1984 | NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Paperback, Penguin Modern Classics, 355 pages, Published March 14th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published June 8th 1949)
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.
S4: E7 Sookie goes to Lorelai's the night before the Festival of Living Art in Stars Hollow. She is upset and cranky because she is very pregnant, beyond her due date, and wants to experience a normal life again, so she seeks advice from another mother.
SOOKIE: Yours came out. How'd you get yours out?
LORELAI: I swallowed a map.
SOOKIE: Cut the freaking vagueness. Why is it you mothers don't want to pass down your wisdom to other mothers? You're selfish.
LORELAI: Please, stop jiggling.
SOOKIE: Not 'til I'm skinny.
LORELAI: All right, bouncy San Pedro, can I just show you something here?
SOOKIE: You can show me your sweet tuchus as long as I can keep jiggling.
LORELAI: Fine, keep jiggling. I was just going through something, I thought you might be interested. It's from 1984.
SOOKIE: The book?
LORELAI: No, the year. It's my baby box. It's full of all these little things, mementos and stuff from the night Rory was born. I haven't taken it out in ages.
I get a kick out of even Rory's birth year correlating with a famous novel. This is the type of full-circle thinking or perhaps convenient coincidence that this show is absolutely brilliant for. It is a small reference, but one that continues to envelop and shape Rory's bookish character.
"It was of its nature impossible. Either the future would resemble the present, in which case it would not listen to him: or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless." - Part 1, Chapter 1
"But she only questioned the teachings of the Party when they in some way touched upon her own life. Often she was ready to accept the official mythology, simply because the difference between truth and falsehood did not seem important to her." - Part 2, Chapter 5
"Why should the fruit be held inferior to the flower?" - Part 2, Chapter 10
Will Winston find a comrade by the true definition of the word? How mindless are we truly? Are there other people that feel the way we feel? How relevant is doublethink, and are we all considered naturally alone in our thinking if we don't extend our thoughts to others? Can we experience the same consciousness as other people? This dystopian novel awakens questions about our mere existence that we often don't even realize because we aren't experiencing the clarity of our own pure thinking. If the majority of our information comes from outside sources, how much of our daily mental process is solely hearsay?
WHAT THE WHAT?:
George Orwell's 1984 was written in between two wars, and Orwell worked as a propagandist for BBC during WWII. As irony goes, while writing a book about Big Brother watching, Orwell was under government surveillance by the British government for suspicion of holding socialist opinions. His book remains on the world's top ten list of most frequently banned books, banned for both anti-communist and pro-communist views.
CARO'S RATING: 4 of 5 STARS
Orwell's book is presented in three parts, each with its own segmented idea. I found Part 1 to be the most widely relevant, speaking for our metaphysical existence, existential crises, and the idea that if we're experiencing from our own informational input, can our perception be wrong? Orwell presents the idea of cognitive dissonance and the very nature of what it is to be human. He welcomes questioning of what and who we're surrounding ourselves with and the relative experience of our mental world fitting in with the physical world. This section alone I would have given five stars because it contributes such astutely phrased questions that all humans struggle with on variant terms.
I found Part 2 and 3 more controversial in terms of being normative human thinking for a total population. Julia confounded me in the sense that she is portrayed as such a flippant rebel. She believed in the cause, but only from an anarchist standpoint. I think portraying the only active woman in the novel as a rebel "from the waist down" is misogynistic to all women in terms where the book is meant to expel this very type of thinking. Winston talks of the extreme violence that he intended for her, only for her to accept and approve of it. To be against "the man" why are we so approving of the same type of problematic system in relation to gender? Isn't Julia accepting a subset of the doublethink she's allegedly against?
The New York Times: Which Dystopian Novel Got It Right: 1984 or Brave New World?
The Guardian: Sales of George Orwell's 1984 Surge after Political Comments
Foundation for Economic Education: 10 Things You Never Knew About 1984 The New Yorker: So Are We Living in 1984?
Follow me on Goodreads
Follow my progress on The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge
Did I miss a book cameo or reference? Send me a DM on Instagram or Twitter or contact me on my homepage!