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Wilma asked:

Why do people rate this book so high? Surely I am missing something.

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Bigsoph Maybe you are expecting a happy ending, where love triumphs over all and human spirit is set free?
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
Freydis I would suggest looking into some political theories from the era in which Orwell is writing, especially Socialism, Communism and Marxism (Orwell himself used to be a Marxist). Look into the Cold War and Communist states, the Stasi of East Germany and KGB of Soviet Russia. The book is almost prophetic. For example:

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.
Niels Bugge I felt it was boring, simplistic and heavy-handed, so I guess people are just giving it high ratings because they are nostalgic about its historical impact.
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.
Andrei Olarescu simply because “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” ― George Orwell, 1984
Rogerio The book was written in 1949, way before the events described became reality. If you are reading it with hindsight alone, yeah, than you missing the point big time. The author was brilliant and the clarity and capacity of projecting himself to the future of comunism is just amazing.
Ivan This book is important because it portrays totalitarianism, and the lack of democracy, liberty, justice, and our freedom of speech in a way we mere mortals couldn't even imagine!

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. ^_^
Ai Boa Because it is a fantastic book.
Lai It describes the reality of many authoritarian state in this world.

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.
The Usual If you think this book is a brilliant literary masterpiece then you haven't read it (and there are various surveys about that suggest that lots of people who, sincerely or otherwise, claim to have read it, actually haven't).
Important? Yes.
Influential? Certainly.
Just not very good.
Bigwickerventriloquist For me: it is concise, deals with media theory and politics (i.e. "double-speak" and the control of language), great narrative, character development, is itself an example of Orwell's concerns with literary theory, but most of all... it ends the way an insurrectionist narrative would end in Oceania ("There are no martyrs in Oceania...") - i.e. it has a "happy" ending. Though it is "dense", it is eminently readable without ever digging deeply into the text. I read it once every couple years and keep gleaning more.
M it depends what you are reading it as
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...
Cristian Miron This book has endless ramifications to our daily life. Even more, it's a scarry idea shown in the book, that "Power is not a means, it is an end".


‘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?’
Karen I had to read this in high school. I felt it was inappropriate for my age group at that time. Mind you, that was back in the 60's. I hated it then, and would not recommend it even now. Though perhaps if I tried to read it again at this age, I'd get more out of it. Na...., I wouldn't bother.
Suman Roy Because you were probably expecting a story with deep characterizations of both the world and the people all wrapped in a sharp plot.

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.
Jess This book is so good because not only does it have such strong historical connections, but it incredibly relevant to today's society.
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.
Jeremy nope.
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.
Zoomorph Because they haven't read enough books, or enough better books, to put it in it's proper perspective.
Avidreader86 P. 258: "You suffer from a defective memory. You are unable to remember real events and you persuade yourself that you remember other events which never happened."
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.
Caitlin "Sparkie" Wilma, its ok your are not alone. I that the book is soo deep that sometimes it can be hard for the readers to connect. I recommend reading the book and if you don't see all of the hidden metaphors and symbols re-read and look for them which might help you spot them and then understand the "message" of the book.
Mark Lavin If nothing else, this book describes what could happen. And as you read it, you recognize that we may be headed down this path.
Elijah You would have to think deeper than, why does people rate this book so high. It is one of the great classics of the world. Surely there is more meaning into the book then you think.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Luiza Maybe you're missing the factt that this book isn't supposed to be an escape from real life, bursting in Hollywood productions, but rather, a deeper view into the life we live now. The purpose of it is to make the readers open up their minds and start seeing the current society for what it really is. The fact that we might be missing something is the main thing Orwell wanted us to start noticing.
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.
Vibhore Gupta It is not the the plot or the characters or the perception of the future as such. What I loved about the book is the net of thoughts that the author continues to weave throughout the book. Fairly easy read but when you apply it on what has happened throughout the history and what is currently happening in the world, you cannot help but appreciate the author for the genius that he is. Simple things like "It is easy to love a person than a party", "doublethink", etc. when thought about individually makes this book a masterpiece.
William Devinney You know what? I was thinking the same thing. It's kinda a bust at the end
Tia Because it gives us a sense of reality and the thought that this book could happening. Heck it's already happening! Big Brother! Being traced by the government. That's all real, it's just not public knowledge. This book was written in 1949 and knowing that George Orwell had the thought process and the idea to write a book of this depth has got be revealing in the truth that this idea in 1984 is a hidden agenda that is to be because of Big Brother, and the Elitists... There is so much truth hidden behind this book... all you have to do is dig
Ronan Hannan It manages to both a very deep and also very entertaining book - very difficult to do both. The deep books are often dry and the entertaining books are often empty.
Maansi Suri It shows the future in an accurate way
Birdie Duplessis I don't know. I thought this would've been a better short story. There was a lot of nothing happening for me. Constant repetition of ideas, ruminating in fact. The ending was very predictable, I'd even say inevitable. Again as a short story, it would've been far better.
Sarah it's an ~important~ book with a shitty mc and poor pacing
ปัณณวิชญ์ นรากุลพิพัฒน์ you'll may try to live in a country that your government try to say "you must happy, you must love them, the neibours are evil, and they promise you with any sweets speech and propaganda.

oh i know somewhere like this. but i can't tell you.
Amanyta Ahmed Exactly!!!!
Now I'm on page 240/351 and I swear that 1 star is even too much!!!

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.

Christopher I haven't gone through the other answers (yeah, I know, sorry....) so I may be repeating something, but not only is this book well-written, it has great insights into the class system (which has been around since humans started scribbling on things), people in general (their motivations, fears, wishes), and government systems of course, which is essentially what the book is about.

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.
Zhuzilin I guess because people could regard it as history rather than fiction.
Michelle I read this book for school 25+ years ago and again last year. I remembered the plot of the book, but wanted to re-read to gain more perspective. I just about fell out of my chair multiple times when I read about rewriting history, thought control, and not knowing who to trust for fear of being turned in. This is going on today in the LDS church (the mormons).

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.
Rick Apr 8, 2013 - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange formally unveiled on Monday the ... "He who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past,” Assange chimed in using his webcam in London
Тодор Пашов Because it is a programme book for bilding the NWO. And the project is in progress. May be you will find the awnswer in the "Comittee of 300" by John Coleman
Witold YOu must be missing something! Have you read it? You couldn't have read it and not find it a great book!
Wilma If I may, I would like to add a link I stumbled across. I am sure many of you have already seen this, but for those who have not.....
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.
Virtuella Don't know. It is an uncompromising thought experiment, I suppose. But I found it pretty lame.
Vr Gimena The rate is a PERSONAL POV... for my is a Masterpiece.
Melanie I haven't read it but George Orwell is a really powerful, deep author and most of his books are really amazing.
Ergun Ahunbay I love its' philosophical nature, smartness, imaginative power, and how well it was written. The prose is nice fluid, but at the same time never empty, and never repetitive. There is always one interesting sentence after another, and always something not typical or expected. It is full of bumps and jolts but still flows beautifully and everything holds together. You feel Orwell had everything fully worked out before he started the first sentence. Although it gives you surprises, twists, and contradictions, the whole thing is very well consistent in a strange way. It keeps challenging you and makes you doubt stuff. It creates a wonderfully interesting world. It is such a horrific world, but so beautifully constructed, you almost want to be there. To me the theme of this book is more than just about oppression, tyranny, political ideologies, etc. It is more about philosophy, and big questions such as the limits of logic, epistemology, reason, consciousness, reality, etc.
Bluebell It's a book that you don't forget because it is so chilling and seems so unreal yet the scary part is that elements of it are actually very reflective of the world today. It draws scary parallels with reality and doesn't seem to age, that's why I think it is rated so highly.
Alexandra Did you even understand the book?
AN Amrstrong I personally did not like it, so I would've given it a low rating, but I respected it, so I gave a higher one.
Idil Not to mention the exceptional language used with rich metaphors and motifs, one of the reasons this book is so highly acclaimed is because it is very ahead of its time. Orwell wrote this as a warning in 1949 and the title was chosen 1984 because he wanted the reader to see that the future in this novel was not far away and could happen. The truth is, we are living in the dystopic future we see in this book. Orwell's predictions of what is to come are happening right now: the constant surveillance, the world order run by a few superpowers in the world, exploitation of the proletariat, control over citizens and much more. When we fail to see how our lives are manipulated, it is truly astonishing to see Orwell predicting it decades ago.
Chaitanya Baranwal
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Sydney Williams
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Courtney Because it's an amazing look into a Big Brother future with Orwellian controls over personal freedoms, where history is written and constantly changed by the present in order to keep and maintain control. The 'dull' characters show how in this strictly controlled society individuality was essentially forbidden, a cheerful tone would be very out of place in the book. The linguistic implications- doublespeak, newspeak etc alone are quite chilling. As language is manipulated so are our abilities to formulate coherent and challenging thoughts and ideas. It gives you a pale hope- with the hope lying with the proles, but that's it, a pale and surely unattainable hope. This 'hope' leaves you feeling bereft and deflated. Making it one of the greatest if not thee greatest dystopian novel ever.
Keagan Thomas People rate this book so high simply because of the accuracy of his predictions to current and past events. He wrote the book as warning for the people of the world after the end of WWII, particularly in response to Stalin and what was going on in the USSR at the time. Frightened by what he saw, he created a dystopian world in his novel where he hoped to frustrate and/or frighten the reader enough, they would prevent such a world from coming to reality. He predicted if the world didn't change what was going on soon, the world would be as described in the novel as early as 1984. Now we see his hellish world coming closer to being true especially after the Snowden NSA whistleblowing articles and of course the whole "fake news" mentality that's been going on lately. All of these events can be tied directly to the novel.
Nelson I agree, although I did find it really good I prefer 'Brave New World' and I think the endings of both books are just grand, I hate happy endings, there's no such thing in life why I expect it in literature
Mirelavx Maybe your country has never been through a communist/totalitarian regime :/ I personally haven't been born yet when my own was going through such a period, but everything I've heard about this period in our history I can see in this book, therefore I can feel a greater connection to this book. I think that those who do not like this book just cannot relate to it and therefore do not understand it well enough to appreciate it :/
William Romsek To me this book is in the vein of the struggle of the human spirit. It's not unlike the novels of Ken Kesey (Sometimes a Great Notion; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). Randall McMurphy vs. the mental institution ... Winston Smith vs. Big Brother.
Sunil Gollapalli If we substitute 1984 with 2184, even then the concepts are very true to every word. The world is working with same order even now.
Francesco 1984 is nice book. I read when I was travelling in Ireland and it was exciting discovery. I think so that Orwell wrote brilliant book full of meanings and points of view. The environment is unrealistic and creative but he describes everything for understanding the world that he hates it. The fear dominates the story but he introduces a small chance for living against the tyranny.
Joyous Song It's one of those books that's actively unpleasant to read at every point therein, but that fact only improves its purpose. Ingsoc's Britain is hideous by design, and even thinking of it is awful, but it's a sublime kind of awful. It's a really well-crafted awfulness that calls up feelings of resistance against allowing Ingsoc or anything like it to pass.
Lorraine It changed my perspective. The ride starts in the opening sentence. I had to miss school to finish it. I read it before I knew what to expect. Maybe that helped..
Marek Rokam Probably because they are not aware how world function (politics, media etc.) today and this book is for them a revelation. They are not aware the same or even worse have been a part of their life.
Jimmy Jon The book takes everythink that was wrong at that time it was written in about the politics and acts about 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.
Mustafa Ali Saba Because it talks about reality in a way that nobody would talk about.
It points out a lot of things that goverment does to his people.
Sglyhne Because it's a societal reflection of historical proportions. Orwell's 1984 goes with the works of Machiavelli, More, Hobbes and so on. It's actual modern philosophy. If you're expecting a science fiction novel, in the modern sense, you may find yourself disappointed.
Soofi Gorini Probably because this was wrote on 1952 and it still have relation to the social and politic reality.
Rios I think the book was well written and I can see what people would like about it. Orwell brings up some interesting ideas about government and philosophy. The complexity in relationships between characters was well done particularly between Winston and Julia, but in my personal opinion I didn't like in so much (I rated it 2 stars) it was so dark and heavy... I guess I just like books with a happy ending.
Amelia L Wilma, what did you not like about it? What did you like?
Captherine ✪ I personally did not like it, so I would've given it a low rating, but I respected it, so I gave it a higher one.
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