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Thread: Why did Orwell write 1984?

  1. #1

    Why did Orwell write 1984?

    I just about finished the book and I was woundering what was the inspiration of Orwell wrighting the book and how has it influenced the world? I thought the reason why he wrote it was intended to mimic a point in his life but I cannot back this up with any proff.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Banned Turk's Avatar
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    George Orwell was ex-communist and his book is a satire of Stalinism. He wrote that book to criticize Stalinism and Totaliterianism.

  3. #3

    I don't think it was just that...

    He wasn't just criticizing Totalitarianism-- he makes no distinction between the governments of the right or left-- in fact I think a main point is that every governemnt is now the same. There is no difference. What made him write it? From my reading of his essays-- I would say simply life experience made him feel a need to speak up.

  4. #4
    Orwell joined a socialist group while fighting in the Spanish Civil War but he himself was not a Socialist. His hatred for Stalinism stemmed from his experiances during that war.

    After serving in India for the British, fighting in Spain with the revolutionists, and reporting on WWII for the BBC, it seem Mr. Orwell was just tired of all goverment and 1984 was his commentary. You might notice as you read that Mr. Orwell makes comments on all forms of goverment. It could ever be argued that he was making a comment on revolution and what the true outcome of such action is in the modern world.

    Wikipedia has a good short bio of Mr. Orwell that might give a little insight.

  5. #5
    Rowankat is correct. 1984 is not a satire of any specific ideology, rather a satire of all major governments.

    It is important to note that Orwell usually wrote about what he saw. He sees the British Imperial system in India and writes about it; he sees the Spanish war and writes about it; he sees the 2nd world war and writes about it. Orwell wrote 1984 as a response to the emerging world order post WWII.

    The incorrect assumption is that he is looking only at the rise of Stalin in the USSR. If that were true then Orwell, would have not had the three superpowers in the novel be identical in structure. What he is truly commenting on, is his own government's systems, as well as the rise of Stalinism. The fact that different governements by different names all have the same goal: to retain power in the hands of the few.

    The setting of 1984 is in the future, but the ideas are really inspired by the present (Wen he wrote it). This is most obvious in the title 1984. This title implies the future, but Orwell chose the title because the book was completed in 1948 and he just switched the last two numbers.

  6. #6
    Boll Weevil cuppajoe_9's Avatar
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    According to him, he wanted to change people's minds about what kind of governments they would like to have. I've heard it said that he wrote it about how the media controls people's minds, but I tend to discredit that because 1. it's stupid, 2. it wasn't particularly true in 1948 and 3. the person I heard it from was drunk.
    Quote Originally Posted by rsdavidson65
    Orwell joined a socialist group while fighting in the Spanish Civil War but he himself was not a Socialist.
    He was a democratic socialist, according to just about every source I've ever read.
    Quote Originally Posted by lerinard
    This title implies the future, but Orwell chose the title because the book was completed in 1948 and he just switched the last two numbers.
    He wanted to call it Nineteen Fourty-Eight but his publisher insisted he change it.
    What is the use of a violent kind of delightfulness if there is no pleasure in not getting tired of it.
    - Gertrude Stein

    A washerwoman with her basket; a rook; a red-hot poker; th purples and grey-greens of flowers: some common feeling which held the whole together.
    - Virginia Woolf

  7. #7
    Banned Turk's Avatar
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    I don't think it was just that...
    I don't think too. I just wrote 1 sentence.

    But i think it's the main reason why did he wrote that book, as far as i read his books his style is picking a special subject and criticize it, for example in Burmese Days he shows us dirty face of Imperialism, in Keep The Aspidisitra Flying he criticized Capitalist society etc.

    Yeah, actually when we look at 1984 today, we see Orwell almost wrote a book to criticize today's Capitalist Democracies, media, and government. But i don't think he wanted to mean that when he wrote that book. Already, some major themes of 1984 was very similar to Stalin's politics. So today's world is Stalinist? No. But Totaliterianism is same in everywhere, every time.

  8. #8
    This is my first time and i think he wrote the book to show where we might end up in the future, and how much the government controls us. We should be afraid of how much the government watches us by seeing what we do. We should already be fearful because the government already almost knows our every move but it could get worse if the citizens ignored the fact.

  9. #9
    Orwell was certainly influenced by the "great" European dictators of his time. I think one of the key factors in beginning to understand his work is to accept the premise that Orwell does not simply criticize the dictator or the totalitarian state. He would argue that that is too easy, and ultimately does no good.

    What Orwell really wanted to do with this book was to force the reader to look at how the people of a particular country were, in fact, as responsible for loss of human rights as the dictator.

    In other words, Orwell argues that our complicity allows the governement to ultimately control us.

    This is a "simple" book which is meant to warn us. Any one reading it needs to look for specific areas where Orwell's warnings have actually come true. There are many - many.

  10. #10
    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    "Any one reading it needs to look for specific areas where Orwell's warnings have actually come true. There are many - many."

    Almost as if modern governments take the book as an instructional manual, rather than a dire warning.

    .
    Voices mysterious far and near,
    Sound of the wind and sound of the sea,
    Are calling and whispering in my ear,
    Whifflingpin! Why stayest thou here?

  11. #11
    you know him That Guy's Avatar
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    In my opinion Orwell wrote 1984 as not only a criticism of the totalitarian governments of his time, but as a warning to all of human kind. The warning that we, as a human race, may very well lose our most human qualities and become mindless drones. Orwell had actually first chose The Last Man In Europe as a title for 1984 to show how Winston was the last real human left. The real frightening moment where Orwell drives this point home is in the Ministry of Love when Winston sees his naked body as a frail dilapidated old man. This is a sort of personification of Orwell's vision of the future of humanity. O'Brian even says to Winston as he looks at himself, "Do you see that thing facing you? That is the last man. If you are human, that is humanity." Of course Winston too is broken down and thus, all of humanity with him.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
    warning that we, as a human race, may very well lose our most human qualities and become mindless drones
    Agreed. As a student of early science fiction I think this is the inspiration for most dystopian novels. Bradbury, Orwell, Zamiatin, and Huxley had visions of possible futures in where freedom of conscience is but a memory.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Whifflingpin View Post
    "Any one reading it needs to look for specific areas where Orwell's warnings have actually come true. There are many - many."

    Almost as if modern governments take the book as an instructional manual, rather than a dire warning.

    .
    "Before you're sworn in as president, here's your honorary copy of 1984!" ::insert slaps on the back::

    But seriously, yes, I see so much of reality in this book. The junior anti-sex league is what I notice the most considering how ridiculously freaked out people are about sexuality. I mean, when we have television shows about catching "evil freaks" attracted to fifteen-year-old girls (despite the fact that half of us probably have great-grandmothers who married at that age) or marches against gay people getting tax breaks under the heading of marriage, it's impossible for me not to think of the Junior Anti-Sex League. Everyone who reads 1984 and thinks, "Whew, glad that's not the world I live in!" is ridiculous and blind.
    More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.
    -Algernon, The Importance of Being Ernest

    This is the true joy in life; being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, and being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod.
    -George Bernard Shaw

  14. #14
    The most "triggering" dialog for me...well two instances, actually, was when Winston was told of the programmed "keeping society on the brink of despair" ..coupled with "Rebels Attack Brazil"(IIRC) in the nrwspaper. With Julia saying "I can't believe that they attacked Brazil.

    We have it all ..dumbing down of the population ...the slavery to public debt and public taxes ..the emasculation of the male members ..the disarming ..all that is missing is the lack of apparent resources ..which is about to come too.

    Whomever said that this was a primer in population management had to be correct. It must have been required reading in most of the prep schools of our current aristocracy.

  15. #15
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