1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

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1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby KestralTweet » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:28 am UTC

Anyone read it here?

I did and liked it.

Found the concept interesting.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Jorpho » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:18 am UTC

That's a bit brief, wouldn't you say? But I shall indulge you, as I have rather strong feelings about it: it is boring.

There is no question that it is a work of genius and that Orwell has some genuinely deep insights into how a totalitarian state might arise and subsequently be run. But the book is nonetheless profoundly dull, especially that lengthy bit in the middle with "Goldstein's" book. I am largely convinced that the sexy bits were thrown in when Orwell realized just how boring the book was.

I'm actually a bit intrigued by the notion of an anti-sex league. Something we could use more of these days, perhaps. I guess the bit about the rats was kind of clever too.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Iori_Yagami » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:07 am UTC

I laughed through that book.
Wasn't it a giant parody on 'big scare' of totalitarism?
Boo, boo, boo! He is watching YOU! :mrgreen:
I mean, could anyone go any further in insanity that is present in the book? Subtlety is probably unknown to author. If it's control, than it is total control. If it is oppression, than it is violent oppression. If it is corruption, than it is blatant corruption. If it is brain-washed youth, than it is brainless monkeys encanting mantras. If it is a villain, than it is a caricaturic manic goofball torturing inmates for fun. If it is food rationing, than it is about holy grams. If it is a plost twist than it is a face-heel turn. And if it is brother, than he is really, really BIG. :D :D :D
I liked harsh and very realistic portrayal in "Brave New World" which sooooo reminds me of present day more and more each day... :roll:
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby thecommabandit » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:00 pm UTC

Iori_Yagami wrote:I laughed through that book.
Wasn't it a giant parody on 'big scare' of totalitarism?
Boo, boo, boo! He is watching YOU! :mrgreen:
I mean, could anyone go any further in insanity that is present in the book? Subtlety is probably unknown to author. If it's control, than it is total control. If it is oppression, than it is violent oppression. If it is corruption, than it is blatant corruption. If it is brain-washed youth, than it is brainless monkeys encanting mantras. If it is a villain, than it is a caricaturic manic goofball torturing inmates for fun. If it is food rationing, than it is about holy grams. If it is a plost twist than it is a face-heel turn. And if it is brother, than he is really, really BIG. :D :D :D
I liked harsh and very realistic portrayal in "Brave New World" which sooooo reminds me of present day more and more each day... :roll:

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:09 pm UTC

Anti sex league was horrifying. This book ruined gin for me.

Alltogether I rather enjoyed it though especially their means for truly destroying criminals in room 101, incidentally a room number I always notice and enter with a bit of trepidation.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Spinoza » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:35 am UTC

Great book. Orwell's essays are even better, though. Try: Shooting an Elephant, and Books vs. Cigarettes.

Also, The Road to Wigan Pier is a stellar read if you like that sort of thing.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Chfan » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:32 pm UTC

It bored me to tears. I didn't finish it.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Mother Superior » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:09 am UTC

Probably my favourite book. It's still a great read after all these years, the mood and atmosphere throughout is as fantastic as the concept within. I too loved the final chapters of the book and the brain-washing of Winston, and the explanation of how the party will never lose control.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby roc314 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:24 am UTC

I don't understand how people can say it's boring. I mean, it's a brutal representation of the life of someone living in a dystopian fascism. It's a look at horrible that is, with some non-(fictional-)anecdotal reasoning in the middle. The ending is absolutely amazing. Sure, a few parts drag on a bit longer than they should, but that doesn't kill the book.

The only thing I dislike about the book is when people misinterpret it as an attack on socialism.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Kizyr » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:33 pm UTC

It's still my favorite novel. I even enjoyed the part in the middle, on how the world was divided between Oceania/Eurasia/Eastasia. It wasn't vital to the plot, but it still added depth to the world. (Although, now that I think back on it, that book was most likely majorly, if not fully, fictitious.)

There're plenty of salient themes, events, and aspects of it that are fascinating--right down to some of the little events. How Newspeak was constructed to limit thought, for instance. Or how the news one week reported that chocolate rations were reduced to 3 grams per week, and the following week reported that chocolate rations were increased to 3 grams.

I mean, overall the book is about constructing a totalitarian world, and through the events in the book, showing all the ways that said world came into being, and the means by which it maintains its power. And, there are similarities in the real world to a few of these means--not to the same extent, but to enough of an extent and with a similar purpose to cause concern. KF
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:22 am UTC

I loved 1984. Some say it's boring, I really don't see it. It's not like there isn't copious sex and torture scenes as well as the political points. The political bits in the middle were actually my favorite part of the entire book, for some reason.

Iori_Yagami wrote:I laughed through that book.
Wasn't it a giant parody on 'big scare' of totalitarism?
Boo, boo, boo! He is watching YOU! :mrgreen:
I mean, could anyone go any further in insanity that is present in the book? Subtlety is probably unknown to author. If it's control, than it is total control. If it is oppression, than it is violent oppression. If it is corruption, than it is blatant corruption. If it is brain-washed youth, than it is brainless monkeys encanting mantras. If it is a villain, than it is a caricaturic manic goofball torturing inmates for fun. If it is food rationing, than it is about holy grams. If it is a plost twist than it is a face-heel turn. And if it is brother, than he is really, really BIG. :D :D :D


Yeah, you missed the point. The point wasn't that 1984 is really that realistic of a scenario. The point is that there are tendencies in governments and power structures that, carried to their full, logical conclusion, lead to the insanities portrayed in the book.

I liked harsh and very realistic portrayal in "Brave New World" which sooooo reminds me of present day more and more each day... :roll:


Yet, you criticize "brainless monkeys encanting mantras". That aside, I loved BNW as well, but it's about something completely different. 1984 is about what an oppressive government could do you, BNW is about what you could do to yourself, or more generally, how humanity could lose its, er, humanity, and absolutely not care. The fact that democracy is now practiced by most nations that want to be taken seriously on the world stage makes the threat of totalitarianism much less real to us, but it is still there.

And I see plenty of 1984 all around me. I've heard many stories about Chinese nationals having never heard of Tienanmen Square. Actually, look at the media censorship in China--it's a pretty scary thing. Even in the US--we don't torture, but we do use "unorthodox interrogation", or whatever they tried to call it. Classic newspeak. Look hard enough at the darker side of organized power, and you'll see 1984. Look hard enough at the darker side of the human desire for peace and happiness and you'll find Brave New World.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:06 am UTC

I like to think of 1984 as Brave New World without the sex, drugs, and genetics to pacify the population.

Oddly, I can't quite remember the details of BNW as easily as I can recall bits of 1984, but I do remember it was much easier to read than 1984 was. (All of the harping on Henry Ford rather severely dates it.)

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:14 am UTC

It might just have been the age difference, but the second time through 1984 had a much bigger impact on me than the first. The first time I was sucked in, and became serious and contemplative for several days after. The second time I almost cried. It just seemed so much more intense.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Ended » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:56 pm UTC

I love the first sentence of this book.
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

Instant, effortless alienation.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Stripped Science » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

This novel was a great expeince to read. I think this was the most depressing book, I have ever read.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby ams » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:55 am UTC

I read Nineteen Eighty-Four when I was in high school. It's a book I think everyone should read, but I have no real desire to read it again. I preferred Animal Farm's extended communism metaphor.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby sje46 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:06 am UTC

Boring, and I get annoyed with . . .nevermind. I had a HUGE argument on another place on the Internet which I'm not interested in carrying on over here. Not until I do more research, that is.

The one thing I really liked about the book was the linguisitcs. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis intrigues me. IT was the most interesting part of the book for me.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby roc314 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:10 am UTC

ams wrote:I read Nineteen Eighty-Four when I was in high school. It's a book I think everyone should read, but I have no real desire to read it again. I preferred Animal Farm's extended communism metaphor.
That's missing the point. Orwell's works weren't about the evil of one political/economic system, they were about the danger of any kind of authoritarian government. Animal Farm was about revolutions being betrayed for the personal interests of those who seek power, 1984 was about governments already in power that exist only to further their own interests. (Personally, I like to see 1984 as the sequel to Animal Farm, in that Animal Farm talks about the dangers of totalitarianism in the early stages of a government, and 1984 talks about the dangers in an established government, and how we should never reach that point. If we let what happens in Animal Farm to happen, we will get what's in 1984.)

Saying that Animal Farm is only about communism or that 1984 is about socialism* is ignoring the danger that can come from other types of governments seizing power. It's sticking your head in the ground and saying "La-la-la, we're perfectly safe from this, because we aren't communistic.".

*Orwell was actually a socialist and called the brand of socialism he supported "English Socialism" ("Ingsoc", if you will), which he said "will never lose touch with the tradition of compromise and the belief in a law that is above the State. It will shoot traitors, but it will give them a solemn trial beforehand and occasionally it will acquit them. It will crush any open revolt promptly and cruelly, but it will interfere very little with the spoken and written word". Using Ingsoc as the ideology espoused by the party strengthens the concept of a government betraying their principles.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby aging.child » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:03 am UTC

The thing that really interested me was the psychological aspect of the book. I had never thought about the fact that we can't prove memories, and it quite honestly freaked me out. Although I can't see a situation ever arising where everyone accepts lies as memories, the part about our memories being so uncertain was an interesting concept.

And I also loved the bit about how language controls our thoughts, and if we limit the vocabulary, we limit the thought process. I've always been interested in how a society's vocabulary is unique to their values and needs.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby eternal luna » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:11 am UTC

aging.child wrote:And I also loved the bit about how language controls our thoughts, and if we limit the vocabulary, we limit the thought process. I've always been interested in how a society's vocabulary is unique to their values and needs.
That's the part that really stuck with me, and I'm finding it really interesting, being multi-lingual, how I can't express the same ideas in a different language.

I thought the whole thing was pretty good, and actually enjoyed it immensely- I think the people that call it "boring" miss the point a little. The tone and pace adds to it all.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Ysabeau » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:25 am UTC

I loved the book. The extent to which the Party controls the language and memories of the population was particularly interesting. The proles, and their fake lotteries and Party-composed tunes, are also thought provoking ("hope lies in the proles.")
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby ams » Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:57 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:That's missing the point. Orwell's works weren't about the evil of one political/economic system, they were about the danger of any kind of authoritarian government. Animal Farm was about revolutions being betrayed for the personal interests of those who seek power, 1984 was about governments already in power that exist only to further their own interests. (Personally, I like to see 1984 as the sequel to Animal Farm, in that Animal Farm talks about the dangers of totalitarianism in the early stages of a government, and 1984 talks about the dangers in an established government, and how we should never reach that point. If we let what happens in Animal Farm to happen, we will get what's in 1984.)

Saying that Animal Farm is only about communism or that 1984 is about socialism* is ignoring the danger that can come from other types of governments seizing power. It's sticking your head in the ground and saying "La-la-la, we're perfectly safe from this, because we aren't communistic.".

I guess I could have put it better in my original post, but I did get the point. The shared theme of the books is the danger of a government that can make any decision it wants, but Animal Farm uses allegory to specifically criticize how it happened in the Russian Revolution and its aftermath.

And it doesn't change the fact that I prefer Animal Farm for its depiction of idealism gone wrong over Nineteen Eighty Four and its dystopian vision.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Clumpy » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:54 pm UTC

Those of you who aren't interested in the political and psychological philosophy behind the book might appreciate Animal Farm. It's a pretty great allegory in and of itself, but the juiciest bits of Orwell's philosophy (doublethink and doublespeak) are all in 1984.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby AmyShackles » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:13 am UTC

Clumpy wrote:Those of you who aren't interested in the political and psychological philosophy behind the book might appreciate Animal Farm. It's a pretty great allegory in and of itself, but the juiciest bits of Orwell's philosophy (doublethink and doublespeak) are all in 1984.

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I don't know... I think if you didn't like 1984, you're reeeally not going to like Animal Farm. I loved both though... so it's hard to tell, really.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Clumpy » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:04 am UTC

AmyShackles wrote:
Clumpy wrote:Those of you who aren't interested in the political and psychological philosophy behind the book might appreciate Animal Farm. It's a pretty great allegory in and of itself, but the juiciest bits of Orwell's philosophy (doublethink and doublespeak) are all in 1984.

Nothing to see here. Move along. - ST


I don't know... I think if you didn't like 1984, you're reeeally not going to like Animal Farm. I loved both though... so it's hard to tell, really.


It would depend on why you disliked each book. I like Animal Farm as an allegory, but feel that the real philosophical meat is in 1984. You can see the realities of doublethink every day.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby GoodRudeFun » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:07 am UTC

Stripped Science wrote:This novel was a great expeince to read. I think this was the most depressing book, I have ever read.

I agree, amazingly depressing.

Good, but depressing.
Oh. Well that's alright then.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Kizyr » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:00 pm UTC

GoodRudeFun wrote:
Stripped Science wrote:This novel was a great expeince to read. I think this was the most depressing book, I have ever read.

I agree, amazingly depressing.
Good, but depressing.

But... but everyone is happy at the end!

At least, that's what I told someone when I was trying to convince her to read the book. KF
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby GeorgeYoung » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:10 pm UTC

Read it when I was fourteen and it was, I think, a book that lead me down the path to what I believe today; If it was not for that book then I would not be half as interested in politics as a I am. I count it as one of the few books to have changed my life, I am hugely anti-statism and mostly that comes from reading 1984.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby bigstrat2003 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:13 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:
GoodRudeFun wrote:
Stripped Science wrote:This novel was a great expeince to read. I think this was the most depressing book, I have ever read.

I agree, amazingly depressing.
Good, but depressing.

But... but everyone is happy at the end!

At least, that's what I told someone when I was trying to convince her to read the book. KF


That's what makes it depressing. It's not that everyone is happy, it's that everyone is happy, reconciled to a world that they hated when they were still an individual. It's eerie as hell, and sad.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Jorpho » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:00 pm UTC

Is there anything on Fox News that counts as the Two-Minute Hate yet?

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Clumpy » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Is there anything on Fox News that counts as the Two-Minute Hate yet?


Nah, but I understand Lewis Black's going conservative and taking up Fox-televised boxing with Michael Savage. That might be something to watch.

Less facetiously, Fox (and, to a certain extent, television news in general) isn't hateful so much as ignorant and dull.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby zomgmouse » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:56 am UTC

1984 is great, one of my favourites.
Ended wrote:I love the first sentence of this book.
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

Instant, effortless alienation.

More than that, the first paragraph:
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 vile wind, slipped quickly into the glass doors of the Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

It just tells you the whole story right there and then.

Absolute masterpiece.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby The Spherical Cow » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:09 pm UTC

I quite enjoyed reading Goldstein's book - though not the first time I read 1984, I think I just skipped past it. The next few times, I've read it and I haven't found it dull at all.

I think I prefer Brave New World, though, I find it a more terrifying concept. I think I once read the difference between the two books being that 1984 describes a world where no-one is allowed to read books. BNW describes a world where no-one wants to read books. The second, I find a far more worrisome idea.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:55 pm UTC

1984 is one of those books you appreciate a lot more as you get older.
Animal farm is easily accesable to youth to comprehend and it makes all the 'points' real obvious and dumbed down.

I didn't like 1984 when I read it in HS. But I reread it this year, now that I have a poli sci degree and im 36, and I really liked it, with the main story being kind of boring, but the Goldstein books being fascinating.

I have read it 3 times, but the goldstein and double think portions didn't have the relevance until I had more 'worldly' experience as a prism to view it from.

He was a genius.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Rhombulus » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:02 am UTC

I absolutely loved 1984. And Animal Farm. And Brave New World as well. My sister has Island by Aldous Huxley in her room too, and that's coming up on my to-read list.

As to those who thought 1984 was boring - how can you read any nonfiction?
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Chfan » Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:50 pm UTC

It's just that any time an author goes on an even minor tangent, i lose interest fast. I suppose that's a defect of mine and not the book. Then again, I did only read it about two years ago. I should try again.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Dazmilar » Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:36 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:The only thing I dislike about the book is when people misinterpret it as an attack on socialism.


It's a book written by a socialist disillusioned with the excesses of Stalinist Russia, about a world where the major powers are ruled by socialism (Ingsoc and Neo-Bolshevism), with many elements of Stalin's Russia carried to logical absurdity. I don't see how it's a "misinterpretation" to consider 1984 an attack on socialism, or much more narrowly, an attack on socialism as implemented in Russia in the time when Orwell was writing. 1984 can be read from different perspectives, of course, to match the sensibilities of the generation of readers that pick up the book. Apply it to Big Media, all forms of government, whatever-you-please. But within the context of the period when Orwell wrote the book, the focus of 1984 is incredibly narrow.

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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby thecommabandit » Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Newspeak is still the most terrifying thing I've ever heard about. I think people often don't realise how far it goes: you may well have this concept in your head of being free from the government but there are no possible words or combination of words that you can use to express it. There's no possible way to communicate your desire for freedom, and so it rots inside your head, torturing you with something that you want so bad but you can't even ask someone else if they feel the same, let alone collaborate with them to achieve it. It's complete, unspeakable (pun not intended) isolation. I just thank the universe that Orwell never became a politician.

When reading the end,
Spoiler:
did anyone else still pray and hope that Winston would somehow overthrow the Party? Even the tiniest little personal victory, or some infinitesimal contribution to some resistance cell. Even while I read the very last page I was still praying and hoping that someone would do something, anything against the Party. And I think the book was made all the more horrible by that; it's showing us that we cannot allow this to happen, because once it gets so far, no-one can do anything about it ever again.


I think reading the book profoundly changed me, and made me value my freedom, not just of action and speech but of thought so much more. It also solidified my stance on things like national genetic databases, identity cards and other measures for the restriction of freedom.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:52 pm UTC

thecommabandit wrote:Newspeak is still the most terrifying thing I've ever heard about. I think people often don't realise how far it goes: you may well have this concept in your head of being free from the government but there are no possible words or combination of words that you can use to express it. There's no possible way to communicate your desire for freedom, and so it rots inside your head, torturing you with something that you want so bad but you can't even ask someone else if they feel the same, let alone collaborate with them to achieve it. It's complete, unspeakable (pun not intended) isolation. I just thank the universe that Orwell never became a politician.


It's worse than that. Not only can you not tell someone about it, you could argue that the thought would never even occur to you. Language shapes thought in addition to the other way around.
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Re: 1984 (Or Nineteen Eighty-Four)

Postby rheakith » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:07 pm UTC

1984 is my all time favorite book. I've read it three times: once when I was 10 or so, once about 4 years ago, and the last time was just a few weeks ago. Each time I've gained so much more out of it. It really is a frightening book though, and especially now when politics are so up in the air with everything, who knows what may happen at some point. Freedoms are things that need to be cherished while they last.

thecommabandit: I felt the same way about the ending. Especially in my most recent reading, I didn't remember what happened at the very end, but I really was hoping for it.


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