Monthly Archives: May 2011
George Orwell a.k.a Eric Blair was born in 1903 in Motihari, Bengal. He was one of two children, his mother took his sister and him to England and he would not see his father until 1907. He started school at the Anglican Parish school, but impressed his teachers so much that he was recommended for one of the most successful prep schools in England, and there he finished his education. He received scholarships to multiple colleges, Wellington and Eton, he attended Wellington for just one term before switching to Eton. At Eton some of the teachers would claim that he was disrespectful, but others would disagree. He did not further his education after Eton, instead he joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. After realizing that he hated imperialism he returned to England. It was then he adopted the pen name of George Orwell and began writing. As most writers do, Orwell lived in poverty for several years, at times he was even homeless. Eventually Orwell found work as a school teacher until he fell ill, and was forced to take up work in a secondhand book shop.
Then, the Spanish Civil War broke out, and Orwell volunteered to fight against the republicans and a Nationalist uprising. After being shot in the neck, and almost having his wife, Eileen, and himself arrested, Orwell and Eileen fled Spain. Orwell’s overall views were against Stalin, always, even after we was done fighting and Spain and had left. Orwell was married to Eileen O’Shaughness from 1936 to 1945, in 1945 Eileen died during an operation. Before Eileen died Orwell and Eileen had adopted a son. Shortly before Orwell’s death he married Sonia Brownell. Orwell spent his last four years of life in the hospital until he died in 1949 of Tuberculosis.
During Orwell’s lifetime he wrote many novels, they include, Burmese Days, A Clergyman’s Daughter, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Coming Up for Air, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Most of Orwell’s novels were semi-autobiographical,Burmese Days was inspired by his period working as an imperial policeman and is fictionalized; Down and Out in Paris and London records his experiences tramping and teaching in those two cities; The Road to Wigan Pier is initially a study of poverty in the north of England, but ends with an extended biographical essay of Orwell’s experiences with poverty; and Homage to Catalonia recounts his experiences volunteering to fight fascism in anarchist Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War (Fenwick). George Orwell’s stories have inspired many dystopian films, and just films based on his books (Animal Farm).
Along with multiple books, Orwell wrote MANY essays. Orwell got at least one essay published every year from 1931 to 1949. The subjects of these essays ranged from all different categories.
Weeks have passed, and now, I have officially finished my final book of high school. 1984, while I cannot say it was least favorite book, (I read “The Tempest”) it was not my favorite book. I would probably not recommend this book to my friends, because like me, they enjoy love stories, like Nicholas Sparks. However, for people who enjoy an almost Sci-Fi style of writing, this would be a perfect read. If I were a person who likes a good dystopian story, this book would be right up my ally. I think that for a dystopian novel it is written very well,it really does make you just look at the world of the people in this book, and truly feel bad for them. This book makes you ask yourself a lot of questions. Could this happen in our society today? Well, I sure hope not, I hope that people now are smart enough to not allow it to happen. Though with some of the people I have met, the world might not be smart enough to keep this from happening. Who is Big Brother, and is he really watching? Honestly, I do not think Big Brother is anyone. I think there is a group of people who want to be the ultimate leaders. I think that they are looking after people to make sure that the people of the society do not become smart enough to realize that the Big Brother they are looking up to does not exist. All in all, it was a book that I could manage to get through, but not a book I would go back to when I wanted to read a good book, as I often reread a lot of books. I like books that do not make you think much, they just flow in your mind. 1984 made me think, and it actually made me kind of sad, because I do not like seeing people being oppressed as they were in this book, I just wish I could dive into the book and make them make sense of what was going on. Read this book if you like a good book that makes your life look good, but if you want a book that you can just mindlessly read and love, then I recommend a good love story written by Nicholas Sparks!
So, I thought I would let you know my opinion thus far of who “Big Brother” is. Honestly, I do not think “Big Brother” is any specific person. I do not honestly think that one person can have that much power. I think that “Big Brother” is a group of people who made up who they want people to think “Big Brother” is. That group of people is controlling the whole society of Oceania, not just one person. Because if there was just one person who was truly that power, wouldn’t he be out being seen by the people so that they know that he is truly watching. But, so far, “Big Brother” has yet to be seen. So, I don’t think the all-powerful “Big Brother” exists.
Initially, I thought that I was going to absolutely hate this book, because as we all know, I am a modern Hippie who loves her some peace. Well, my opinion has changed a little. While I will not say that I have grown to love this book, I will say that I have started to hate this book less. In fact, I could even say that I kind of like it. Along with being a hippie, I am a romantic. I love the romance. So, now that we have a little bit of romance in this story I find it easier to read. I still at times find it hard to read, because it makes me mad that they can just simply erase history, and someone can just disappear without people even questioning where they are and if they are okay. I hope that as I keep reading this book, I will start to like it more. Because, it is the last book I will ever read in High School. It has to have good memories, or I will forget it, just like I forgot the first book I read in high school.
In this section of reading, one of the main things you see, is the blossoming romance between Winston and Julia. With Winston’s love, came a lot of loss. But, not loss of good things, that would make him sad to lose, but loss of bad things that make him happy to leave them behind. As Winston and Julia’s love blossomed, his drinking problem went away, along with his ulcer, varicose veins, and coughing fit. He no longer felt that life was intolerable, he did not feel the urge to make faces at the telescreen. He was happy and nothing else seemed to matter to him. I think this is very symbolic. Before Julia. Winston was plagued with many bad things and feelings. But, after Julia they are all gone. Julia brought out the good in Winston. I think Julia and Winston’s relationship is symbolic for having control. Winston and Julia have control of their relationship which makes them happy, and makes them almost forget how they have no control in all the other aspects of their life.
1.”WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” Page 87. This quote is significant because it is the Party’s three slogans. The slogans make the people of Oceania see that to be at peace, they have to be in war. If they were free that would be a horrible form of slavery. Also, that if you are ignorant you are strong.
2.”Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?…”- Syme to Winston. Page-46; This quote is significant because it shows the true point of Newspeak. I believe everyone feels the same way as Syme, but no one is willing to say it out loud.
3. “One of these days, thought Winston with sudden deep conviction, Syme will be vaporized. He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly. The Party does not like such people. One day he will disappear. It is written in his face.” Page 47. This quote is significant in several ways. It shows that Winston really sees why people are vaporized, it shows that Winston understands what is right and wrong according to the party, and it shows how Winston feels about Syme.
4.”I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY.” Page 68. I think this quote is very significant. It shows us that Winston really just does not understand why the Party would need to falsify the past. Of course he knows how, because he does it, he just does not understand why.
5. “Winston had dropped his habit of drinking gin at all hours. He seemed to have lost the need for it. He had grown fatter his varicose ulcer had subsided, leaving only a brown stain on the skin above his ankle, his fits of coughing had ceased to be intolerable, he had no long any impulse to make faces at the telescreen or shout curses at the top of his voice.” Page 124 This quote shows that now that Winston has love in his life, and happiness in his life, the hardships do not matter. With love came a loss for all things that made him ache with hatred, his ulcer, his skinny, varicose veined body, the telescreens, everything. Because, with love, nothing else matters.
6. “You are a flaw in the pattern, Winston. You are a stain that must be wiped out.” Page 210 This quote shows how Winston does not fit in with society, how he defies he, how he is therefore different, and people in Eurasia cannot be different, and so Winston is not allowed to be different.
7. “Does the Brotherhood even exist?” Page 214 This quote shows that Winston is questioning the Brotherhood, he is realizing that the things that the Brotherhood has been telling him may not be true, and that it might not even exist.
8.“He accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past never had been alterable.” Page 228 This quote shows Winston giving into the society that the Brotherhood had made. He accepted that he might have known that the past had been changed before, but now he thinks that it was not altered. It’s almost like the “if you can’t beat them, join them” saying.
9. “At the apex of the pyramid comes Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful” Page 170 This quote shows how powerful Big Brother is in the Oceania society. Big Brother is above all.
10. “He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother” Page 245 This quote is important, not only because it is the last sentences in the book, but it is also important because it shows Winston’s change. We knew Winston as defiant against Big Brother. This quote shows that he is a different Winston then we knew throughout most of the book.
In this section of reading we learn a little more about Winston’s job. His job is rewriting history, or as they like to refer to it as, “rectifying” history. Basically Winston changes the history to make it so people know only what “Big Brother” wants them to know.
To be honest I think the whole “rectifying” history thing is just plain stupid. Actually, it is wrong and stupid. History is our past, it is important; it is how we came to be how we are today. Yes, it may be bad, gross, and mind boggling, but we learn from it. That is why history is important, so we can learn to not do that mind boggling thing again. But, that is why “Big Brother” wants history rectified, so that the people do not learn from it, and do not learn that they can change the society they live in. The society they live in is truly a dystopian society. The changing history thing? That is just a small part of it.
This book immediately (within the first 5 pages) became a book that I am not too fond of. If you know me, you know that I am not a huge fan of war. In fact, I hate it. I hate all violence. So, when, in the first five pages, the book introduces that “War is Peace”, you know that I had to disagree. I know this is a dystopian book and that it is supposed to make the world seem kind of awful, but still. I am not sure that this is going to be a book that I am a fan of.