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4.6 out of 5 stars
Nineteen Eighty Four
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Showing 1-10 of 49 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on November 23, 2002
1984 is the story of the main charcter ( Winston) and his life living under the control of Big Brother. Big Brother is the "governmental" power of the time. The main slogans of the party are: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength. Throughout the book it becomes evident that the party trully believes these staements and does not let anyone else believe otherwise. We see Winston's stuggle with self control and how his meeting with Julia is what evintually takes him down. His feelings fo sin for her and his hatred of just about everything destroys him. He and Julia have several encounters and are eventually caught and only after denouncing Julia is Winston treated fairly. In the end Winston gives in and submits to the growing and ever controling power of Big Brother.
My own feelings:
This book is certainlly a strange one. In the beggining it makes you think that it is about a lunatic who wants physical attention. But then you realize that he is misguided and that ifhe would not have been corrupted by Big Brother and given some rights he wouldn't have rebelled.
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on October 12, 2002
I really enjoyed this book. But I will explain my three star review instead of 5 star later in the review. The book has excellent characterization and theme. The main character Winston is fighting big brother ie; big government. This is a nameless, faceless power structure who controls things through double think; holding two contradictory premises as being true and newspeak and other illogical and insane techniques. When I read the book through, it seemed to describe some of the methods currently being used in the real world. In the introduction, the editor claimed that the book is about power politics. This book though should not have been published. There are people now who use the techniques in this book, whether they admit it or not. For instance, before this book was published, you could start at the bottom of the ladder in a job, work hard and go to the top of the corporate ladder. Now, you have the use of double think in job situations. They tell you that to get a job you have to have prior experience. But how do you get that, if no one hires you? So it goes. The entertainment business is a prime example of double think. To get anywhere you need an agent, but an agent will tell you to get experience. Ayn Rand would have had a field day with Orwells book. The fact is truth is eternal, and the war against it as in Orwells book is bound to fail.
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on June 3, 2002
George Orewll's 1984 is truly captivating however extremely disturbing. It's a story about a cold heartless society and the eradication of, by our standards, the normal human.
With it's first copyright in 1949 it's written as an extremely pessimistic view of the future. The novel examines a socialist empire and the way they can control mankind, the future, and the past.
The book revolves around a middle aged, middle class, although extremely intelligent man. Winston Smith works as part of the government changing the past. He is constantly watched and allowed no emotions other than hate and fear. The party controls every aspect of life.
Winston can vaguely remember his childhood before Big Brother and the Party began controlling everything. He still maintains early 20th century morals and ideals of what life should be about. The book covers his rebellion against the party.
1984 is well written for the most part, however there are some parts that you have to fight to get through. For example at one point Winston obtains an anti party book, Orwell then goes into long chapters that are excerpts from this "book." These are long dry passages, that contain information that has already been reveled to the reader through indirect methods.
Overall I think that this book is a good book to read. It will improve your appreciation of life today.
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on June 3, 2002
George Orewll's 1984 is truly captivating however extremely disturbing. It's a story about a cold heartless society and the eradication of, by our standards, the normal human.
With it's first [edition] in 1949 it's written as an extremely pessimistic view of the future. The novel examines a socialist empire and the way they can control mankind, the future, and the past.
The book revolves around a middle aged, middle class, although extremely intelligent man. Winston Smith works as part of the government changing the past. He is constantly watched and allowed no emotions other than hate and fear. The party controls every aspect of life.
Winston can vaguely remember his childhood before Big Brother and the Party began controlling everything. He still maintains early 20th century morals and ideals of what life should be about. The book covers his rebellion against the party.
1984 is well written for the most part, however there are some parts that you have to fight to get through. For example at one point Winston obtains an anti party book, Orwell then goes into long chapters that are excerpts from this "book." These are long dry passages, that contain information that has already been reveled to the reader through indirect methods.
Overall I think that this book is a good book to read. It will improve your appreciation of life today.
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on May 20, 2002
I feel relatively uneasy about saying something negative for such a classic as 1984. But, learning the book's lesson about what the world would be like if one's individuality were lost, I'll say what I truly feel. I think this book is slow and depressing. In fact, the only reason that I kept reading on was because of the introduction of Julia in the story. I found her character intriguing. Why was she put there? Who is she? Can her motives be trusted? It was only after I read the story, that I realized she was created by the author for the sole purpose of being used as a barometer for Winston's (the protagonist in the story) individuality. What Julia means to Winston is an indication of how much Winston has lost of himself. His ability to think and remember the past.
In 1984, the world is divided into 3 superpowers. Winston belongs to the Ingsoc Party (a contraction of [Eng]lish [Soc]ialism) where to have thoughts in opposition or in deviance with propaganda meant capture and subsequent brainwashing by the Thought Police. Everyone in the Party is watched and monitored by telescreens (two-way TVs that broadcast as well as receive) and hidden microphones. A new language called Newspeak is a rapidly decreasing subset of English created to make the expression of rebellious thought an impossiblity. On top of this, all books and works of literature were being rewritten in Newspeak and their essential meaning contorted to serve the purposes of the Party.
If George Orwell's vision of the future haunts you, then his objective was achieved. His main goal in writing this book was to both set a mood and give a warning. The mood he sets is for what an extreme Socialist state would look like twenty years from the time he wrote the story. His warning is of what would happen if Socialism were perverted by the ruling class where power becomes an end and not just the means.
The ideas presented in this book are powerful and well thought-out. However, the story itself is dull and uneventful. If you like a story that you can read and reflect on afterwards, this is your book. If you like faster-paced stories, pass on this one.
LEAP rating (each out of 5):
============================
L (Language) - 3 (humorless, basic English dialogue)
E (Erotica) - 0.5 (go Julia go)
A (Action) - 0 (n/a - goes hand in hand with the story being dull)
P (Plot) - 3 (dull story, good vision)
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on September 26, 2001
I wouldn't know. I don't even know how to rate this book, 1 star for the spectacularly morose and hopeless ending, or 5 stars because of the wondrous writing and story-telling ability of Mr. Orwell. I've always read books to hear a story, sort of a movie for the mind if you will. In those books I pick one or more characters that I can understand and develop sympathies with, as I did almost immediately with Winston in this book.
As the setting opens, I saw this bleak, horrible future where there is no hope, where all thoughts are literally monitored by the Thought Police, where individuality is crime. And as Winston trudges through life I followed along, pulling for him, hoping for the guy, always in the back of my mind that it *will* get better for him and all the others, only if a way is found to make that happen. I recognized Big Brother as evil, and I wanted and still want to see him overthrown in my mind...the setting of the book practically demands his/thier downfall.
And then Orwell gives you hope, as Winston and newly acquired lover Julia join a resistance movement to attempt to undermine the current regime and set in place one that will better itself and more importantly it's citizens. I hoped for these people, I suffered with them. Orwell's writing is magnificent in that he makes you care about the characters he writes about as if you know them personally, which is why what he does at the end of this book is nothing short of criminal.
Even after thier capture by the Thought Police and thier torture and incarceration I couldn't help but think that somehow Winston would manage to escape and help throw down the shackles of Big Brother, but in the end all hope is ripped away. I still shake my head sadly when recalling this book feeling as though I've been cheated by the experience, with only the warning that socialism and communism do not work. Ironic that Orwell himself was a socialist, and that the ultimate bane to the world he describes is and always will be capitalism.
Recommended only for someone who will take this book and digest it as a worst case scenario for human life, and learn from it.
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on June 19, 2001
Once again, in my quest to expand my literary experience, I read '1984' because it is considered a classic. I've also been on a Utopia kick, reading books such as 'Brave New World,' 'Island,' and, of course, '1984'. In my opinion, it is a good story, but I am not very alarmed about Orwell's ominous predictions of the future. I mean...yes, the massive possibilities given us via the internet do seem to mirror those of the telescreen that always knows what Winston is doing, but I cannot forsee the decline of the human spirit. The book in itself begins interestingly enough, but by the middle, I was more interested in finding the switch to the reading light so I could drift off to sleep. There are about 20 pages that are very slow reading, but I was captivated by the last part (part 3). However, the ending left me with a very sour taste in my mouth, mainly because it is not the conclusion I would have picked; but that's kind of my point...I still have (<---if I could use italics...ooo) my opinion, and Orwell has his. I would read this book if you are interested in the Utopian works, but if you are looking for purely a good story, try Steinbeck.
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on February 17, 2000
Nineteen Eighty-four is one of those slow starters, but this does not mean it is not enjoyable. This novel takes place in 1984 when the whole western hemisphere (Oceania) is over-taken by Communism. Everything you say and do is monitored by the thought police through telescreens (television screens that have cameras built into them that monitor the place where they are placed). Winston, a man in his thirties who is against Big Brother, decides to secretly do small actions that go against the law, trying to avoid getting caught. One of these things he does is write a journal for the future describing the life now and his thoughts about the situations. During his out-lawful actions, he meets a girl named Julia. Together they commit small crimes and avoid the law. After the first part of the book, the author really gets you into the story and the environment. You feel like you have to be as quiet as possible so is not to get caught by the thought police as Winston and Julia avoid the law. I give this book three stars because though it has a slow start, it is very interesting and fun to read.
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on February 16, 1999
Get it straight, people: Orwell was writing about the time he lived in. Not the way the world would or might become, but the way it really was. It exagerrates in the extreme, of course, making _1984_ a kind of bleak satire.

It's a shame this is Orwell's most famous book, though, because in many ways it's his worst, with _Animal Farm_ being about as bad. _1984_ is one of the more overrated books of the century. I've read some of his other books (_Down and Out in Paris and London_, _Burmese Days_, _Homage to Catalonia_, etc.), along with many of his essays, and they were all superior to _1984_. Perhaps because _1984_ requires less intelligence to see its point...

Having read his less extreme fiction and non-fiction, I have come to respect Orwell deeply as a man who was honest, straightforward, very sensible, and altogether admirable. In many ways he was a remarkable man; but none of those praiseworthy qualities shows through in _1984_, where we only see dark cynicism about not only communism but also bourgeios democracy.

If you're looking for balanced, intelligent writing from Orwell, stay away from _1984_ for a while.
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on June 29, 2001
I was so lost when I first started reading this book. Orwell uses all these made-up words to describe ordinary things, and I couldn't remember them half the time. The very beginning was weird, and I didn't really understand what was happening. If we hadn't talked about it in my english class, I would still probably have no clue what it was about. There's a lot of symbolism that's really easy to miss, so it'd probably be better to not attack this one on your own. Wait until your class reads it, or your book club, or even just a few friends. Just don't try to figure everything out by yourself. If you do understand the book when you're done, you'll see that it was actually pretty interesting, and neat that Orwell, when he wrote it in 1948, actually had such advanced thoughts. Some parts are a little violent, and I don't really think there would be a point for anyone who's not in high school or older to read this book.
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