50 books to read before you die discussion

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Book Discussions - 50 Books > 1984 (once more)

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message 1: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments There was already 2 pre existing discussion threads for 1984 but i decided to start a new one. I believe this was the first book we read when i started the group so alot of you might prefer a new thread. :) I've read it but it's been a while so if any one would like to lead just let me know. Thanx.

Happy Reading. :)


message 2: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments ok i looked up some dicussion questions this one was the first on the list...

The world within which Winston lives is replete with contradictions. For example a, major tenet of the Party's philosophy is that War is Peace. Similarly, the Ministry of Love serves as, what we would consider, a department of war. What role do these contradictions serve on a grand scale? Discuss other contradictions inherent in the Party's philosophy. What role does contradiction serve within the framework of Doublethink? How does Doublethink satisfy the needs of The Party?


message 3: by Buck (last edited Aug 04, 2014 02:34PM) (new)

Buck (spectru) The thing that is so disturbing about 1984 is that all we need do is look at our own society to see the things that Orwell describes, such as doublethink, all around us. Maybe not quite to the degree as in Winston Smith's world, but it's there in kind. I think this is what makes 1984 so frightening. It's hard to say "It couldn't happen here." All we have to do is look around.

1984 is the ultimate dystopia, and all the the things that make it so seem so plausible.


message 4: by Kaitlyn (new)

Kaitlyn (littlemissadler) Buck, I agree. There was an article I. Time Magazine (August 4th ed of this year, I believe) that dealt with the shorthand language of "emojis.˝ My class used this article as an example for modern-day Newspeak. it also contains a brief outline of the language revolution. Perhaps the article. an be found Online if anyone is interested.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Kaitlyn wrote: "Buck, I agree. There was an article I. Time Magazine (August 4th ed of this year, I believe) that dealt with the shorthand language of "emojis.˝ My class used this article as an example for modern-..."

Ooo please!


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Buck wrote: "The thing that is so disturbing about 1984 is that all we need do is look at our own society to see the things that Orwell describes, such as doublethink, all around us. Maybe not quite to the deg..."

Agree, we see it all around us.
Recently heard someone say that being married was akin to being trapped in room 101 (this said at a wedding of course). What amazed me (apart from his terrible timing and lack of self awareness), he had no idea where room 101 came from- Orwell's ideas have embedded themselves in our subculture.


message 7: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) Kaitlyn wrote: "Buck, I agree. There was an article I. Time Magazine (August 4th ed of this year, I believe) that dealt with the shorthand language of "emojis.˝ My class used this article as an example for modern-..."

I've seen the symbols but hadn't heard the name emoji. It's an interesting idea, to examine this in the light of the Newspeak concept. Of course, one would have to consider emoji in the instead-of sense rather that the in-addition-to sense.

The idea of Newspeak is not in play in English, for the time being at least. Our language is constantly expanding, adding new words. It's perhaps one of the few things about us that is non-Orwellian. I recall reading that the French have a law that prohibits the commercial use of non-French words. That seems a little Newspeakish.


message 8: by Buck (last edited Aug 05, 2014 03:01PM) (new)

Buck (spectru) Lisa wrote: "Recently heard someone say that being married was akin to being trapped in room 101 (this said at a wedding of course). What amazed me (apart from his terrible timing and lack of self awareness), he had no idea where room 101 came from- Orwell's ideas have embedded themselves in our subculture."

There is a show on M-TV called Big Brother. Young people, strangers to one another, live together in an apartment and their every move is watched and recorded by cameras. (I haven't actually watched the show.) I'll bet most of the show's regular viewers don't realize the Orwellian connection.


message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Yup, Big Brother was a show here too. It's really rubbish. Apparently the use of the term 'Big brother' predates Orwell... He popularized it but I think it was used in world war 2.


message 10: by Matt (new)

Matt Marino | 8 comments In my classes, we talked a great deal about the Edward Snowden/NSA scandal, and many of my students couldn't believe how much "power" the NSA has when it comes to information collection. This connects pretty well to the contradiction issue in that the goal of data collection is - according to the NSA - to look out for our welfare. However, by looking out for our welfare, they also are privy to that same welfare, if that makes any sense whatsoever. In the book, the Party itself is one huge contradiction, claiming to look OUT for its citizens but, in reality, simply looking AT them. Anything borne out of the Party will have similar contradictory principles.


message 11: by Buck (last edited Aug 17, 2014 08:48AM) (new)

Buck (spectru) Lisa wrote: "Yup, Big Brother was a show here too. It's really rubbish. Apparently the use of the term 'Big brother' predates Orwell... He popularized it but I think it was used in world war 2."

When I google Big Brother, all I get is links having to do with the various TV shows. Digging a little deeper turns this up on Wikipedia:
In the essay section of his novel 1985, Anthony Burgess states that Orwell got the idea for Big Brother from advertising billboards for educational correspondence courses from a company called Bennett's, current during World War II. The original posters showed J. M. Bennett himself: a kindly-looking old man offering guidance and support to would-be students with the phrase "Let me be your father" attached. After Bennett's death, his son took over the company, and the posters were replaced with pictures of the son (who looked imposing and stern in contrast to his father's kindly demeanour) with the text "Let me be your big brother."

Additional speculation from Douglas Kellner of UCLA argued that Big Brother represents Joseph Stalin.



message 12: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) Matt wrote: "In my classes, we talked a great deal about the Edward Snowden/NSA scandal, and many of my students couldn't believe how much "power" the NSA has when it comes to information collection. This conne..."

The Snowden affair is a reminder that Big Brother is alive and well.


message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisadannatt) | 743 comments Thanks for that Buck.

My husband recently finished 1984. When we were chatting about it, he mentioned that he found the fact that Winston and Julie were turned against eachother by fear manipulation was for him the most frightening part of the book.

This had me thinking about evolutionary biology. When looking at the human brain, fear is driven and modulated by a more primitive part of the brain than love. The emotion that we refer to as love is governed by the frontal lobe. If fear, a primitive function, is able to overcome love; does that mean that we are actually more primitive than we believe we are?
(I am not articulating this properly)


message 14: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Leoni | 17 comments Thanx Buck for the explanation on the origins of the concept of Big Brother...

And Lisa, sadly your concept is what fuels every torturer in the world since the dawn of men. The fear of phisical pain is a much more powerful tool than love. And like I heard in a movie: "everybody talks"


message 15: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) Andrea wrote: "Thanx Buck for the explanation on the origins of the concept of Big Brother..."

This is the "Let me be your father" poster.
Bennett
I can't find the "let me be your big brother" poster. I'm skeptical.


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