Book Club hosted by Sache8 -- Book for June/July is 1984 by George Orwell -- Come on In!!

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Sache8, Jun 19, 2002.

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  1. Sache8 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2000
    star 4
    Well, here's the deal. A couple weeks back, I asked around to find out who'd be interested in a book club here on the JC. A few people were, so I took suggestions and we voted on 1984 as our first choice.


    So pick up a copy, do some reading and join us. Or, if you've read it already, and have something of interest and value to add to our discussion, come on in.


    This is sort of a trial run for me, so I'm gonna play it by ear as far as set-up, so right now I only have a couple guidelines.

    1. Just a general, all-around rule of common curtesy. No flaming other people's ideas. We're all adults here, let's have a discussion, not a lot of hot air.

    2. I respectfully ask that you refrain from any swearing or vulgarity in general. I am a very conservative Christian girl, and to quote the illustrious Padmé "it makes me feel uncomfortable." Now don't worry, I don't come to the forums to preach to everyone. Usually, if a thread gets too rough for my tastes I just avoid it, but as this is my thread I think that would be tough.


    So let it begin.


    Like I said, I'm not sure how the best way to do this would be. I think first we could try to read the book in sections. 1984 doesn't have a very convenient chapter set-up. It's more like major sections with smaller sub-sections. So for now we'll just stick to the first major section, "One."

    I first started this thread in the JC Community, but someone pointed out this new Amphitheatre board and I agree that it fits better here. But as a few people had already posted replies check out the original thread as well (Including my own first impressions).

    1984 discussion

  2. Arfour_Peeseventeen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2002
    star 4
    I'll repost what I put in the YJCC:


    I think one of the most powerful scenes in the book is when Winston is imprisoned and he goes through emotional and physical torture that wears him down until he ultimately accepts the fact that "he loves Big Brother". I really didn't care for the "sad" ending to the book; I would've really prefered the Resistance (or whatever they were called) to actually have existed and not another creation of Big Brother. It's quite an enjoyable book (much better than Animal Farm, IMHO). Second best dystopian novel. Ever. I really liked Fahrenheit 451 better, mainly because of the "happier" ending
    />/>

    It's quite a wonderful book. The ending pages were frightening... :_| And it all seems so plausible :_| ... />/>
  3. Sache8 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2000
    star 4
  4. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    I?m just popping in to tell people about two other book clubs active in here at the moment: The Mayflower and The Tavern. The Mayflower is a Science Fiction club, the Tavern is for fantasy. We tend to discuss our genres as a whole, but we each have a ?Book of the Week? that a leading member suggests. These Books of the Week are chosen to showcase high quality works of science fiction and fantasy that most people probably have not yet read, from a variety of sub-genres and styles.
  5. MasterPulp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2002
    star 3
    I just finished the first chapter yesterday and was really struck by Emmanuel Goldstein and his religious significance.

    First his name, Emmanuel is used in the bible, I believe, prophetically as the name of Christ. He also looks like a sheep, and the Christ is the Lamb of God. He's a jew and Gold connotes royalty and riches at least a little bit.

    It makes me think of the Marx quote "religion is the opium of the masses." The Party uses EG and The Brotherhood, not only something to hate, but something to believe in; to give them hope.

    When I read this when I was younger, I hadn't thought of that. Anyway, that's just my two cents so far.
  6. Sache8 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2000
    star 4
    Hmmn. I guess having this thread is not the most optimal way to read the book with an unspoiled mind.


    I read the second section today.


    Horrible children. Yech. Brainwashing the kids, a very smart way to go for Big Brother. Reminds me of a short story I read in high school called "The Children's Story" in my science fiction class. Very good story, I should find it again, but I don't remember the author.


    I'm really amazed at how many deep thoughts are crammed into this text right from the get-go. It's defenitely the sort of reading that needs to be digested slowly.
  7. neimoidian_85 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 1999
    star 4
    In George Orwell's biography, it states that he is an atheist and that Big Brother is actually a mockery of God.

    You can never see Him, but you always fear Him.
  8. Greesha Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2002
    star 3
    I read 1984 a few years ago, but I don't remember it that well, if I get a chance I'll reread it and join in the discussion.
  9. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    I think 1984 is much better that Brave New World or F451, which was stupid.

    This book definately changed the way I thought about security cameras.

    I also agree that Big Brother is a mockery of God, because I was sitting in Church about a week after I read the book, and I saw quite a few similarities.
  10. SCOTSSITHLORD Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 2
    It's years since I last read 1984, in fact it was one of three books I chose for my english course long, long ago, when I wrote a dissertation on anti-heroes, the others being The Iron Heel and Brave New World.
    Orwell's literary genius was complimented by his astute political sense and journalistic talent. 1984 is a damning critique of stalinism, which Orwell had experienced first hand in Barcelona, where he was very fortunate to escape with his life after being accused of sympathising with the POUM, and the anarchists.
    The central idea about falsifying history, comes directly from the Soviet union, where Stalin had photos in the newspaper archives destroyed and others doctored to rewrite the past and eradicate any mention of Trotsky and exaggerate his own significance.
    I think the scene at the end where Winston is finally a broken man, whilst deeply depressing is a superb piece of drama, and reminiscent of Randall P McMurphys fate in One Flew Over the cuckoos nest.
    Orwell's attention to detail is superb, every little aspect of this nightmarish world is revealed in the detail, from the horrors of victory gin, to the anti-sex league, where Orwell shows he's got a very satirical sense of humour.
    I'd definitely recommend that everyone reads this book, in fact I'm off to get it from my local library as it's been a few years since I last read it.
  11. Sache8 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2000
    star 4
    *Sigh*


    Well, I hate to say it, but circumstances have arisen that I won't be able to participate anymore. I feel really bad for starting & not finishing, but it just isn't going to work for me. Darth Real Life, Time Constraints & all.

    So you guys can still discuss, I just won't be able to join you.

    Thanks for your interest.

    Sorry again.
  12. eaglejedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2001
    star 5
    Well, the book wasn't only a criticism of Stalinism. Orwell drew inspiration and ideas for the Party and Ingsoc from many nations and systems during several different parts of the 20th Century.

    Orwell himself, as far as I can remember, believed in democratic socialism. Therefore, he wanted people to be on guard against dictatorships of the right and left. However, some have put forward theories that he was an informant for MI5, which have not yet, as far as I can tell, been substantiated.

    Some of the things that happen in 1984 now seem quite reminiscent of contemporary America.

    My sophomore year in high school, my English teacher had us read Don Dellilo's White Noise, a book about the power of the media and consumerism/commercialism in American society. When we started discussing advertising making one feel inadequate until advertised items are purchased, it reminded me of 1984, because advertising works in part by self-hatred.

    "Past civilizations claimed to be founded on love or justice. Ours is founded on hatred."
    -O'Brien.

    Also, look at the way the American government used the "Evil Empire" and threat of communism as a justification for high military spending, coups that overthrew unfavorable or "Marxist" democratic governments in Central and South America and replaced them with favorable neofascist or nationalist dictators, illegal domestic espionage by the CIA, and McCarthyism.
    During the era of McCarthy and HUAC, individuals were punished for such things as their political persuasion- in other words, for their thoughts, not their actions. Does this not sound like the idea of "thoughtcrime" and the Thought Police?

    Keep in mind that substantial evidence now suggests that the actual threat from the Soviet military was for many years overstated and overplayed by the American military/industrial complex, political elite, and intelligence community. The "missile gap" was a lie; the US for a long time had more warheads, and more reliable deployment systems. Especially in the area of submarines, a critical second-strike weapon.

    And still today, the American government- I say government, because it's not limited to a particular party or apparent political wing- uses the War on Terrorism and the terrorist threat to justify further violations of and restrictions on civil liberties and dissent from the government's policies.
    Does this not sound to anyone like the way the Party operates, using the threats of Eurasia or, alternately, Eastasia, to keep the population loyal, united, and un-thinking?

    Also notice the way that nations and groups formerly considered war criminals or enemies can suddenly become allies of the United States, and then their crimes are forgotten, although I do not believe this phenomenon is limited to this country. This is similar to the way Oceania's enemy is always switching from Eurasia to Eastasia and back again.
  13. DarthYama Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 4
    I don't think Eurasia and Eastasia are doing anything. Oceania is bombing its own prole neighborhoods.
  14. eaglejedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2001
    star 5
    It's possible, but unsupported by evidence.
    In any case, the threat is manufactured, rather than real, which is the point.
  15. ccabas Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2002
    star 1
    I am new to the rooms. I would like to participate in the Orwell reading. Are you beginning reading now?
  16. eaglejedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2001
    star 5
    I think they already read it.
    According to the thread title, 1984 is the book for June/July, which means they will probably have an August or August/September one soon.
    Of course, one never knows, maybe they're behind schedule.
  17. Lord_Riven Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 4
    I read Orwell and it was so depressing. Unfortunately I'm stuck with it for school so I guess I'll have to put up with it.
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