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MercyfulSatyr
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:54 pm 
 

I realize that Lovecraft and King are pretty much mandatory here, but being the classic literature fanatic I am, I feel obliged to ask what everyone's views on the work of George Orwell are.

I'm sure you don't want to hear my life story, but I just don't care, so I'll tell it anyway. I first became interested in Orwell during my very brief (thank Satan) mallcore phase. Morello, de la Rocha, or whoever the fuck writes the lyrics, riddled his songs with 1984 references. So, naturally, I read it. Having read it several times now, I now recognize both its influence and its remarkable accuracy. And, though this goes without saying, my interest in the book has long outlived my interest in RATM.

I'm now in the middle of Animal Farm, and though it doesn't seem to be at the level of 1984, it is simply amazing.

So, back to my original point. For the no doubt endless population of people who have read Orwell's magnum opus (in my opinion, anyway), what are your thoughts on the book? Or any other Orwell novel, for that matter? Feel free to stick in a 1984 reference or two if you so wish.
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ReigningChaos
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:10 pm 
 

1984 may be the bleakest book I've ever read. I appreciated it for that more than I did for the political connotations. They've become so ingrained in our culture that they're redundant now. But the book can still be appreciated on an emotional level. I particularly loved the protagonists relationship with Julia, and the contrast it served to every other aspect of his life. It was the only thing he had that was outside the state's influence, and thus the only truly human thing about him. The low point of the book was "The Book." It totally disrupted the flow of the story and was the height of tedium.

This is one of my favorite quotes; it is something I live by:

"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you were clung to the truth even aganst the whole world, you were not mad..."
-George Orwell
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Silencia
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:24 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:19 am 
 

Telescreens anyone?
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Chaos_Llama
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:48 am 
 

I never finished it (that's generally a problem with me, finishing books) because it got slow around the "The Book" part. I mean, I enjoyed the book and liked his political commentary but it couldn't hold my interest.

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Mungo
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:50 am 
 

The ending makes it one of the most depressing books I have read. That said, it is brilliantly written.

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Kraehe
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:33 am 
 

They can't be compared really. The two you mention are (very good) pulp style writers, the latter writes (accessible) literature. The former two are escapist whereas Orwell confronts problems in fiction in a way that encourages debate. In the case of Nineteen Eighty-Four, he got it correct to a disturbing extent. He was also one of those 20th century authors who were genuinely great people as well, living according to their principles, having a fascinating life, and generally making reading a biography on them worthwhile. The highlight of a Lovecraft (for example) biography would be the endless "nigger nigger jew" comments in between making up reptilian languages. Fun in the books, but boring to read about the process of their invention.

Nineteen Eighty-Four manages to be one of the most important books of the 20th century because it succeeds on every level. It is very well-written (and if someone doesn't like the long diary entries they can be skipped without any harm to the plot) both in making this outlandish world seem believable, and also by it being so direct that even a 10 year old could get through it if they put their mind to it without being repelled any archaic vocabulary - it has mass appeal. It is also very strong on a theoretical level, as many of the small shifts in the world which he astutely picked up on and elaborated in the book did come to dominate society, almost to the extent of his nightmare scenario.

As a result, the book is even more relevant today than it was in 1950, and is possibly one of the single most important references people can use when pointing out the consequences of the erosion of civil freedoms - because it came so close to being true in the 70s, that gives the book a lot of weight. Basically, everybody understands the book's message, everybody can see how accurate the prediction has been, and it gives a very simple message against it - it's not an academic thesis, it's something that the entire population can read, enjoy, and learn from. This is critical given that in a democracy it is this "pyramid base" who have the biggest say over the leadership of the country. I can't think of any fiction that achieves something of greater importance.
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vondskapens_makt
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:31 am 
 

1984 is one of the most incredible books I've read. The plot, the feel, the characters, everything about that book was great. It also definitely goes hand-in-hand with Brave New World.
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Dragunov
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:40 pm 
 

vondskapens_makt wrote:
1984 is one of the most incredible books I've read. The plot, the feel, the characters, everything about that book was great. It also definitely goes hand-in-hand with Brave New World.


I was just about to mention Brave New World.

This particular book of Orwell's is probably the most intriguing for me, as I read it around the time where politics and government were discussed frequently at my home and at school. I always looked at it as a pretty interesting take on humanity.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:32 pm 
 

1984 is an incredible novel, yes, but strangely enough around the time of his death George Orwell gave the names of disidents to the government or something like that. Anti-Totalitarian informant, very strange, still it doesn't take away from his writing in fact it sort of adds to it.

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Thulsa_Doom
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:25 pm 
 

Orwell is one of my favourite writers. He doesn't have the richest prose or the biggest vocabulary. But his strength was in getting his point across directly. My favourite Orwell work is actually a 1200 page collection of his various essays and newspaper columns, you truly get a better feel for who Orwell was and how he grew intellectually through those essays than in any of his published novels. Homage to Catalonia is a brilliant account of his experiences during the Spanish Civil War.

As someone above mentioned, he lived a varied and interesting life. The bio of his by Michael Sheldon is one of the best bio's I've ever read.

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Unaslayer
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:52 pm 
 

1984 is probably one of the creepiest books I've ever read. It creates a system so perfect it leaves nowhere for your mind to hide, systematically demolishes every attachment you have to yourself and your will. Absofuckinglutely spectacular book.

Animal Farm is also great, really ingenious and funny satire. But 1984 is a beast that, I feel, will not be topped anytime soon.

BTW. Brave New World is by Aldous Huxley, not Orwell.

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DanFuckingLucas
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:10 pm 
 

Nobody said that Brave New World was by Orwell. I also think that Brave New World, whilst good, is vastly overrated and nowhere near as good as Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is the second greatest book ever.

I haven't read Animal Farm in about eight years, so I don't remember much about it, but my understanding of it, and the fact that I saw that it was an allegory to the USSR made my hot teacher wet between the legs.
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Eric Olthwaite

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:59 am 
 

DanFuckingLucas wrote:
Nobody said that Brave New World was by Orwell. I also think that Brave New World, whilst good, is vastly overrated and nowhere near as good as Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is the second greatest book ever.

I haven't read Animal Farm in about eight years, so I don't remember much about it, but my understanding of it, and the fact that I saw that it was an allegory to the USSR made my hot teacher wet between the legs.


second greatest book ever? The Bible is the first right?

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vondskapens_makt
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:30 am 
 

DanFuckingLucas wrote:
Nobody said that Brave New World was by Orwell. I also think that Brave New World, whilst good, is vastly overrated and nowhere near as good as Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is the second greatest book ever.

I haven't read Animal Farm in about eight years, so I don't remember much about it, but my understanding of it, and the fact that I saw that it was an allegory to the USSR made my hot teacher wet between the legs.


I also haven't read it in ages. I recall it parodying each of the leaders/forms of government prevalent in the world at the time it was written, and something about the animals overtaking the farm and their struggle to survive or something of that sort.

Also, are there any other books which are similar to the themes of Brave New World/1984? (i.e. utopian society, totalitarian rule, etc.)
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Unaslayer
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:34 pm 
 

DanFuckingLucas wrote:
Nobody said that Brave New World was by Orwell.

It could easily be inferred from this particular quote and I wanted to stop people being confused.

Dragunov wrote:
I was just about to mention Brave New World.

This particular book of Orwell's


But yea, BNW is not quite as good as 1984.

For other dystopian fiction, read Fahrenheit 451 and Animal Farm. Can't remember any other dystopian novels, but Brazil is one of my favorite Dystopian films. Definitely worth a watch.

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Deucalion
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:55 pm 
 

I read Animal Farm. It was alright. I can't remember a whole lot about it.

I also read Brave New World. I think I prefer BNW (if the books are even comparable). Maybe I preferred the characters in BNW. Or it could have been the setting.

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MySanityDoesFly
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:08 pm 
 

1984, Animal Farm = Classic works of literature which should be read by everyone.

Down And Out In Paris And London = Boring and slightly patronising middle class account of how 'the poor people' live.
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Blanketed_by_snow
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:42 pm 
 

"If there is hope, it lies with the proles."
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MercyfulSatyr
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:16 pm 
 

Blanketed_by_snow wrote:
"If there is hope, it lies with the proles."


According to a couple sources, that's a major dystopian theme.
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Dragunov
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:21 pm 
 

Unaslayer wrote:
It could easily be inferred from this particular quote and I wanted to stop people being confused.


Oh, I know BNW wasn't an Orwell novel, though I should've made that a little clearer in my post. :p
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swineeyedlamb
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:30 am 
 

no post


Last edited by swineeyedlamb on Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Noisenoir
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:32 am 
 

What amazes me is that Huxley's free love with no emotions and Orwell's forbidden love full of emotions give the two sides of one dead-end society model. The one we try very hard to achieve. For anyone to make a "nostradamic" all he needs is to follow human logic. Depressing ain't it?

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Giftschlange_Krieg
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:19 pm 
 

ReigningChaos wrote:
1984 may be the bleakest book I've ever read. I appreciated it for that more than I did for the political connotations. They've become so ingrained in our culture that they're redundant now. But the book can still be appreciated on an emotional level. I particularly loved the protagonists relationship with Julia, and the contrast it served to every other aspect of his life. It was the only thing he had that was outside the state's influence, and thus the only truly human thing about him. The low point of the book was "The Book." It totally disrupted the flow of the story and was the height of tedium.

This is one of my favorite quotes; it is something I live by:

"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you were clung to the truth even aganst the whole world, you were not mad..."
-George Orwell


Yeah, pretty much. I think "A Brave New World" is a more relevant icon of dystopian fiction. Atleast, nowadays it is.
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Littlewolf
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:53 pm 
 

Orwell was an optimist.
Just you wait....
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Steingrim
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:56 pm 
 

Agreed on that. Brave New World, at least to me, gives a much more frightening example of future society than 1984 does, with the Alphas, Betas, etc.

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incarcerated_demon
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:33 am 
 

While 1984 is the more celebrated work, I always found more appeal in Animal Farm. It was simpler to read (to an 11 year old) - and it really developed my sense of satire. At a very basic level, I grasped the human-animal irony pretty quickly (that ending "her eyes dimmed, and she could not tell which was man and which was animal" was brilliant). Later I understood better the context, the allegories to communism and its failure, and I thought Orwell was anti-communist. Even later on, I found out he was actually sympathetic to the communist cause - he was simply highlighting the reasons for its downfall, and decrying the failure of such a noble ideal.

Thanks for the recs of his biography, I'll try and find it at some point.

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Earthcubed
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:22 am 
 

Steingrim wrote:
Agreed on that. Brave New World, at least to me, gives a much more frightening example of future society than 1984 does, with the Alphas, Betas, etc.


I agree. I also feel that 1984 is somewhat outdated in that it was intended as a warning against communism (especially the Soviet incarnation of it), which is more or less dead now, with the last great communist superpower (China) being forced to adopt more and more capitalistic economic practices. The world outside academia has left communism behind for the most part, and the book's focus on Soviet criticism is almost irrelevant due to the U.S.S.R.'s collapse. BRW's themes of society gravitating toward's wanting no stress and excess hedonism are more relevant than ever now.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/124098

Quote:
The teens call their public orgies ponceo. On a typical Friday afternoon in the Chilean capital of Santiago, hundreds gather in a leafy urban park for a few hours of sexual experimentation. Surrounded by passing strollers, they trade partners multiple times—mostly engaging in anonymous rounds of oral sex. When the party is over, no contact information is exchanged. Same-gender interactions are commonplace, as the lines between hetero- and homosexuality are blurred, partly by the alcohol and drugs consumed, but also by shifting social mores held by Chilean youth, in contrast to their conservative parents. "Ponceo is about having fun," says Natalia Fernandez, a 15-year-old with pink hair and a pierced chin. "This time I had seven partners."

Fernandez, like many others in the park, is wearing an anime T-shirt. Drawing inspiration from Japanese anime culture, the teens refer to themselves as "Pokemones." Their behavior, though, doesn't quite resemble that of the cartoon characters that once obsessed young TV watchers around the world. "It's shameless," says Gina Mazzini Aliste, a middle-aged woman in the park that day. "They act like ponceo is a competitive sport."

Not surprisingly, the Pokemones have become the subject of a national debate in the media, as the conservative Catholic society grapples with this new affront to its traditional values. In a country where abortion is banned and divorce was legalized only a few years ago, and where the specter of Augusto Pinochet's authoritarian regime still hovers over political discourse, the Pokemones are at once radical and inevitable. Radical because they are shocking Chilean society to its core. Inevitable because they are darlings of a booming neoliberal economy, which has provided them with all the material accoutrements necessary to be Pokemones. Yet along with sexual rebellion, these teens are also defined by their consumerism, a characteristic that neatly conforms to Chile's free-market ideals.



Now, I haven't read The Island, which I know showed Huxley with some different opinions than he previously had, but based on what he wrote in Brave New World, I think he'd be rolling over in his grave.
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Norrmania
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:44 pm 
 

I liked Nineteen Eighty-four but, honestly, when it comes to dystopian novels Yevgeny Zamyatin's "We" remains my absolute favourite. The symbolism behind it is far more complex as well. I'd recommend that one above Nineteen Eighty-four and Brave New World, for sure.

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delayedreaction
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 3:08 pm 
 

"Keep the Aspidistra Flying" is a really underrated novel by him, people need to realize he wrote more than 1984 and Animal Farm.

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opprobrium_9
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:56 pm 
 

ReigningChaos wrote:
1984 may be the bleakest book I've ever read.


This is one of the reasons i adore it as well. I don't think it is a book that bares reading more than once though, at least for me personally. For his time Orwell was a grandmaster thinker.

I do love Animal Farm too. It is a great book. The most interesting piece about it was the Orwell wrote it, more or less, FOR Stalin as a prelude to what was gonna come out of the Bolshevik revolution and the abortive nature of the subsequent Communist regime - brilliant.
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EverSoSentient
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:01 am 
 

What's so interesting about 1984 was not only Orwell's capacity to comment on the Soviet Union but his insightful thoughts on any society that becomes too organized and dependent on "gatekeepers" for information. Some of the more striking aspects of 1984 can very well be applied on most societies in the western world today. Panopticism is such an interesting phenomenon, for instance. Rather that expousing our disdain for being watched every minute of our lives, we call for it as a mean to make our society secure and stable. The same goes for the constand revisionism and alterations of events portraied in such chilling detail by way of the protagonist. This is also occuring pretty much all the time. Not as explicitly as in 1984 or for any one group, but once you realize how hughe PR and lobbying is you balk at the fact that it isn't talked about more.

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TheConqueror1
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:17 pm 
 

Animal Farm was simply a great piece of literature. It took a whole different approach on Communism and anything remotely related to it. Although 1984 (I'm reading this book in my English class as of now) consists of a negative utopian society that reached far beyond the depths of writing during that current time. The main goal that 1984 is trying to reach through the reader is, if we continue to subjugate ourselves with little inconsistencies and rules we will lose a sense of our own thought. The Thought Police to the Ministries all represent that portrayal of no freedom to think and make decisions. Even the society, Ocenia, had a language, Newspeak, that was fueled utterly by propaganda and mind control.

This book might simply be one of the best books I will ever read and I'm not even halfway into it yet.

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BobSaget
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:40 pm 
 

Ingenious writer, but profoundly overrated. A paradigm of that can be the very fact that petty Orwell-idioms have become part of the English language. Perhaps he was a brilliant writer, but I don't think the adulation is necessary.

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Nhorf
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:52 pm 
 

ReigningChaos wrote:
1984 may be the bleakest book I've ever read. I appreciated it for that more than I did for the political connotations. They've become so ingrained in our culture that they're redundant now. But the book can still be appreciated on an emotional level. I particularly loved the protagonists relationship with Julia, and the contrast it served to every other aspect of his life. It was the only thing he had that was outside the state's influence, and thus the only truly human thing about him. The low point of the book was "The Book." It totally disrupted the flow of the story and was the height of tedium.

This is one of my favorite quotes; it is something I live by:

"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you were clung to the truth even aganst the whole world, you were not mad..."
-George Orwell


That has got to be one of my favourite sentences of the book...
I love 1984 and Animal Farm. I consider both of them two of the best books I'ver ever read.

One thing that I loved about 1984 was that, however the book has many many political meanings and criticism about communism and totalitarism, there are many elements there that are related to our modern society.

For example, if you ask a teenager whats the worst thing that can happen to him, he will tell you that the worst thing that can happen to him is loose their hi5/myspace account, or something like that. This happens in my country for example. All the teenagers love their hi5 accounts, use the same clothes, like the same things, listen to the same bands, it's like the Tought Police really exists and forces them to like the same things. Really strange.

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Nhorf
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:55 pm 
 

ReigningChaos wrote:
1984 may be the bleakest book I've ever read. I appreciated it for that more than I did for the political connotations. They've become so ingrained in our culture that they're redundant now. But the book can still be appreciated on an emotional level. I particularly loved the protagonists relationship with Julia, and the contrast it served to every other aspect of his life. It was the only thing he had that was outside the state's influence, and thus the only truly human thing about him. The low point of the book was "The Book." It totally disrupted the flow of the story and was the height of tedium.

This is one of my favorite quotes; it is something I live by:

"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you were clung to the truth even aganst the whole world, you were not mad..."
-George Orwell


That has got to be one of my favourite sentences of the book...
I love 1984 and Animal Farm. I consider both of them two of the best books I'ver ever read.

One thing that I loved about 1984 was that, however the book has many many political meanings and criticism about communism and totalitarism, there are many elements there that are related to our modern society.

For example, if you ask a teenager whats the worst thing that can happen to him, he will tell you that the worst thing that can happen to him is loose their hi5/myspace account, or something like that. This happens in my country for example. All the teenagers love their hi5 accounts, use the same clothes, like the same things, listen to the same bands, it's like the Tought Police really exists and forces them to like the same things. Really strange.


About other books, I haven't read Brave New World, but I read Fahrenheit, another book that many say is "close to the Orwell style" but I didn't like it very much.
I will now try to read "Keep the Aspidistra Flying".


Edit: WTF, double post?

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NeglectedField
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:21 pm 
 

I remember going through that pseudo-intellectual phase when I was in my mid-teens. I was told in my English class that we were each to do presentations on just about anything. I thought of doing mine on 1984 so read it intensely and managed to finish reading it in about a week, but didn't end up doing my presentation on it in the end.

It's not had too dramatic an impression on my political beliefs, just shown what kind of a dystopia we can end up in if we head too far down a certain avenue. Other elements of it can show restrictions in current political discourse. Newspeak is an interesting, relevant concept IMO.

I second what ReigningChaos said about the bleakness of the book. I was a shitty depressive phase of my life and reading it really didn't help. If I were to picture the book it would be a grey sky, lots of dark clouds. It's very typically British like that.

I liked the film adaptation. Winston (John Hurt) is realistically ugly and Julia is realistically plain.
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DBettino
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2003 10:43 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:38 pm 
 

DanFuckingLucas wrote:
Nobody said that Brave New World was by Orwell. I also think that Brave New World, whilst good, is vastly overrated and nowhere near as good as Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is the second greatest book ever.


I think it's difficult to compare the two. Both are bleak, but Huxley's novel is darkly comic. The scene in Brave New World where all the identical children are gawking at the savage's dying mother is both chilling and oddly humorous. I also like the way the protagonist ends up becoming a mindless hedonist just like everyone else.

1984 presents a future in which totalitarian authority confuses and dominates individuals. To me, it is more about the nature of government and war. It is about institutions. It is the more prophetic of the two works. Orwell understood power, and the ultimate aims of those that have it and wish to keep it. By far my favorite part of 1984 is the passage from the book the protagonist covertly attained a copy of, which details something similar to the 'One World Government' plan that is currently being hashed out by many world leaders. Brave New World, by contrast, is about values and societies. I suppose that it is of greater value to me, since it illuminates a concern that is of immediate importance to the Western World and yet is given almost no attention: that of the sublimation of individuality in a culture that demands only convenience, pleasure, and inoffensiveness. Huxley saw a world in which the easy solution to one's problems is the only solution (that there is no problem so grave that a couple of grammes of soma wouldn't put it out of mind). So, in their own ways, I think both books are of great relevance.

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Scorpio
Healthy Dose of Reality

Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 3:30 pm
Posts: 3654
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:52 pm 
 

Orwell is ok, but I prefer his essays and minor works to his most famous ones. His major works are overblown mediocrities with "ideas," as Swineeyed put it. I read 1984 and Animal Farm when I was a teenager, but I know that I wouldn't care for them now.
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metaldazza
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Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:04 pm
Posts: 20
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:27 am 
 

ANationalAcrobat wrote:
1984 is an incredible novel, yes, but strangely enough around the time of his death George Orwell gave the names of disidents to the government or something like that. Anti-Totalitarian informant, very strange, still it doesn't take away from his writing in fact it sort of adds to it.

After the second world war Orwell became obsessed with the rise of the political left within Europe. Post war Europe was leaning toward communism and most historians say that if it were not for the intervention of American dollars to rebuild Europe the communists would have grown in power on consumed the continent.

Orwell saw communism as the ultimate dehumanisation tool, 1984 reflects his deep beliefs that liberty of men's minds and the words that flow from their mouths is paramount. To this end he did inform on some colleges who were left leaning some of whom were communists or sympathisers.

Orwell predicted that despite his efforts Europe would fall foul of totalitarian regimes. He died an unhappy man feeling the fight had been lost.

Unfortunately we seem to be proving Orwell correct except at the moment it is mainstream politics that dumbs the masses down and removed their voice.
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hippiedrow
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:15 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:23 pm 
 

I have to read 1984 for my final project in Psychology, and then cook up a two page report on how it relates to psychology. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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