use the lift?
1.3. What kind of pictures is the one shown on the poster?
1.4. What did Winston Smith hear when he entered the flat?
1.5. What is the “telescreen” and why is there one in each flat?
1.6. Could it be turned off?
1.7. What are “telescreens” for?
1.8. How does the police patrol carry out its task?

ANSWERS

1. Winston Smith’s flat is situated in Victory Mansions.

2. He cannot use the lift because it doesn’t work.

3. The poster is a coloured one showing an enormous face of a forty-five-years-old man, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. The pictures is taken so that his eyes follow you about when you move.

4.When he entered the flat Winston heard a fruity voice coming from an oblong metal plaque. It was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron.

5. The telescreen was a metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right‑hand wall.

6. No, there wasn’t. The instrument could be dimmed but there was no way of shutting it off completely.

7. By means of telescreens, the Party is able to monitor its members almost all of the time

8. The police patrol carries out its task by helicopters skimming down between the roofs and  snooping into the people’s windows.

OSCAR WILDE:LOVE AND DEATH IN THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

 I n the stately London home of his aunt, Lady Brandon, the well-known artist Basil Hallward meets Dorian Gray. Dorian is a cultured, wealthy, and impossibly beautiful young man who immediately captures Basil’s artistic imagination. Dorian sits for several portraits, and Basil often depicts him as an ancient Greek hero or a mythological figure.. Lord Henry, a famous wit who enjoys scandalizing his friends by celebrating youth, beauty, and the selfish pursuit of pleasure, disagrees, claims that the portrait is Basil’s masterpiece. Dorian arrives at the studio, and Basil reluctantly introduces him to Lord Henry, who he fears will have a damaging influence on the impressionable, young Dorian. Basil’s fears are well founded; Dorian curses his portrait, which he believes will one day remind him of the beauty he will have lost. In a fit of distress, he pledges his soul if only the painting could bear the burden of age and infamy, allowing him to stay forever young.

Over the next few weeks, Lord Henry’s influence over Dorian grows stronger. The youth becomes a disciple of the “new Hedonism” and proposes to live a life dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. He falls in love with Sibyl Vane, a young actress who performs in a theater in London’s slums. He adores her acting; she, in turn, refers to him as “Prince Charming” and refuses to heed the warnings of her brother, James Vane, that Dorian is no good for her. Overcome by her emotions for Dorian, Sibyl decides that she can no longer act, wondering how she can pretend to love on the stage now that she has experienced the real thing. Unfortunately this is a story of Love and Death because Dorian’s pursuit of pleasurable things leads to his emotional detachment from humanity.  He  depends upon those things to maintain an interested in life. So for as long as Dorian simply enjoys Sibyl’s art he loves her because she is beautiful to observe, but once he is given the opportunity to speak with the beautiful girl and gets to know her, he associates his love with her acting, thereby giving the art of performance a purpose besides entertainment. For this reason, when Sibyl decides to exchange her acting for Dorian’s love, he rejects her, saying, “Without your art you are nothing.” Dorian gives Sibyl’s acting, her art, the purpose of maintaining his love for her, and when she  abandons it, Dorian cruelly abandons her. Sibyl becomes a victim of art, and commits suicide by swallowing prussic acid. After doing so, he returns home to notice that his face in Basil’s portrait of him has changed: it is uglier. He resolves to make amends with Sibyl the next day. The following afternoon, however, Lord Henry brings news that Sibyl has committed suicide. At Lord Henry’s urging, Dorian decides to consider her death a sort of artistic triumph—she personified tragedy—and to put the matter behind him. Actually the whole novel is characterized by the presence of the two impulses of Love and Death since Lord Henry gives Dorian a book that describes chapters in which are pictured the awful and beautiful forms of those whom vice and blood and weariness had made monstrous or mad. Ezzelin, whose melancholy could be cured only by the spectacle of death, and who had a passion for red blood, as other men have for red wine. Sigismondo Malatesta, the lover of Isotta and the lord of Rimini, whose effigy was burned at Rome as the enemy of God and man, who strangled Polyssena with a napkin, and gave poison to Ginevra d’Este in a cup of emerald, and in honour of a shameful passion built a pagan church for Christian worship; Charles VI, who had so wildly adored his brother’s wife that a leper had warned him of the insanity that was coming on him, and who, when his brain had sickened and grown strange, could only be soothed by Saracen cards painted with the images of love and death and madness; and, in his trimmed jerkin and jewelled cap and acanthuslike curls, Grifonetto Baglioni, who slew Astorre with his bride.  So, after reading this book, Dorian lives a life devoted to new experiences and sensations with no regard for conventional standards of morality or the consequences of his actions. Eighteen years pass. Dorian’s reputation suffers in circles of polite London society. The figure in the painting, however, grows increasingly hideous. On a dark, foggy night, Basil Hallward arrives at Dorian’s home . The two argue, and Dorian eventually  kills Basil in a fit of rage. But His murder of Basil marks the beginning of his end: although in the past he has been able to sweep infamies from his mind, he cannot shake the thought that he has killed his friend

The night after the murder, Dorian makes his way to an opium den, where he encounters James Vane, who attempts to avenge Sibyl’s death. Dorian escapes  and he resolves to amend his life but , in a fury, Dorian picks up the knife he used to stab Basil Hallward and attempts to destroy the painting. There is a crash, and his servants enter to find the portrait, unharmed, showing Dorian Gray as a beautiful young man. On the floor lies the body of their master—an old man, horribly wrinkled and disfigured, with a knife plunged into his heart.

Thus, the novel ends showing  the ugly, real fate that Dorian finally meets as a result of his actions

Dorian resolves to live his life as a pleasure-seeker with no regard for conventional morality. His relationship with Sibyl Vane tests his commitment to this philosophy: his love of the young actress nearly leads him to dispense with Lord Henry’s teachings, but his love proves to be as shallow as he is. When he breaks Sibyl’s heart and drives her to suicide, Dorian notices the first change in his portrait. When Dorian decides to view Sibyl’s death as the achievement of an artistic ideal rather than a needless tragedy for which he is responsible, he starts down the steep and slippery slope of his own demise.

. When Dorian first discovers, quite by chance, the beautiful actress Sibyl Vane, he returns to the theatre nightly just to watch her stunning performances, and she never disappoints him. For as long as Dorian simply enjoys Sibyl’s art he loves her because she is beautiful to observe, but once he is given the opportunity to speak with Sibyl and get to know her, Dorian associates his love with her acting, thereby giving the art of performance a purpose besides entertainment. When Sibyl decides to exchange her acting for Dorian’s love, Dorian rejects her, saying, “Without your art you are nothing.” (Wilde, pg 74). Dorian gives Sibyl’s acting, her art, the purpose of maintaining his love for her, and when she disregarding her art as a thing without purpose, abandons it, Dorian callously abandons her (Gates, ‘Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray’). Sibyl becomes a victim of art, and commits suicide by swallowing prussic acid: her death is an example of the terrible consequences that the aesthetes believed could occur as a result of saddling art with responsibility. Later in the novel, years after Sibyl Vane’s death, Dorian accuses Lord Henry of “poisoning” him with the unnamed yellow book that Henry lent to Dorian when they were young. 

His murder of Basil marks the beginning of his end: although in the past he has been able to sweep infamies from his mind, he cannot shake the thought that he has killed his friend