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Topic: 1984 by George Orwell?

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Subject: 1984 by George Orwell?
Date Posted: 4/9/2008 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 454
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  Any opinions on this book? I found it a bit dry for my tastes, plus it's hard to get into a book where I don't like any of the main characters, and the only character I do happen to like (Syme) is mentioned in one chapter and then gets killed off. I found myself not wanting to even bother to finish it, but I did anyway.

  Any thoughts?

Date Posted: 4/9/2008 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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it is a grim but thought-provoking read. I really enjoyed it - perhaps because I read it a second time for a bookclub discussion. Sometimes reading and discussing it with others adds another dimension to the book.

One of the things we discussed was rather Winson was a hero or not. He does not seem heroic - he is thin, not very robust, aging, kind of an ordinary guy. But, despite his weaknesses, he is rejecting the prevailing attitudes/conventions – seeking answers to the slivers of memories he has. I certainly sympathized with him.

Could he be considered a hero because of his acts of revolution (the diary, his affair with Julia, etc)? He is aware of the danger (the almost certitude) that accompanies these actions but he proceeds nonetheless.

This line from the book (last part, chapter 3) gave me pause. O’Brien said:

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

Date Posted: 4/10/2008 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
Posts: 2,461
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I think books where its difficult to actually identify with any of the characters are difficult to muddle through.  These books I find are mostly about the underlying message than characters themselves.  The characters are basically composed of archtypes which can get boring and dry.   Thats kind of why I never understood comic book / graphic novels.

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 1:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,348
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I had read that book back when 1984 was still the future, and just reread it last year.  I loved it the 2nd time.   And I find I think a lot now, as I read the news, about little details in the book.  Today I was thinking about Winston's amazing job, eliminating any references to previous "truth."  And when I hear the name of some new bill, or program, I think of the Ministry of Love, and the Ministry of Truth.  Words matter.

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I agree, Winston did have an amazing job! One thing from the novel that I keep coming back to was how everyone was watched everywhere. Even in their homes they had to be in view of the camera at certain times. Like Winston, I would have hated that.

The Ministry of Love was such a misleading name. You would think they were arranging marriages or love between people but they were just enforcing love and loyalty to Big Brother by fear,  torture and brainwashing of people. And the Ministry of Truth was responsible for rewriting history and changing facts to fit party doctrine.

Patty, that's a little sad that you think about the Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Truth when you hear about a new bill or program. But I understand where you are coming from. It seems Government begets more government at times.

Last Edited on: 4/23/08 7:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2008 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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1984 was eerily prophetic in many ways.  Another book I enjoyed that spooked me similarly was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Date Posted: 4/25/2008 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I read it a long time ago & remember enjoying it, but not as much as Animal Farm which I love and read once a year.