1984 by George Orwell-Lena Wehn 11/27/16

First I would like to say that the whole concept of the ministry of love is juxtaposition. It is called the ministry of LOVE, which is supposed to be all happy, wonderful, and beautiful things, but really it is the place that sets up the marriages, all carefully arranged so that they are loveless and cold, and tortures those who commit crimes against their set-ups (winston).

Again, history comes up. I was thinking about the book and wondering: how is it possible to overthrow Big Brother and change life as they know it, if they don’t know their history? The best case scenario would be if the government was secretly keeping accurate documentation of history, but really that would not happen in this society.  So how are these people going to remember enough to 1) unite everyone to fight against the current power. 2) know what to do if they can succeed in overthrowing Big Brother. I mean, no one will have any idea what to do. 3) As they say, history repeats itself. And no one will be able to stop any of the horrible things that have already happened from happening, which is extremely scary. Nobody wants another Hitler.

The question I had before, about whether or not the telescreens read minds, has been answered. On page 138, Winston says, “With all their cleverness [Big Brother] had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking” (Orwell 138). This means that telescreens only observe people, watching out for their ticks, muttering to themselves, or any shady business at all.

A part of the second section that stood out to me was that Julia (Winston’s new “special friend”) was completely blind to the entire importance of History, to the point of trying to convince Winston it wasn’t important as well. She was completely unbudging on her ideas, like, for instance, that when Winston told Julia that airplanes had existed before the revolution, and the Party (Big Brother) had lied about inventing them, she didn’t care one bit. This strikes me as important because Winston so clearly sees the value of history, and actively seeks it out, while Julia, still a very liberal minded person, does not care one bit, which is most likely her greatest flaw.

It is clear in this novel, like Orwell’s other novels, that he has a point to make, and he makes it, in the most insightful and entertaining ways, yet the point is still blatantly obvious. In this novel, Orwell is communicating the issues of ignorance and compliancy. He, like Animal Farm, is relating his background (communist Russia) to his writing. He does this so much, his novels are nearly public service announcements, simply played up and set to a plot.

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19 responses to “1984 by George Orwell-Lena Wehn 11/27/16

  1. The events that occur in the second quarter of this novel are extremely significant, and bring even more twists into the story. The most important occurrences of significance that occur are the worsenings of Winston’s thoughtcrimes. He started off just writing in a journal, keeping record of his day to day happenings, which is enough to get him vaporized on its own. But then his mind begins to fill with more and more hatred, and he begins to make different realizations, like how the Party essentially has control of everyone’s lives because of their control of the past and all records of the past. This all comes to a climax when he meets Julia, the black haired girl, who is actually much more rebellious than he is. She eventually becomes his new “special friend”. When she tells him that he is not the only man he has slept with, but that there are many others that work with the Party, Winston is given a feeling of satisfaction. He and Julia are not the only ones that work for the Party that commit thoughtcrimes. Another realization that he makes is that the vast population of the proles (85% of the population of Oceania) would be enough to overthrow the corrupt government, if only they could be persuaded to do so. The only problem is that the majority of the prole do not even realize that they are under the control of the Party and Big Brother.

    I would also like to add something very critical about the Ministry of Love. Not only do they interrogate, vaporize, and terrorize citizens who commit thoughtcrimes, but they are also the branch of the government that controls the Thought Police. When Winston talks of being caught for committing these crimes, he usually does not refer directly to the Ministry of Love, but rather states that the Thought Police are going to come for him. It seems that the unknowing citizens are more fearful of the police rather than the place that is behind all of the actions. In general, people have a greater fear of the police rather that Miniluv, the real nightmare.

    Something very important about the story and background of Winston that has not been discussed yet is his occupation. He actually works for the government and the Party, which makes him a part of the ruling class. This is interesting, because one of the people who actually changes records and gets rid of evidence of what happened in the past is as brainwashed as anyone else. Then Winston also gives negative thoughts about how the Party changes the past, when he is actually the one who changes it! To me, it seems odd that the majority of the Party are almost the same as everyone else in Oceania, brainwashed and unaware of what secrets the Party really holds.

    • Brogan Deem-Ranzetta

      The second quarter of the novel is very interesting where the plot seems to thicken. Winston starts to fully go against the means of the Party as he becomes engrossed in a girl, Julia, and he starts to think of thoughts of rebelling against this terrible tyranny. Before he was somewhat afraid of getting captured such as Syme, who one day was vaporized/disappeared thanks to the Ministry of Love. But as he meets this mysterious girl who before he thought was a loyal Inner Party member realizes the meaning of enjoyment which is cast aside by Big Brother himself. They both realize the danger of what they are doing but take it as a normal routine where they meet in secluded locations or in crowded places where they brush by each other and talk in whispers.

      What is strange to me thought is the fact that while in this illegal love affair with Julia, Winston still seems to keep his poise while working for the Party. He is ironically changing the past with it being newspapers or books etc. which he believes is wrong. I also find it weird that he enjoys his work despite the fact that he is against the ways of the Party and their morals. He like Julia is trying to fit into the community of the Party so that their chances of getting found out are slimmer which they achieve by becoming involved with the many activities and work present within Oceania.

      But I think that the character of O’Brien which Winston is thinking is apart of the infamous Rebellion is starting to become a little sketchy. The fact that he constantly seems to be watching Winston is unsettling to me and also the fact that he called him to his house is not right. I believe that he is not apart of the Rebellion and instead is a secret Party member keeping watch over the civilians. I may be wrong but he feels unsettling in his movements and his ways.

  2. julialiningerwhite

    I think we can all agree my prediction of rebellion in Oceania (in the last post) seems more inevitable than ever. The one part that seems less predictable is its scale. Characters such as Winston show obvious desire to break the rules of Oceania by going to blackmarkets, writing in a diary, and harboring secret (but not so secret considering the Thought Police) hatred of Big Brother. In contrast, his newly developed love interest, Julia, shows a desire to rebel but on a much smaller scale. Her defiance is much more practical. For instance, sleeping with Party members is an illegal offense but is less risky than Winston’s repeated thinking of ways to disobey the government and overthrow its grip. Julia’s view of rebellion is quite representative of the popular view of Oceania citizens. Even if they do feel some bit of discontent with Big Brother, they are too preoccupied to do something about it, or too pragmatic to hatch plans to rebel against totalitarian control.
    The relationship occurring between Julia and Winston, in my opinion, is Orwell’s commentary about the greater population. While both are in opposition to their oppressors, their different approaches prevent any dramatic rebellion from occurring. When two people unite for one cause, it is more than just the same ideology that they need, but similar plans and ideas about making a difference. A silent majority among oppressed people may be similar to Julia, dissatisfied with their lives yet unwilling to take action for a change. Orwell’s writing outlines this dynamic between the Winstons and Julias in the world; they may work together and find common ground, but not enough to create a revolution. At the beginning, I mentioned that the size of the imminent rebellion may be smaller than originally thought. This is not because Big Brother makes quality of life too good to protest or that not enough people are dissatisfied. Actually both of these are true, instead it is the common people (the “Julias” of the world) lacking tenacity to risk their predictable lives in the status quo at the chance of a freer future.

  3. Benjamin Altman

    This section of the book leaves a lot to be discovered and a major development between characters. There is the introduction of Julia and the further possibility of uprising. The reader begins to understand the doings of the Ministry of Love and how dangerous Winston’s thought crimes have become. The tone of the novel is still dark and unsettling, but a glimmer of hope is also present at some points.

    Julia is a peculiar character that although rebellious, is also somehow more tame than Winston. Winston wants to expose Big Brother and government and start out a large revolution where as Julia seems somewhat hesitant to go that far. They both agree that what Big Brother is doing is wrong but their ideas of rebellion contrast too much. They will never be able to revolt as a team if they cannot agree on strategy and tactics. I have a strange feeling that Winston’s relationship with Julia will soon be noticed and the government will intervene. The fact that they even talk to each other is unsafe, much less talking about defying Big Brother. The government simply has too much control and knowledge of their citizens to for their affair to go on any longer. If the plot continues the way I believe it will, Julia and Winston won’t have a chance to act before they are caught.

    O’Brian, as Brogan said, is indeed a curious character who I would cease to trust. O’Brian sounds much more like a secret government agent than a possible free thinker. His constant staring and wordless glares prompt suspicion and a sense of danger. I hope Winston doesn’t attempt to open up to him because if O’Brian is indeed a government worker, Winston is dead where he stands.

    The opportunity of revolution and of freedom is what I believed the whole book was about once I had read the first quarter, but now I see that taking down Big Brother is impossible. There are simply not enough free thinkers like Winston and Julia to form an uprising. Anyone who disagrees with the system is vaporized. Why should Winston not be vaporized? He will be caught because his crimes are becoming too unstable and the surveillance of the thought police will prove effective.

  4. Brogan Deem-Ranzetta

    In the third quarter of the novel many important events occur. These include the finding out of O’Brien being apart of the Brotherhood and the discovery of “the book” which was written by Emmanuel Goldstein explaining the history of the Party. Also the negative part of this section was the uncovering of Winston and Julia as being thought criminals by Mr. Charrington who was apart of the Thought Police. This was a very misleading and surprising section in my opinion. Not only was there a plot twist when the two companions found out that O’Brien was not a loyal member of the Party but actually was associated with the Party. But also “the book” mislead Winston into thinking that Oceania can change from its tyrannical governing which lead him into thinking the future was brighter when in reality it wasn’t. This causes Winston to be lulled into a false sense of security as he believes that the Party can be taken down. This was his downfall. By just seeing the limitations in the party’s laws and regulations he became lazy and fell into their clutches as he and Julia get caught by the suspecting Mr. Charrington. Instead of becoming careless to the security of the Brotherhood Winston should have kept being careful and methodical with his illegal movements. Also in “the book” it shows that the two other nations in this world, Eastasia and Eurasia are just like Oceania in their totalitarian-like stances. This was somewhat surprising to me once I read about this fact. I thought that these countries would be fighting based on each other’s differences but instead it’s all about power. This is the main emphasis in this world. In this section of 1984 many new events occur that alter the turning point of the story. First it is the discovery of a new member of the Brotherhood and then the spiteful capture of Winston and Julia. Many forces are battling which alters the mind of the protagonist.

  5. lenawehn3

    It was riveting to find out that Mr. Charrington was the one to be suspicious of, not O’Brien, as expected by Ben and Brogan. It came as a large shock.

    Reading about the constant war between the nations, who aren’t even fighting was extremely upsetting to me because it highlighted how pointless life is in the world they live in. The same, boring things are repeated everyday, for literally no reason. They are all slaves and have no purpose in life, which is incredibly depressing.

    The book in general took a very dark turn in the past few chapters. I actually had to stop reading chapter one, section three because of the severe images it put in my head, starving men, extreme police brutality, and cruelty beyond imagination. At one point, a man stood up and offered the man who had been starved (nearly to death) a measly amount of bread, but the telescreen shouted and ordered the man to drop the bread. Next, the police came in and punched (not quite the right word, but closest description I have of the violence) the man in the face so hard he immediately gushed crimson colored blood. To add to the horrors of this particular situation, the starving man was later being taken to room 101 (torture room?) and he really did not want to go. When he was all out of begging, he tried to throw the bloody man under the bus by saying it was he who committed thoughtcrime (. When this, too, failed, he clung to the leg of a metal bench, only to be kicked in the hand, consequently breaking his fingers. Reading this was so painful that I had to put the book down, something I have never before needed to do. It was extremely uncomfortable for me to be imagining these travesties in such great detail, as Orwell explains them.

    Also, on a lighter note, I would like to point out that if this was the course of history, the abominations to fashion that the 80’s committed would have never happened, so that’s a plus.

  6. In this section of the novel, some of the most important events occur. To start, Winston finally gets to meet with O’Brian, a person he has glorified since some of the first chapters. He had dreams about him, stating that they would meet in “the place where there is no darkness”. He has been looking forward to this time for a very long time, and when he finally gets to meet him, Winston is extremely excited. He believes that it will be the climax in his life. The initial meeting with O’Brian is extremely riveting, with him beginning by turning off the telescreen, and claiming that he too is a rebel to the Party. Later, Winston found out that he had just set him up to make him confess to his thoughtcrimes.
    Another important event that ensued was the compromise of the attic that Julia and Winston rented out from Mr. Charrington. They had believed that it was a safe place, free from telescreens and the Party, but it actually turned out that Mr. Charrington was also a part of the thought police, and there was a telescreen hidden behind the painting. This goes to show that there are almost no one that you can trust in the world of Oceania. It is surprising to me that Winston even trusted Julia.
    Something very important that is not spoken of often is the unfairness and corruptness of Big Brother. When Winston reads the children’s history textbook, it states that with the election of the Party, all of Oceania profited. Infant mortality rates decreased, wealth, food, and sanitation is plentiful, and most other problems were fixed. Yet, as it is seen day to day by Winston, London is basically a dump. Buildings are rotting, the streets are covered with trash and filth, and practically all of the proles do not work. Everyone, including Party members, must deal with the constant shortages of food and other necessities, like clothes and shoes. The only part of the whole city of London that is clean and sterile is the giant pyramids, where the three Ministries work. Another issue, that was only briefly mentioned, is the frequent bombings of the city. Bombs are dropped on innocent people in the city daily, and it seems that nobody cares. Conveniently, bombs are never dropped on the Ministries.
    Is it really Eurasia who is dropping the bombs on the city, or is it the Party itself? How is anyone even sure that there is even a war going on? Why do people never seem to retain their memories? I hope that these important questions will be answered in the final quarter of this thrilling novel.

  7. Benjamin Altman

    This section of the novel brings about the revealing of characters in a rapid fashion. The plot progresses as well by showing a major drawback in Winston’s plans. The plot twists and surprises made this section much more enjoyable than the first. I personally had found the beginning to be a little dull and obvious until this point.

    I completely agree with Brogan on the matter of “the book”. It gave Winston a sense of hope which in turn made him reckless and careless in his actions. His thought crimes progress and become more severe and his affair with Julia is extremely fragile. The book only made him more hopeful and more likely to make a mistake in his actions. This is quite ironic considering how the book is supposed to turn Winston’s life for the better but instead brings about his capture. The similarities between Eurasia, EastAsia, and Oceania are indeed startling because part of me believed during the first part of the novel that maybe these places were more democratic.

    As for O’Brian, he turned out to be a member of the party as I presumed which is actually depressing. Winston shouldn’t have put his faith in him, especially with such little evidence. Winston was so hopeful and blinded by the possibility of success that he let the government trap him where he stood. It leads me to believe the government knew about his crimes for a while and simply used O’Brian as a dummy to get him to confess.

    Like Lena, I too began to notice a darker tone in these chapters of the book. The descriptions were much more vivid and violent adding to the already very present depression in the plot. All of the happy and joyous moments between Winston and Julia are covered by the impending amount of fear and terror they feel when they are caught. The one optimistic moment I read was when it said the proles were the only hope. I think the proles may make a larger appearance later in the novel and maybe even start a rebellion, saving Winston.

    I also believe that “Room 101” will play a large part in what becomes of Winston. It’s still unclear what exactly happens to one when they go in there, but everyone seems deathly afraid of it. I’m assuming it’s some sort of torture chamber or mental probing but for now it remains unknown. Overall, this section was riveting and the plot began to pick up speed. More character development is seen, especially in Winston, and new issues began to emerge.

    • julialiningerwhite

      This section addresses the psychological side of dominance and obedience. Aside from just having to physically be in power over its citizens Big Brother must also be in control of their desires, plans, and opinions. As Winston is fooled by the promise of an uprising by O’brian, Big Brother is able to squash another rebel in the making. When he optimistically dreamed of meeting O’brian in a “place where there is no darkness” that place ends up being the the Ministry of Love, where the lights are never turned out. The absence of darkness he imagines is liberation from Big Brother, but ironically the reality of the absence is a gloomy Big Brother holding cell where the lights are physically always on. His and Julia’s desire to be free stopped them from examining the common sense of why a high ranking official would be on their side. Using Winston’s dream of O’brian as a metaphor for his optimistic ignorance Orwell sent a message about the common assumption of the goodness and honesty of others.

      This book has actually been becoming progressively more distressing and less intriguing to read. At the beginning I was hopeful as a reader for change to be enacted in Oceania, but now the only thing I see in Winston’s future is suffering. This book follows the idea a of helpless individual fighting against a greater power. In the end, Winston cannot possibly succeed because he systematically tied down by more intelligent and organized. By writing the book at a series of events to eventually break down the hope of an underdog, Orwell connotes that ordinary people cannot enact change against their oppression no matter how unbearable it is.

  8. Benjamin Altman

    In this final portion of the novel, Orwell completes Winston’s journey through self doubt and despair with a riveting end plot. The pace of the novel gains speed quickly at some points, such as when he is being tortured, and decreases at others when more commentary and dialog is introduced. This diversity of pace kept me as the reader entertained and curious of Winston’s fate. At the same time, Winston’s thought process and judgment are blurred by the constant beatings and mental probing that continuously obscure his logic.

    The Ministry of Love is one of the most disturbing and frightening places in the book which is not as surprising as it is dreaded. I never felt as though Winston ever had a chance to save himself or Julia once the torture began. O’Brian drained him of his hope the minute he began the torment. Winston repeatedly gets beaten and broken and starved which in turn breaks his spirit. His mentality soon becomes nonexistent as fear begins to throb through his head and challenges his hope.

    Near the ending of the novel, room 101 is revealed and is somewhat similar to how I imagined it except for that it contains a persons worst fear instead of ordinary torture techniques. Winston’s phobia of rats comes into play and his fear forces him to betray Julia, something I never thought he would do. I believed for a while that Winston was mentally stronger than other characters which would lead him to escape but he turned out to be vulnerable after all. I wanted to hate him for screaming Julia’s name but I knew that anyone in his position would have done the same.

    The most disturbing part of the entire is plot is the very end when Winston is released. He is broken and resembles nothing of what he was before. He is just as naïve as any other citizen and can’t retain any possibility of a relationship with Julia. The government has broken Winston, broken his love, broken his will, and most importantly broken his own thoughts. The final line of the novel simply reads, “He loved Big Brother.” This is the perfect statement to end the book with because it shows how Winston has changed from beginning to end. This is what makes this novel so special to me. As much as I would love to have Winston defeat Big Brother and ride into the sunset with Julia, this novel was meant as a warning to the human race and by ending it like this, gives the reader the burden of change.

  9. lenawehn3

    1984 is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. the images alone are enough to set the tone of utter helplessness and despair. Winston and Julia were glimmers of hope, but they were, of course shot down, but their ideas still hold slivers of hope. O’Brien (Ben and Brogan were 100% correct about his being evil) was much worse of a character than I ever imagined.

    Personally, the most horrifically twisted part of the end of the novel was Winston’s trust and security of O’Brien. Even after the physically mind numbing pair O’Brien inflicted upon Winston, he still sought safety in the idea of O’Brien. Winston still saw him as his savior, simply because he had the power to take the pain away and administer the good drugs.

    I was actually shocked at Winston’s ability to stay reluctant to the ways of Big Brother, because he was able to endure so much pain, for example, at something as silly as 2+2=5, not 4. I know that I would never be able to stay so strong under that kind of pressure, but Winston lasted a long time before giving in to the illogical ideas of Big Brother and The Party. 2+2=5 was one of the largest metaphors for how Big Brother rules. He is absolute power, despite the lack of common sense in many of the situations.

    It is impressive how trusting O’Brien was of the system. It is very true that Winston may be right in some of the things he said. The Party could fall and they may not have complete control over everything. One of the most important quotes, I think from this last fourth was said by O’Brien, “There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation- anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wished to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it” (Orwell 218). Here the power of the Party is explained by a member, but Winston also does not buy it. His strength is truly tested and he does a remarkably good job holding true to his beliefs. As the reader, I think Orwell wanted us to think the Party as ridiculous for believing they have such control over everything and life itself, and Winston as the only one who sees truth. Despite the dark ending of the novel, there are hints of positivity in the torturing phases of Winston, which I think still apply and will come true, even though Winston himself is defeated.

  10. Brogan Deem-Ranzetta

    The final quarter of this novel reveals the truly disturbing and frightening aspects of this tyrannical society. What surprised me the most was how much torture the members of the Ministry of Love committed on people who had different views than the ways of Big Brother. No matter how big the thought crime was that a person committed it meant the same amount of torture as someone who had a larger crime. Once Winston and Julia were captured it meant impending doom for them both and with it came lots of pain and suffering. Locked in a room for many days truly brought down the hope Winston had of overcoming his loathsome enemies of the Inner Party. With this lack of hope only added to the strength of O’Brien and his compatriots as they try to turn Winston into a Big Brother loyalist. There ways of changing Winston were certainly horrific. With it being persuading him that 2+2=5, showing glaring, bright lights in his face or bringing him to terms with his worst fear (rats) they did not stop.

    It was very surprising though how much pain Winston put up with in the first place. He dealt with low amounts of food and an everyday dose of pure torture leading him to becoming a mass of pure discomfort afterwards until his next appointment which brought even more pain and agony. But what finally brought Winston to terms was death itself. Once he knew that he would die to his worst fear of rats where his whole face would be torn apart not to mention his whole body the selfish side of himself kicked in. This override his love of Julia where he was willing for her to die instead of him. He was finally willing to accept the ways of Big Brother then to face death itself. This added to the horrific and depressing nature of the novel where hopes of rebellion ended in acceptance despite the ways of the totalitarian regime.

  11. alexsol1500

    This final section of the novel contained some expected, and also unexpected events. Julia and Winston finally get captured by the thought police, and are being held in the Ministry of love. Every day, for weeks on end, Winston is forced to endure harsh beatings and interrogations. Winston begins to feel love for O’Brien, only because he possesses the capabilities to turn off the torture machines. It seems as if his mind is being changed as he endures the endless tortures. O’Brien made Winston believe that he is holding up five fingers when he is really holding up four, just because he said so. Yet, through all of it, he is still able to retain his love for Julia. One day, he screams Julia’s name several times, then realizes his mistake. O’Brien and a couple thought police barge into the cell, and bring him into the dreaded Room 101. There, they apply the worst torture, that only comes from the depths of nightmares. Since Winston’s worst fear is of rats, O’Brien pulls out a cage filled with large, hungry vermin, and attaches it to Winston’s face. O’Brien proceeds to explain that he will open the cage and let all of the rats eat his Winston’s face. Winston begins to panic, and starts making a lot of promises to O’Brien, and finally tells him to torture Julia instead of himself.
    The fourth quarter of the novel was by far the most depressing of the four. It is filled with misery and hopelessness for Winston and Julia. Although the torture may have been tough, I thought that Winston would be able to fight through it, since his will seemed strong in the rest of the book. Yet, like everyone else that enters Room 101, his spirit was broken. I could not believe the final few pages of the novel, where Winston actually carries a LOVE for Big Brother. When he sees the face of BB on a telescreen in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, he feels safe and protected. I did not know before I read this part of the book that the Party was capable of changing people’s minds so drastically. I believed that there were only a few that truly loved the Party, and everyone else just lived in fear of the thought police. After finishing the story, it seems that the government legitimately has a hold on everyones minds. It scares me to think that a group of people could have so much power and influence over an area as large as Oceania. I agree with Ben that this book serves as a warning to readers about what the government may be capable of if we let our guard down.
    From the first chapter to the last four words in the book, this story was distressing, but also fascinating. In the end, it taught us a critical lesson, even if it may be frightening to think about.

  12. julialiningerwhite

    We can all agree that heading into the final quarter of 1984 that it seemed Winston’s story could not possibly get worse. But somehow it did. Winston loses his mind through the torture and containment he faces while imprisoned. The moment to me when he lost most humanity was when his captors convince him that logic is incorrect. To Winston, O’brian is a godly force. After this Winston’s mind is in the hands of Big Brother, if he can be convinced of anything then he no longer has free will. As Alex mentioned, the Party truly does have a disgusting power over it’s citizens minds. In the novel’s final moments, the readers see Winston’s ultimate state, becoming an obedient lover of Big Brother. His struggle and eventual fall illustrates the difficulty of making a difference against a much more power organization; the addition of mind control makes change impossible.
    In addition to his fight against Big Brother, Winston also loses his lover. It is unclear if they are fundamentally different or if the circumstances drive them apart. But one thing is extremely clear, in the end neither values the other over themselves. Perhaps it was Big Brother that made them realize this difference through torture. Eventually both reach a limit in their pain where they suggest the torture of each other to end their agony. Reflecting on that moment, Julia states, “You think there’s no other way of saving yourself, and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.” Obviously it’s an irreconcilable difference to not care whether the other suffers, but to tear Winston apart from his partner adds a new layer of sadness. Now he has no love but the artificial one for Big Brother, which from the perspective of the reader is completely lonesome. I think that part of the reason Winston’s story is so significantly distressing is because we experience love and freedom. At the end of the book, however, Winston is not sad, he is filled with joy and love. Though these feelings are not real they have the same effect on Winston, and cannot be proven less valid. While Oceania is terrible in comparison to the world I live in, it does create feelings of happiness within its citizens.

  13. Benjamin Altman

    1984 by George Orwell 7/10

    Winston is a middle aged man living in the city of London in the near future where a totalitarian government, also known as the party, has taken control of citizens thoughts and memories, leaving them hopeless and without basic freedoms. They constantly watch and hear people’s every move, waiting to punish anyone who dares speak a word of conspiracy or individuality. Winston is one such individual who breaks the rules of the government by writing in a personal journal. He hates the party and wishes for a better way of life and the journal is how he expresses these emotions. He meets a woman named Julia who works with him and they start a love affair which is punishable by death. Then one day, Winston’s boss, O’Brian, reveals to him that he part of a rebellion against the government. Winston is ecstatic and immediately reveals his hatred and resentment towards the party but it turns out that O’Brian is actually a government worker who was trying to get a confession out of Winston. Winston and Julia are taken to the “Ministry of Love” and are tortured until O’Brian was basically taken control of their wills. They are then released but cannot love each other anymore. They are now loyal the party.

    Overall, the book had many interesting ideas and attributes that made it different from other novels. First of all, the ending was depressing and morbid, something I actually enjoyed because unlike most books, the characters didn’t overcome the main issue. They were left broken and weak, obeying the party’s commands with no individuality. Very little progress was made to overthrow the Party and Winston winds up becoming a slave to the governments will. Another interesting idea is that this sort of totalitarian society Winston lives in is real. Orwell was basing the idea of the book off of countries like Nazi Germany where people were stripped of their hope as well. Orwell has a few styles in particular that stand out such as his in-depth descriptions of mental states such as fear and desperation. Yet he also manages to construct a mixture of sentiments and even a loss of character awareness. He uses imagery constantly throughout the novel to portray characters, scenes, actions, and emotions in a vivid fashion of bleak surroundings. The dark and light contrasting mood he creates blurs any sort of mental picture the reader could imagine, revealing the depletion of self consciousness. Any type of reader would enjoy this book but most specifically science fiction fans, teenagers, and young adults. Orwell was trying to reach out to all of humanity with this novel and everyone should have the chance to read it because the themes of the novel are as universal as they are profound.

  14. lenawehn3

    Overall I give 1984 a 6.5/10
    1984 was dreary and painful to read. As Julia pointed out, the more I read, the less I wanted to continue on, mainly because of how much suffering was described, so vividly. The end was inevitable, which also contributed to the painful/dreary aspect of the whole novel. Of course, I suggest that everyone (9th grader and up is a good age) reads it because it says so much about human nature and how society works and functions well. The best part of the novel were the small bits of hope that Winston provided that could still become reality, even if not in his lifetime.

    The novel starts out with Winston being slightly rebellious, but not having the drive to do anything about it, or caring to act upon his thoughts. When he meets Julia, they plot and talk but nothing more. It is the idea of a secret society that sparks Winston’s drive to change the present, but that is very quickly destroyed when Winston and Julia are caught.

    The hopelessness of this book is refreshing, and certainly makes more sense than Winston and Julia magically saving the day, but I still believe that it is possible to overthrow Big Brother and The Party.

    Again, I recommend this book to everyone because it is an eye opening look into the politics of the Russian Revolution (what Orwell lived through and is writing as a response to) and into life as a nation.

  15. Brogan Deem-Ranzetta

    1984 By George Orwell 7/10
    1984 takes place in the futuristic, tyrannical society of London where the main character, Winston, is torn between rebelling against this totalitarian force or to go along with the ways of the Party (antagonist). This was a big decision that he made within the novel that ended in a very depressing manner. Winston along with his lover Julia decided to rebel against the Party by joining the infamous Brotherhood, a group secretly trying to overthrow the Party. But sadly this ended in capture by a member of the Thought Police as they talked “secretly” in a secluded room up above a workshop. From there things turned to the worse as these two friends were separated and then tortured profusely by members of the Ministry of Love, a very ironic name since this department deals with torturing individuals in order to change their views regarding the Big Brother. Winston was electrocuted, forced to do embarrassing acts, and given little food. This was all to suppress his disloyalty to Big Brother. Finally in the end he agrees to become loyal to the ways of the Party only after a book long affair with torture, degradation, and suffering as the novel shows a glimpse into a sorrowful future with a totalitarian society.

    Overall I thought this book was very degrading, horrifying, and sad as I came to terms with an aggressor that will do anything to stay in power and gain the loyalty from the public. From the very beginning it showed a light into a world without privacy and opinion. From then on things kept getting worse and worse and thus made me want to stop. It would be horrible to have a world like this where war is constant and opinions are tossed aside like garbage on the street. Going away from the degrading topic of the novel I thought the author did a really good job of implementing a sense of voice which emanated throughout the whole novel. I also thought George Orwell did an exceptional job of describing different scenes and using imagery to show the darkness and doom exuding from the world of the dictatorial Party. This was very important in a novel so focused on misery and suffering. I thought the true reason of this novel by George Orwell was to open our views into the atrocious governments of our past and soon to be future. I believe that this book is meant for teens and young adults who enjoy science fiction. Not only does it show a glimpse into a degrading world with no hope of stating your opinions or ideas but it relates to past dictatorships (Nazi Germany and the Bolsheviks) and how people were left with nothing.

  16. alexsol1500

    1984 by George Orwell: 7/10 stars

    This unique story takes place in a futuristic place called London, Oceania, where a government called the Party controls the lives and minds of everyone living there. If anyone besides to do something that the government’s harsh rules states, or even thinks about breaking them, they will be tortured or incinerated. Everyone is watched every second of the day be devices called telescreens, that record a person’s every move. The main character of this story is Winston, a worker for the government. He begins to write in the journal, which is an illegal action, and adopts a strong hate for the Party. He writes about how he plans to overthrow the Party, and perform acts of rebellion. Despite making several promises to himself, he never really commits these crimes, and goes about his daily life filled with a hatred for the government and its mascot, Big Brother. One day, he meets a coworker named Julia, and they begin to fall in love. Finally, they have a love affair, which is Winston’s first real act of rebellion. From there, they spend more time together, have more affairs, and plot how to destroy the Party and Big Brother. Then, Winston’s boss, O’Brien, tells the couple that he too wishes to rebel against the government. After this, Winston and Julia both admit to their hate for the Party, O’Brien captures them and brings them to the Ministry of Love, the place where rebels are tortured. It turns out that O’Brien was a part of the Thought Police, the enforcers of the Party. In the Ministry of Love, O’Brien tortures the two, and makes them believe that they love the government. Finally, he makes them believe that they do not love each other, and it is with that that their minds are fully the property of the Party’s.

    In all, this story was extremely interesting, and unlike anything that I have ever read before. There was a lot of detail into the society, and the changed world. This is a very fascinating concept to people who like sci-fi. The reason I didn’t give it a higher ranking is because there are some points in the book that are very long and boring. This can get annoying after a while, especially when it is an exceptional story. Also, as Lena has stated, the book, especially the end of it, can be very depressing and hard to read at times. Toward the end of the story, the torture of Julia and Winston is described in horrific detail. Other than those two low points, this is an amazing book.

    The main literary device that this book uses is imagery. Throughout the novel, every scene is describes with vivid detail. It is easy to imagine the different locations that this book takes place. This ends up backfiring, as the torture scenes and parts that contain a lot of gore are also described with a lot of detail as well.

    I would recommend this book to people who prefer a good story, rather than action. I would definitely advise that the reader be at least a 9th grader, because there are several concepts that younger people may not understand, or may be hard to comprehend. Really anyone that is old enough to understand what is happening in the book should read this, because not only is it a memorable story, but there is a valuable lesson taught by the end of the book.

  17. julialiningerwhite

    1984 by George Orwell: 6/10 stars
    I feel very negatively about many aspects of the book. This includes the oppression of human rights, morbid plot twist, and generally depressing setting. Overall I would say that reading this was distressing. For that reason I definitely not recommend it to anyone looking for a new book to read. However, just because a book is not cheery or uplifting does not mean that it cannot be good piece of literature.
    Orwell is clearly a talented author. While there are few characters, each one is well developed. Even minor characters like the people Winston meets in imprisonment add context and depth to the story. Also this book had a very large focus on the setting, which was new for me. Winston’s entire goal in the book is to change the world, which makes the world that much more important. By writing about the future, the government, and citizens of Oceania, Orwell gives a clear description of each way that this world is different from ours. While it was definitely not a place I’d like to live, it did provide something interesting to think about. The setting makes this book great for group discussion.
    The fact that this was so different from anything I have read made it less easy to enjoy. Yes, that is close-minded of me. But reading a book and being that put down by it and the end was a new experience, and not one I want to try again. There is a reason that people read books and it is to be distracted. To escape into another world, culture, or life. And if this new life is incredibly dismal and only reminds you of everything wrong with reality then what is the point of continuing? As I said before, this is not something I would recommend for people like me. This is for people who want something thought provoking more than they want to be optimistic about life after reading it.

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