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Book Discussions > End of 1984

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message 1: by Pawel (new)

Pawel Karbowski | 2 comments After reading 1984 I was a bit disappointed. Not because of the book, which is great, but because of the end. I always thought that prols will revolt, the forbidden Book will reveal something more, Goldstein or Brotherhood starts to act and O’Brien somehow will save Winston. Instead Winston gets brain wash and Oceania victory. Nothing changes beside the love for Big Brother...
Please comment if you find it interesting.


message 2: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 3 comments Pawel,

I understand what you mean when you say you expected some big uprising or for the novel to end in some hopeful way.

But for me this novel was Orwell’s vision of the future, his warning to society. Ending the book in this way brings the reader despair and anxiety for the future. In the sense that, if the world was turning this way, people would think to themselves ‘I don’t want it to end up this way’ rather than sugarcoat his ending so people would feel ‘Oh well someone will do something about it eventually’.

That anxiety produced by the book’s ending is the fuel to combat Orwell’s vision of the future in the hopes that we will be sufficiently scared enough to remember what could happen to us if we don’t resist.

I feel in giving the novel a hopeless ending, it really drives home how utterly terrifying the concept of his totalitarian society is.

That’s just my opinion, I could be completely wrong!


message 3: by Pawel (new)

Pawel Karbowski | 2 comments Hello Sophie,
Thanks for comment. This is an interesting point of view.
I will add that by ending the novel like this Orwell shows how hard it is to make a change in society under totalitarian regime. One could say that resisting the regime is hopeless and this is how things are in real world. Statistically majority of people (uneducated and without engagement in country affairs – see prols) will never resist the regime as long as they are able to survive and are too busy with day-to-day existence.


message 4: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Anastasi | 10 comments I hated, then loved 1984. The first time, I put it down a few chapters in. But I was young. When older, I experienced the horror in a deep, lasting way. Fancy living in that world, where even a facial expression at the wrong time might see you off to the Ministry of Love?
How did you interpret the ending? Seems to be different from my view. That Big Brother actually won is filled with implication. Firstly, there actually was a war, not just an illusion to keep people in line. Secondly, there is no hope for redemption because the other side has lost. And the implication that the world will get worse.
Echoes of The Handmaid's Tale, I thought. I'm reading a manuscript by a friend at the moment that has a similar chill...The Brotherhood of Necessity. They all leave me with a sense of horrified fascination.


message 5: by Alessandro (new)

Alessandro | 8 comments Stephen, it's interesting because I drew exactly the opposite conclusions from the ending: there is and never has been a war, simply poor Winston is now fully converted to the BB vision of the world, so he believes what the TV says. Also, the other side is exactly the same as this side, and a state of perpetual war is necessary to both regimes to maintain the status quo.
As for The Handmaid's Tale, I found the reading difficult, the series is easier (as you would expect ), at least the first season, but all in all I would say the it is Atwood's novel which reminds of 1984, not the other way round..


message 6: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Anastasi | 10 comments Allesandro,
Interesting perspective. At the end, the perpetual war was over, wasn't it? BB won in a total sense, I thought. Or have I been won over and tricked by BB? Oh, the humiliation!
I haven't finished reading The Handmaid's Tale. I am reading it particularly to see how the author develops the sense of dystopia. I just finished writing a dystopian story, The Brotherhood of Necessity, but Atwood's way of going about the construction is completely different from mine. She provides description, then adds a left field statement that throws the reader off balance. I describe things, but one gets the sense that there is something missing, something very unsettling, which throws the reader off balance. Mine is not literary in the Atwood sense, but more the general fiction thriller. Whereas in 1984 everyone fears the demon that is in front of them at all times, and the same with The Handmaid's Tale, mine is the fear of a demon that actually doesn't exist, while walking into the arms of a far nastier demon you didn't know about.


message 7: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey Pierce | 6 comments The same thing that you dislike about 1984 is what makes the movie Brazil so brilliant. We've grown to trust the "Hollywood ending" as being perfunctory... but the strange thrill of it all is knowing that it is not, and sometimes evil does win. This is not to say that I want evil to win, but it seems definitely more realistic, if not more satisfying.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Yea, about the ending of 1984, I liked it.

Since it’s a dystopian fiction you don’t actually expect a happy, victorious ending.

Going it, I knew how it will end, and I enjoyed it. To me it was very realistic. Stuff like this could happen. It’s scary, nonetheless possible.
And, I think here where the message of the book sets in the readers mind, here where the text becomes actually effectual.


message 9: by Guy (new)

Guy Portman (guyportman) | 6 comments Pawel wrote: "After reading 1984 I was a bit disappointed. Not because of the book, which is great, but because of the end. I always thought that prols will revolt, the forbidden Book will reveal something more,..."

Dystopian fiction and Orwell were never going to combine for a happy ending. I had forgotten about the ending, it's been so long since I read it. It's high time I read 1984 again.


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica O'Toole (jayotee) | 1 comments Pawel wrote: "After reading 1984 I was a bit disappointed. Not because of the book, which is great, but because of the end. I always thought that prols will revolt, the forbidden Book will reveal something more,..."

Orwell was British, there was no way he was going to end that book happily. Not in our nature. :)

In all seriousness, though, Orwell knew and saw (and took part in) a lot more than most regarding totalitarianism and oppressive regimes. It was, as noted above, a warning. It was also a message - that we are not free, never were, and never will be, if we don't fight as soon as the real controllers of our lives are revealed to us. The reach of the true controllers eventually won't be able to be touched, if we allow the faceless to own us.

If you want a reality check on those issues, read Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. Written during WWII, based around the English experience, but focusing on a little of the US, it's a wake-up call to how totalitarianism came about in Germany, and how it can do so again. It is pure, contemporary dystopia, wrapped up in real history right at the time it was happening. He writes a fabulous chapter about what is essentially Globalism at the end, precisely what Orwell raised fears about.


message 11: by David (new)

David F | 4 comments Sorry to join the party late, but when Atwood talked about 1984 with CBC she mentioned that the entry about newspeak hints that the regime didn’t last. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc....

My own personal theory is that in order to undermine Oceana O’Brien had to play his part so well that he even fooled the reader. I’m sure this view sounds naive to a lot of people, but it seems to fit with what O’Brien said to Winston about not seeing progress within his lifetime. If 1984 had a sequel it might play out something like Vietnam’s peaceful transition from communism to the modern capitalist society that it is today, or the transition that Spain went through after the civil war before becoming a democracy again. Not as sexy as a quick Hunger Games style rebellion, but I think something going down along those lines is what is implied by the way in which the entry on Newspeak is written in English in past tense.


message 12: by David (new)

David F | 4 comments *past tense*


message 13: by Alec (last edited Dec 05, 2019 01:07PM) (new)

Alec Birri (alec_birri) | 11 comments All of Orwell's works are depressing in my opinion - even those with 'optimistic' conclusions i.e Coming Up For Air/Keep The Aspidistra Flying. Their denouements are so out of kilter with the rest of the writing, the sense is of another hand entirely. Indeed, it's rumoured Orwell's publisher often edited signed-off manuscripts in an effort to broaden their appeal.
As regards 1984, even if the Newspeak appendix does suggest Oceania existed in the past, Orwell's opinion of real-life was so low, my guess is another dictatorship would soon have followed:
"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."


message 14: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 146 comments I think the ending is brilliant. It does end on a positive note. The society goes on, but think about this for a moment, there always seems to be an announcement that someone is confessing to some crime against the state. The state uses this to clamp down on the populace, but it cannot stop it either. Winston is defeated, but you already know there will be another Winston.


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