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1984

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(pub. 1949)

Webmaster's Note, 5/10/2007 - We have been informed by the rights holder that this work is still copyrighted in our territory. So we have removed it. You may still read our original summary though to the left.

Also commonly titled as Nineteen Eighty-Four

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1984 is possibly the definitive dystopian novel, set in a world beyond our imagining. A world where totalitarianism really is total, all power split into three roughly equal groups--Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania. 1984 is set in Oceania, which includes the United Kingdom, where the story is set, known as Airstrip One.

Winston Smith is a middle-aged, unhealthy character, based loosely on Orwell's own frail body, an underling of the ruling oligarchy, The Party. The Party has taken early 20th century totalitarianism to new depths, with each person subjected to 24 hour surveillance, where people's very thoughts are controlled to ensure purity of the oligarchical system in place. Figurehead of the system is the omnipresent and omnipotent Big Brother.

But Winston believes there is another way.

1984 joins Winston as he sets about another day, where his job is to change history by changing old newspaper records to match with the new truth as decided by the Party.

"He who controls the past, controls the future" is a Party slogan to live by and it gives Winston his job, but Winston cannot see it like that. Barely old enough to recall a time when things were different, he sets out to expose the Party for the cynically fraudulent organisation that it is. He is joined by Julia, a beautiful young woman much in contrast with Winston physically, but equally sickened by the excesses of her rulers.

You will meet many recognisable characters, themes, and words which have become part of our everyday life as you read 1984. Where did Big Brother first appear? Certainly not on Australian TV! Written in Orwell's inimitable journalistic style, 1984 is a tribute to a man who saw the true dangers of historian Lord Acton's (1834-1902) statement: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Submitted by The Atheist.

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As Winston said, even if you are a minority of one it does not make you wrong.--Submitted by Anonymous.

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Winston Smith lives in a world very unlike the world of his forefathers. There have been atomic wars just thirty years in the past and some of his memories seem clouded as Winston is filled with doubt, almost as if the events did not happen at all. Winston feels he must put these thoughts down on paper or they will be forgotten forever. However,such a task is forbidden by the state controlled government. Winston decides to write his journal anyway. What transpires next in the novel is at the heart of what makes men able to exist with some degree of hope for the future. Winston's world is a very hopeless, unfriendly place.--Submitted by Tom Hickman.



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Orwell provides compelling reasons for the people of the 21st century to, much as we did in the 60's, question authority. Winston holds these thoughts dear but because of how society has been allowed to evolve he must be careful with even his own thoughts. You'll go with him as he meets Julia and as, against all odds, develops a relationship. Surprises abound in this unique and, at the time it was written, futuristic look at a world that has allowed itself to be taken over by an entity that we know even today as Big Brother. You'll find yourself asking how this man who wrote the novel in 1948 could possibly have such foresight into what would evolve into the world as we know it today. Similarities between life as we know it and life as Orwell foresaw abound. The book will cause you to look around yourself and question the policies of our government and the policies of global governments and how they impact our daily life. Definitely a compelling read !--Submitted by Anonymous.

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Recent Forum Posts on 1984

Children

I feel Mrs. Parsons children are an important part of the novel. They demonstrate how easily influenced children can be, and I believe its relevant even in todays society, children don't know to think for themselves or question what they're being told, they believe everything thats said to them. In the novel it stated that Winston was scared of the children when they started jumping around him shouting "traitor" I feel its essential to teach children to question everything and to think for themselves, because already in history we have seen situations such as the Hitler youth where children have been brainwashed and been made to think that what they were participating in genuinely was for the better, just as Mrs. Parsons children looked up to the spies and thought that their jobs were to benefit the people, hence why they are following in their footsteps at such a young age.

Was O'Brien ever apart of The Brotherhood?

Was O'Brien ever apart of The Brotherhood or against the Party, because I can remember him mentioning to Winston the dream where they would meet in a place with no darkness.

1984 music album

Hello guys, I made an 1984 music album and thought you might be interested. It requires interpretation, is not something to be simply listened to. I recommend using headphones, since there are some messages that are transmitted through the use of left and right. Here is the setlist: 1 - Mindset (Ode to Oceania; Two minutes hate; Winston) 2 - Telescreen 3 - The past 4 - Making history 5 - Doublethinking 6 - Days (Routine x Meeting Julia) 7 - Secret world 8 - Inspiration (Future worth dying for; So hearts can beat) 9 - Action (Against the system; A game you can't win) 10 - Love (Love is forever; The chambers; Lovers, strangers) 11 - Winner Let me know your impressions, Sincerely, Random internet guy Linking a song of the middle of the album, you can easily find the rest in the channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Q7bXlQYFU

my opinion

the book was okay. it was upper level thinking and I think it might have been a little much for a sophomore class. I also think that orwell predicted quite a bit correctly and I feel like if I was a bit older I would be able to understand it and appreciate a little bit more. the idea with the telescreens I think is pretty accurate, it might not have exactly happened in 1984 but times are changing and the amount of cameras and the lack of privacy is increasing. but I really didn't understand too much the idea with the hate week and that type of thing but overall the book seemed well written and if I was older I feel like it would be better understood.

1984 Final Thoughts

After reading 1984 i have a few thoughts that i would like to address. -This book is a good book, not because of a riveting story (which is really doesn't have) or because of its in depth characters (also non-existent); its a good book because it serves as a warning for the future and even the present. Orwell opens our eyes to the problems with technology; mainly our societies lack of privacy. -Next up; Is this book appropriate for 10th graders? (that is the grade when I read it). I believe that in the present age high school is the time that it is most appropriate to read this book. High school is the best time to read this book because kids today are obsessed with social media and sharing; which, as Orwell warns, is causing our private personal lives to become less private and less personal. -Last point of interest; The character in the novel Julia is pointless. Julia's role in the novel is mainly just for Winston to betray at the end, but Julia could have been replaced with O'Brian, if he didn't betray Winston. O'Brian's role to betray Winston would have been taken up by the shop owner in the prole district, who betrayed Winston anyways. All around the book was enjoyable and a good read for High school kids.

Looking Back

"1984" by George Orwell is overall an excellent novel. The constant use of foreshadowing is easily one of the greatest literary devices in the novel, even being used in one of the first paragraphs when Winston examines the ominous Ministry of Love. Not trying to beat a dead horse here :beatdeadhorse5:, but how "1984" is becoming increasingly relevant in today's world is stunning; hopefully there won't be Telescreens being installed any time soon. Although "1984" is a little lackluster at some points, it really is a good book. It's definitely a novel that should be read at the high school level.

The significance of 1984 in the world today

1984 was a thrilling, attention-grabbing, and eye-opening piece of dystopian literature. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a book that has you continuing to turn the page, and enjoys veering off the “normal path” to learn more and also change the whole storyline. 1984 is an eye-opening book because our society is getting closer and closer to the society that exists in 1984. This book is a great book for high schoolers to read because they are the future of our world and future is becoming more and more like 1984. What George Orwell has created in 1984 is truly brilliant yet disturbing to see our world forming into the world that Winston lives in. 1984 has changed my very own perspective on the world around me. The book was fantastic and a great read.

1984 reflection

I felt that 1984 should definitely be read in high school. Although at some points challenging, this book opened my eyes into a whole world i didn't understand before. This book is a warning on future years, we have seen some of Orwell's predictions come true, so why wouldn't the rest? Also, the future does lay in the hands of adolescents. SO, if we are educated and warned on what happened in Winston's life, we are more likely to see the signs that would lead up to a civilization like that. This book definitely took your mind to some of it's darker places, but sometimes that's what you need when you're in a society that constantly sugarcoats things.

The Relevance of 1984

1984 was a gripping, exciting, and disturbing dystopia. Many of the frightening warnings in 1984 are becoming increasingly relevant as time rolls on, with constant surveillance and the new purpose of war being two of them. It is because of this that everybody should read 1984, and I think it is even more important that high school aged students read it. The future of our country lies with the youth, so it is crucial for them to recognize the dangers of totalitarianism. 1984 is a powerful book that carries a powerful message, and its message should not be ignored. With the increasing relevance of 1984, it is becoming more important than ever that we read this book. It opens up our eyes to our country's possible future, and I think most people would agree that we don't want to end up like Oceania. George Orwell was brilliant in the way that he wrote this book, and has been successful in changing many people's- as well as my own- views on modern day issues such as surveillance and privacy. Overall, I think 1984 was a fantastically powerful and disturbing book.

1984

Although the beginning of the novel was slow and confusing to me, I feel as though 1984 was a worthwhile read by the end. I enjoyed reading about the idea of doublethink and Room 101 because they interested me most throughout the book. I also believe that this is not a book you can skip through and expect to pass an exam based on it. Some of its concepts are difficult to understand without actually reading it. The climax is particularly engaging, once you get to it. 1984 dragged on for me, but I think it was a good choice of reading.

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