Cask & Quill Book Club discussion

This topic is about 1984
1984 > 1984 - Part 1

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Anna (Cask & Quill) (caskandquill) | 25 comments Mod
This area is for discussion of the chapters in Part 1 of the book only!

Myriam C. | 2 comments I’ve read 1984 a long time ago and while reading the first part, I realized that although I was under the impression that I remembered it well, what I remembered was more the general atmosphere of the book than the details of the story. So I am very glad than I decided to re-read it.

I think it is the kind of book that is difficult to read and analyze simply for itself, without constantly referring, in our minds, to the real world. But I think this is probably the point, to make us think about our society by presenting us one that is exacerbing several flaws of the world, but to the point of totalitarianism. For that reason, I think that everyone will see or focus on different things about this book, depending on the time/era in which they live and on the preoccupations they have about their society. This is probably one of the biggest strengths of this book, what makes it keeping having such a feeling of relevance.

For my part, what struck me the most about the first part is this constant revision of history and fabrication of facts, to the point where it is not only impossible to know what is true, but even impossible to find out through research even if someone would want to find out. There is simply no truth anymore since all the means to access it had been destroyed. the truth, constantly changing, is simply what is being told at a revise moment and can be vastly different from what it was the day before or will be the day after.

I think it struck me more than anything else because that evokes for me (in a much more extreme version of course) a problem that I see in the world now, namely a tendency toward an extreme form of relativism. In this era of internet and social medias, we never had such an easy access to information, but also such trouble to be sure about the accuracy and trustworthiness of this information. Not to mention the fact that we can be purposely mislead with this trend of “fake news” (or what are actual facts, but are accused of being fake) and that crazy thing that had been called “alternative facts” (isn’t very reminiscent of Winston’s work?).

I don’t want to get too political here, I thing it is a general problem of our time. People seem to loose confidence in institutions like journalism or science, so all opinons seems to be become facts of their own, all having the same value, to the point where it becomes difficult to know what is true. (Not that I think there is always one universal truth in all things, of course there can be discussions or different interpretations on several subjects, this isn’t my point.) To come back to the book, I think since this trend of our society toward facts is something that worries me, that lead me to focus more on this particular point addressed in the first part. And I found it absolutely terrifying...

Anna (Cask & Quill) (caskandquill) | 25 comments Mod
Finally getting around to a reply on this! I agree fully, Myriam. The thing I found most interesting in this book as a whole was the questioning of facts. The idea that history is not real, cannot be proved and is therefore mutable. Yikes. As you said, we can at least to a degree identify with that right now with the trustworthiness of information. That whole concept to me is horrifying, fascinating and mind-bending. I'll share the rest of my thoughts over in the part 3 discussion area! Thanks for sharing this Myriam, you've summed up so well a lot of what struck me, too!

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