If this was made into a movie now, they would likely cast Will Smith as Winston and have him overthrow the government and rescue Julia
The society being raised to "listen through keyholes" was one of the defining characteristics of Communist states during the Cold War.
The constant lack of goods was very much a problem in Communism. Orwell describes it as a conscious effort to keep hierarchy, but I personally think it was a result of the Communist governments' 4-year production plans.
The production only of things that have a purpose, never things that exist simply to be beautiful or to be played with (even the children's toys are made as an effort to raise them to spy on their parents and neighbors).
The constant presence of a secret police, and secret prisons to which people constantly disappear without warning. The assuming that a member of your family has been killed when they don't reappear.
Not to mention the youth leagues intended to raise children to agree with the Party.
Other than that, it's simply frightening. It's a work of political fiction, obviously, but if that is something that interests you, this is horror of the worst kind. Imagine a government actively trying to limit your range of thought by creating a language where forming an opinion is impossible!
It's especially frightening when you look at the treatment of people like Snowden, who is being punished for revealing that the U.S. government was literally trying to spy on American citizens through the internet - not unlike what the Party in 1984 does to the citizens of Oceania.
Heck I even gave it two stars, so I'm also guilty of inflating ratings beyond the actual intertainment value ;)
I feel the same way about Asimovs Foundation series: The central premise of each book can be formulated in a few sentences, and the rest is just page upon page of boredom and unengaging characters.
Those of us who have jobs and have the chance to make money can spend it on what we need, and then what we want. In a totalitarian society you couldn't do that! We get to buy whatever kind of food we want with the money we've earned. We can buy all kinds of drinks, from water to juice to coffee to alcohol. We have a huge list of coffees and tobacco and magazines and house items and technology, literally anything you might need. It's out there.
Whatever item you might need, there are many like it of many qualities and prices on the market, and it's up to you to decide what you want. Speaking of what you want, you can VOTE for whoever you want, join whatever party you want, and you can even choose to be apolitical, and just not take any interest in politics if you don't want to! And you have the right to say what you want about anything in politics too, guaranteed by the universal declaration of human rights.
The people of Oceania wouldn't have the luxury we do! What Orwell is portraying (and trying to say) is that WE could end up like the people of Oceania some day, and that we must be careful not to let it happen.
It's why people these days have a problem with their government invading an individual's privacy, even if the individual has nothing to hide! People must be aware of the never-ending threat of dictatorship so that we could HAVE our rights and our freedom, these luxuries we take for granted.
Just look at North Korea.
This book must be cherished. It is a warning sign, not to mention a fantastic book as well, in my opinion.
My opinion isn't important though, this book is. I hope we don't lose it as the generations go by, for we mustn't forget the relatively recent crimes against humanity committed in the name of a better world, by the hands of vicious dictators, full of lies and empty promises.
I suggest you take a look at the animal farm by Orwell if you haven't already, or have decided you don't want to. It's much shorter and is very direct. I see it as a metaphorical blueprint for achieving totalitarianism, and wouldn't waste your time.
Sorry I got carried away I tried to keep it brief. ^_^
If you don't feel for it, you are living in a free world and I envy you.
I live in Hong Kong. With influence from China grows day by day, we begin to see censorship, changing of historical records, disappearing citizens. Every incident described in the book I can relate to events happening around me. Attitudes of Winston and Julia, and the proles, accurately describe various mentalities for surviving under such regime. It is horrible. It is reality. It is so hard for me to finish reading this book, with every page heavier than the last.
Just not very good.
a) it's a dystopia and not pleasant to read b) following from 'a)' even the main character isn't really a nice character or a hero type. so if you are after a book with a positive outlook, surely not your thing. BUT I think it portrays human being very well (unfortunately :) )
b) it's ab book about fascism (it's less SciFi than political / social commentary I think) and as such it is excellent (not only regarding when it was written (1948) but also today)
c) I think its strength lies in its worldbuilding (again politically, socially and economically but also to a certain degree technically)
d ) finally, the most amazing aspect for me is the New Speak Appendix. I could just read Orwell's thought about how language can be used to influence human thinking. Which again is so relevant today...
‘And now let us get back to the question of “how” and “why”. You understand well enough HOW the Party maintains itself in power. Now tell me WHY we cling to power. What is our motive? Why should we want power?
‘Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?’
While the world-building is very detailed and intricate, the plot and writing style is incredibly dull and dreary. the blandness of the characters might be problematic to some, but that part worked for me as it makes sense that everyone looses their self-identity and personality in a world that is so sterile and controlled.
The reason people are so fond of this book, is the same reason that Ayn Rand's books are famous: they aren't stories, they are political manifestos. And in that sense it is brilliant.
The ideas and themes in this novel are not subtext but just text. Bringing those ideas to the front makes for dull story-telling but exceptional point-making.
A point, I should point out, which is even more relevant today.
It provides a terrifying view of what the future could look like if we allow ourselves to become completely controlled by the media, and how humanity has the capacity to lose all original thought and uniquity.
It shows the darker side of humanity - the cold, loveless, conformist society which Orwell hypothesizes that we have the capacity to become.
Even now, unorthodoxy is frowned upon, people are encouraged to be 'normal.' The media so influential upon our own lives that we are beginning to have trouble deciphering whether what we are told is real or not.
1984 preaches the dangerous path humanity could be going down, and how we have no hope for the future if we follow this path.
Listened to this book on a recommendation of a coworker that loved it so much she had a quote from it tattooed on her side.
Well, she owes me 12 hours of my life, and I hope she knows a good laser tech to remove her ink.
Horrible book, the only interesting part of it is that the term Big Brother
is originated here (I assume).
The worst part is that this book seems to be some sort of "Emperor's New Clothes" for the elitist. If you didn't like the book it must be because it was too deep for you or only intelligent people grasp the concept.
Hogwash , I say!! The guys naked!! And boring.
This novel is a brilliant light shining in the darkest tunnel. The novel is thought provoking and teaches you that there are those who abuse their power to the extent of mind control and brainwashing the masses. It teaches you how valuable independent thought truly is. Be thankful there aren't any real thought police attempting to control each and every direction your mind wanders.
It's not meant to tell a story after all, it's supposed to make us start really realizing the stories that happen all around us. How can we be sure we're not living in 1984, and how can we be sure not seeing the brilliance in it is not an act of orthodoxy? I'm not saying it is, because I really can't judge anyone when I don't know them. All I'm saying is that you might want to please start making an effort to see how 1984 ties with your own life, because that's the genius aspect of it. We can be blind to everything around us like the characters in the book itself, and not recognize the link exists, and that makes the book in fact kinda futile.
oh i know somewhere like this. but i can't tell you.
I think it's all about relevancy. Orwell was a supporter of Democratic Socialism as seen in countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Canada, Zealand, etc. He was a relentless enemy of the Totalitarianism of Communist regimes and the Dictatorships that spring from fascism.
l would suggest reading the book while looking for similarities seen in today's governmental systems. Russia and China, remain as the prime examples of Communist Totalitarianism, while the United States is slowly moving towards the dictatorships found in fascist oligarchies. In Russia, Pravda is MinTru (Ministry of Truth), while in the US the Major Media companies such as Fox News and MSNBC fulfill that role is the United States. The infamous KGB (currently being re-implemented under another name) and the NSA are reasonably accurate examples of of MinLuv (Ministry of Love). How about we call Putin's Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and Wall Street's plethora of lobbying groups MinPlenty (Ministry of Plenty). And while some would insist there is no comparison between "The American Military Industrial Complex" and the Russian Defense Ministry, I would argue that the Pentagon is just another front for MinPax (Ministry of Peace).
At the very least, measuring the actions of today's societies as compared to those of Orwell's 1984, can be quite entertaining. In my opinion this book is a well deserved 5 star cautionary tale that should heighten our vigilance. But I have to deduct one star for the stark, grayness that he uses (perhaps out of necessity) to deliver it.
The book was written in 1948, so WWII hasn't ended yet, to give a bit of a background behind the extant circumstances, and afterwards the Cold War with Russia began therefore making the book immensely more popular because it really did pretty much predict a lot of the things that the sides were doing (propaganda, spying, the like).
Other than that the ending of the book is perfect because of Orwell's intended message about authoritarian governments and what could be the reality if people in general, as a whole, do not resist when it is needed.
Even their religion's founding father is depicted as being more beautiful than he actually was. If a member learns something new about the religion he/she has never heard of, another member will say, "Oh, I've always known about that. You didn't know about that?" This keeps members unsure about their own knowledge and teaches them not to trust themselves, but to only trust Big Brother.
I left mormonism 15 years ago and reading 1984 after leaving gives me the heebie-jeebies (but I acknowledge that it is an important work of literature!). I've heard that that the 1984-ish culture of mormonism is similar to other high-demand groups like Jehova's Witnesses and Scientology. If so, that's a shame. Hopefully, members of those sorts of groups will read 1984, wake themselves up, and escape.
I never said I did not like the concept of the book, I just did not like the execution of the story. Mr. Orwell admits here that he himself did not like the execution of the book because he had TB when he wrote it.
People can identify themselves with the suffering.
For some people, reading that book is like a therapy, where they can rethink about all their suffering.
For other people, it is just complaining and unhappy and they would rather keep their soul clean instead of having to read all this pain.
It points out a lot of things that goverment does to his people.