Silvana's Reviews > 1984

1984 by George Orwell
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Dec 07, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, dark-and-depressing, mine-mine-mine, scary-stuff
Recommended for: everyone
Read in June, 2007 , read count: 2

WAR IS PEACE.

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Those words keep sounding in my head since I read this book. Gosh, probably the most haunting not to mention frightening book I've ever read. 1984 should also be included in the horror genre.

1984 describes a Utopia. Not Thomas More's version of Utopia, but this is one is the antithesis, i.e. Dystopia. Imagine living in a country, whose leaders apply a totalitarian system in regulating their citizen, in the most extreme ways, which make Hitler, Mao, Stalin and that old bloke in V for Vendetta look like sissies.

Working, eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, thinking, procreating...in short living, all are controlled by the state. Any hint of obedience or dislike can be detected by various state apparatus such as the Thought Police, telescreen, or even your children, who will not hesitate to betray you to the authorities. Even language is modified in such ways that you cannot express yourself, since individualism is a crime.

The past is controlled, rewritten into something that will strengthen the incumbent ruler. Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. There is no real truth. The "truth" is what the state says it is. Black is white, 2+2=5, if the state says so.

The world in 1984 is divided into three states, originated from the ashes from World War II: Oceania (British Isles, the Americas, Pacific, Australia), Eurasia (Europe & Russia), and Eastasia (the rest of it). Continuous warfare between those three (who hold similar ideologies) is required to keep the society's order and peace. Si vis pacem para bellum. That's describes the first slogan.

The second slogan, freedom is slavery, means the only way to be free is by letting you lose yourself and to be integrated within the Party. That way, you'll be indestructible and immortal.

Ignorance is strength, means the division on high, middle, low classes in society will never be changed. The middle wants to be the high and they'll act "on behalf of the low" to dethrone the high. Afterwards, a new middle class arises, all will change except the low. The high and middle make and uphold the law, the low (proletarian) is just too stupid to revolt. The state maintains its structure by torture, intimidation, violence, and brainwashing.

Blimey, Orwell's Animal Farm is already depressing, but 1984 gives "depression" a new meaning, at least for me.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 61) (61 new)


Silvana Thank you for your comment.

I always think with the development of ICT nowadays, the dystopian world in 1984 is not impossible, if not highly probable.

The government always lies and do horrible things in the name of "democracy and transparency", but the one thing that kinda made me shiver when reading your above statement is that (and i quote) "the proletarian underclass is completely debased with no knowledge of its own history or vision of its own future". OMG, that's exactly what happens in my country. We absorb anything like a sponge without thinking about the consequences. Maybe because the economy is not too great, we're a developing country, people got to think about how find a cup of rice first rather than thinking about history or vision. Do you think so? Developing countries will have more difficulties compared with developed countries/welfare states to defend their own individuality as a nation?

Who's Theodore Dalrymple? I could google him, but I guess it'll be better your version first.


message 2: by Laikhuram (last edited Sep 07, 2009 02:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laikhuram I think you're spot on when you said 1984 is an antithesis of Utopia. You're also right when you say Hitler, Mao, Stalin and others set up those totalitarian regimes, that they were tyrannical despotists. There is no insult or crime more worse than an attempt to control somebody's conscience, and mind. I was looking for something further than that in that analysis of yours actually. As I was reading your review. I was hoping that you'd come to the point . But you never did.

The point being, WE, including you, today, are living in an age when our conscience are insulted every moment of our being. And the idea that those regimes of the past- Stalin and Mao- were Room 101 and that it doesn't exist in today's society couldn't be more wrong. In fact today, it is much worse than the tyrannies and fallacies of the then Stalinist or Maoist regimes. If we really exam our lives deeply today, right from the moment we wake up till the very next day we wake up again, i.e., 24 hours a day, we are being manipulated systematically. Everything we think is good for us and the world are almost running in contrast to Nature. The amount of manipulation and diversion, what the Church did in its history amounts to just a jingle of what's happening now. This time, it's through less use of force and more of psychology. Look at how the Iraq War or the Vietnam War was sold to the American public to get their support. Look at the latest thing you bought and how advertisements about it made you believe you actually needed it. Look at how you feel you should look like after seeing those "models" on various ads on TVs, newspapers and magazines. Look at all the news and entertainment that are broadcasted everywhere. It's complete mayhem. The truth has been blocked. They cover up everything thats true. Remember Enron before its collapse. How people used to believe how majestic a company Enron was? And then the truth came it. But again, Enron was was just an instance, a small error in the chain of rackets. A small leak in a huge huge vessel.

Now, the bigger question, WHO's controlling the media and what for? Who's using it as a tool to bend our thoughts and action (and emotions). Who's using it, I have a slight idea, but what for, I am still not very sure. Who then? It's the bloody corporations, my friend. Yes, they are the culprits. We just need to have a basic common sense inorder to realise this. The corporations (IBM, GE, Monsanto, DuPont, Standard Oil, Shell, American Express, Citibank, Ford, General Motors, AIG, Exxon Mobile, Philip Morris, Chevron, etc., etc.) by using their tools- "democratic" governments" and media- are having a ball. It's not a coincidence that today people around the world are reading less and less unless its some kind of ghost story or a romance book or a murder mystery. Tell me, how many of your friends actually discuss Orwell or Thoreau or Dostoevsky or Paine or Chomsky or Tolstoy, and those many others, today? Youths are made to believe that if they can make it to a career in a firm in a Wall Street they are the brightest of intellectuals, when in fact, they are just robots and machines these corporations use. In the long run they are syndicates. Others are not left behind too. They are made to believe that they can head for the Wall Street or something similar if they follow and compete with these group of robot thugs and robbers.

We live in a shell today and we don't even know it. No, we don't even try to know it. I guess those who lived under Stalin were much luckier than WE. At least they had the caption of knowing who they were up against.

NOTE:

Do you know that:
a) The three richest people have assets that exceed the combined GDP of 48 least developed countries.
b) The 15 richest have assets that exceed the GDP of Sub Saharan Africa
c) The assets of 84 richest exceed the GDP of China.



Daniel Laikhuram wrote: "I think you're spot on when you said 1984 is an antithesis of Utopia. You're also right when you say Hitler, Mao, Stalin and others set up those totalitarian regimes, that they were tyrannical desp..."
He didn't "come to the point" because he wasn't getting into political polemics in a modern context in his review of a classic novel.

He let you do that, though.

Sigh.


Silvana I just have to smile. Thanks Gott for clarifying. I didn't mind critics, but at the same time I treat my reviews as my way of self-expression. If I don't feel like making a serious, fact-laden, research-based one, then I'd just write a casual one.
PS: I'm a woman :-D


Vegas I <3 ur rvw. Awsm wrttn.

Lol I wish I could write like they did in the book... Translation is

I really liked your review. It was awesomely written.


Silvana Vegas wrote: "I <3 ur rvw. Awsm wrttn.

Lol I wish I could write like they did in the book... Translation is

I really liked your review. It was awesomely written."

thank you, glad you like it. don't hesitate to read other Orwell's works! He's a literature god.


Anonymousity Thank you for giving credit to this novel :) it's my favorites by far, but it seems that people just read it in high school and don't THINK about it. A travesty, really. This book opened up my mind to so many things.

I'm always on the hunt for new dystopian novels; do you know of any good ones? I try to steer clear of dystopian romances, with the exception of a few such as Feed, but I have read many, including:

A brave new world
We
Hunger Games trilogy
Fahrenheit 451
The Giver

And others... They're on my books list. Ciao! :)


Silvana Anonymousity wrote: "Thank you for giving credit to this novel :) it's my favorites by far, but it seems that people just read it in high school and don't THINK about it. A travesty, really. This book opened up my mind..."

hi there, thanks for the comment.

dystopian novels, I haven't read many of them. I did read a brave new world (awesome) & fahrenheit 451 (good). I am planning to read The Handmaid's Tale, people say it's a great dystopian novel


If we kill the humans, we will save the forest if you liked this, check out
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76171
it's where orwell says he got the story from. but zamyatin is more poetic. you'll probably love it. its like 1984 that you can taste and smell too.


Silvana Moon wrote: "if you liked this, check out
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76171
it's where orwell says he got the story from. but zamyatin is more poetic. you'll probably love it. its like 1984 that you can ..."


Hi Moon,

Thanks for stopping by and the recommendation. I have included the book in my wish list ;)


Alejandro I agree completely. When someone recently asked me what the scariest book I had ever read was, expecting me to mention Lovecraft, Stephen King or someone similar, I surprised them mentioning this. You see... vampires, zombies, flesh-eating demons don't exist. The stuff that happens in this book is happening right now(to some degree), and the world depicted here may become a reality at any time, if we let it.


message 12: by Kate (new)

Kate I want to read this book. But I'm in grade 7 should I bother. Or am I too young?


Silvana Kate wrote: "I want to read this book. But I'm in grade 7 should I bother. Or am I too young?"

Hmm I don't think there's anything wrong if you want to read this book now :) It is one of the most recommended classics of all time.

However, I suggest you re-read it by the time you reach your 20s, because I believe it would give you another perspective.

Happy reading!


message 14: by Elen (new) - rated it 1 star

Elen George Orwell comletely ripped off his 1984 from Yevgeny Zamyatin 's We (published in 1921)
Yevgeny Zamyatin 's We novel is much better. I recommend it to everyone who liked 1984
Zamyatin E.Мы


Silvana Lala wrote: "George Orwell comletely ripped off his 1984 from Yevgeny Zamyatin 's We (published in 1921)
Yevgeny Zamyatin 's We novel is much better. I recommend it to everyone who liked 1984
[author:Zamyatin..."


Interesting, Lala, thanks for the information. Is it possible to get an online copy? I suppose the copyright has expired?


Aldeburgh Rfrddddssed


message 17: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John I read in an introduction to some edition of 1984, it may have been Penguin Classics but not sure, where the person writing the intro ( some professor or other) offered the opinion that 1984 has quite a few flaws if considered as a work of literary art. Perhaps because Orwell may have deliberately compromised layers of subtlety in order to get his point across. He was getting seriously ill, and wanted to make some kind of ultra-serious 'gloves-off' statement about the dangers of totalitarianism that would be understood by a great many people. He didn't want the fundamental message (no pun intended!) to be buried under layers of 'arty' ambiguity. Well that's MY belief. Orwell once described himself deprecatingly as a sort of 'pamphleteer', hated the way many public figures used language manipulatively and strived for conciseness and clarity in his own work.


Silvana John wrote: "I read in an introduction to some edition of 1984, it may have been Penguin Classics but not sure, where the person writing the intro ( some professor or other) offered the opinion that 1984 has qu..."

Good info, John, many thanks!

WHat other works of Orwell that have become your favorite?


message 19: by Virgil09 (new) - added it

Virgil09 I like the book but am afraid of it's realities


Silvana Virgil09 wrote: "I like the book but am afraid of it's realities"

who doesn't :D


Juveria I love your review. It's very enlightening and explanatory with out revealing too much information. I just started to read it and was a bit confused in terms of the novels geographical setting.


Silvana Thanks, glad to help :)


message 23: by Steven (new)

Steven Gabaldon Great review! Mind if i use a part of your review in my advertising essay? :D


Silvana Thanks, sure


message 25: by Baiyun (new) - added it

Baiyun a great book,i think


Aiden Good review.


Silvana Thank you :)


message 28: by Andy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Andy I think that the book has more to it than the slogans and it’s more about how Winston is trapped in that world and can’t escape and the government is controlling the world and someday the world might be the way that the book puts the government.


Silvana Yes, that's very possible indeed.


message 30: by Mina (new)

Mina Felton I loved your review. I just stated the book last night and I must admit that it has given me a very dark and eerie feeling while reading it. I wonder if this feeling will last throughout the entire novel.
Your review made me excited to keep reading! Thanks!


Silvana My pleasure! It is indeed one of the best books ever. Treasure each moment.


Terry Ables Some of the society, and not just those leading, would actually view this as a utopia. Those who cannot stand any form of chaos, and what does free will among 2+ people cause but a bit of chaos.


Silvana That's true. I see Brave New World as my kind of utopia as well.


message 34: by Sora (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sora Zee Lol nice review. I just started reading it last night and wow, lol it makes me pause and shake my head and...well like what everyone said above me, it is scary. This review helped me a lot.


Silvana Glad to be of assistance.


Mugen Thanks for the review. The book does sound like it's going to fill me up with even more pessimism. So I've decided to pass. :)


Silvana What? Nooo, you should read this. It is so amazingly written. And even if the story is bleak, this is not the type of book that makes you feel depressed at the end. Please read this, George Orwell is one of, if not the best writer ever.


Daniel O'neil I know a guy who was wearing a T-shirt with 1984 on it and in the letters was this slogan. I complimented it because of the book, he had never heard of it. -.-


Silvana Hah! Let's hope he alread read it by now. His loss, really.

Speaking of which, I'd like to have one myself....


message 40: by NickManzer (new)

NickManzer Your review is quite amazing. I haven't read 1984 yet, but your review has made it clear that it should be a top priority for me. I like the idea of this book, although living in such a world would be awful. Definitely a chilling yet interesting idea, and i will pick up this book as soon as i can


Silvana Thanks a lot. This should be in everyone's to-read list :)


message 42: by A.R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.R. LaBaere The book is indeed brutal, powerful, soul-destroying, and vicious. Along with Winston and Julia, the reader's hopes for a better future are slaughtered by the Party. Oceania is a world without hope, without answers, without joy, without a recognizable future, and without a clear past.

That our protagonists come to love one another is an absolutely remarkable feat of free will and determination to remain human. The novel's immense power, for myself, is forged by its doomed romance. Despite the horrors, carefully constructed emotional destruction, and certain death which await the pair, Winston and Julia find that they remain human enough to feel compassion and tenderness. In this way, perhaps, Nineteen Eighty-Four can be seen as literature's greatest love story. Rather than finding love in ordinary hardship, as many protagonists do, Winston and Julia overcome their own brokenness and stunted emotions to forge their bond.


Silvana That is an interesting angle. I never thought it that way, as a romance I mean.


message 44: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara Couldn't agree more


Daniel Kojo Arhinful Thank you al for your good commts


message 46: by Lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily Phoenix This book will make you question everything...a MUST READ for everyone


message 47: by Alawode (new) - added it

Alawode Samuel Wow! I'm just been motivated to fall in love with this book... I really appreciate all ur beautiful comments, it's an eye opener for me...


message 48: by Shasank (new) - added it

Shasank Mohan In the midst when he got the book from O'Brien those part were extravagant. It was unbearable to read.


message 49: by Alex (new)

Alex Deming Zbn


Naseem El Omr Are the events real? I mean is it true that the screens ,for example ,were really existed ?


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