1984 by George Orwell

Posted July 16, 2014 in Book Review / 1 Comment

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1984 by George Orwell1984 by George Orwell
Published by Signet Classics on July 1950
Genres: Dystopia, Science fiction
Pages: 326
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Goodreads
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two-stars

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia," that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world—so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

 

Main Points
Writing Style:
The writing was really morbid and depressing. The whole book was like that.
Plot:
Morbid and depressing! Really!
It was hopeless and depressing, but it had a lot of good messages.It seemed to encompass a large number of things. However, it did often resort to repeating itself. Nevertheless, I did agree on a number of accounts. It seemed less of a story than an analysis of humanity and government and the relationship between the two.
As to philosophy, I agree that war or peace or anything else continuous becomes…not itself, if it truly is continuous. Honestly, using ‘surplus’ supplies on a useless war effort for no real reason whatsoever is insanely stupid. The Party is stupid. Although I do credit them for Newspeak. That was clever, or had the potential to be. I must also give them credit for successfully brainwashing most of the population. Of course there are going to be dissenters, but they have a rather efficient way of taking care of them. Although another stupid thing they do is re-education. That’s where they brainwash the dissenters into believing in their cause before executing them. It’s utterly pointless and done pretty much for the sake of power. And the whole notion that power is sought for its own sake. I mean sure. That’s believable. But power alone and not the other things that come with it? Not wealth and luxury? No, I don’t believe that those aren’t goals also, stated or otherwise. And other Party slogans are stupid too. Freedom is slavery? No! Of course it’s not! Weak reasoning. Well, war may as well be peace if the continuity of either cancels them both out. And I’m sorry, but ignorance may be bliss, but it certainly isn’t strength. You are full of lies, Party! Even if some reasoning makes sense, most of it is pure nonsense. Utter garbage.
What’s curious about the social society is that it is mostly built on assumptions. Since you can’t really talk openly, you must instead make guesses on what others are really thinking.
Know what else contributes to the depressing aspect of the story? Winston’s accurate ability to predict who will be vaporized. And his lack of reaction to that knowledge.
Characters
I did not like Julia (the girl he had the affair with). I did not like her at all. She wasn’t really a rebel- “only from the waist downwards,” (page 179) as Winston says. She seemed to only want to be a rebel for the sake of it; to be different. She certainly didn’t seem to buy into the political aspect of anything. Falling asleep at the very mention of anything political was a bit idiotic, I thought. She was an idiot, but not in the sense that the other women were. You know who else was an idiot? Parsons. So utterly brainwashed that he was proud of his daughter when she turned him in. It was absurd. Well, he was probably an accurate depiction of the average person. How…disappointing. I was okay with Winston I suppose.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • writing
  • pacing
  • themes
Less than perfect:
  • mood
  • plot
  • characters
Bottom Line
This book is really depressing and morbid but provides a lot of interesting discussion on humanity, government, and the relationship between the two. I didn’t like the plot or characters, but I liked the philosophy. Would I read more by this author? I’ve read enough (2 books). Would I recommend this book to others? No.

About George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.

Considered perhaps the twentieth century’s best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote fiction, polemical journalism, literary criticism and poetry. He is best known for the dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (published in 1949) and the satirical novella “Animal Farm” (1945)—they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. His 1938 book “Homage to Catalonia”, an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, together with numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture, are widely acclaimed.

Orwell’s influence on contemporary culture, popular and political, continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms, along with the term “Orwellian” — now a byword for any oppressive or manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society — have entered the vernacular.

Rating
Plot
two-stars
Characters
two-half-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Setting
four-stars
Cover
two-stars
Overall: two-stars
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1 Comment on "1984 by George Orwell"

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Jillian
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Aww I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it. I’m a huge fan of dystopian, but now I’m starting to doubt this book because I don’t like reading sad books! I hope you start enjoying other good books, though :D

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