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Av 1984 - 3 juni 2010 18:13

A few years ago I was on my way to a competition and I slept on youth hostel called “Esperantogården”. I thereby became acquainted with the artificial language called “Esperanto”. It was made by dr L.L Zamenhof in 1887 to simplify communication between countries and therefore diminish the misunderstandings and conflicts in the world. The language was meant to serve as a second language in every country. Since his intention was that it was going to be taught in every nation and learned by generally everyone, he made it as a mixture of many languages. However, the most essential part is that he made it very simple and easy to comprehend. Compared to other existing languages Esperanto had very few exceptions when it came to rules and word order etc. Since I am not the greatest fan of studying language, lo and behold, the language instantly caught my interest. It was very tempting because of the logical construction and almost total absence of exceptions.

Still, my point is that the language “Newspeak” brought this to my mind when reading the appendix to the novel. To some extent the two languages (“Esperanto” and “Newspeak”) resemble each other. First of all they both are artificially made by human, every language spoken by mankind is of course made by human, but what I mean is that they are created during a relatively short period of time and they are built from the foundation. On the contrary, every “regular” language has evolved trough time from the same early sounds that our ancestors long time ago managed to utter. They have all taken different paths to the condition that they are in now. Newspeak and Esperanto however are both results of dramatic changes of current languages. Newspeak is a product of English while Esperanto is a compound of several languages.

Secondly, they both are founded on logic and easily comprehensible rules. For example, in Newspeak there is only one way of turning a noun in to an adverb or adjective, you simply add the suffix –ful to turn it into an adjective and –wise to turn it in to a adverb, thus speed becomes speedful and speedwise. This may sound convenient and may as well be, however the absence of variation should probably make the art of literature and even common oral conversations utterly deficient.


Av 1984 - 2 juni 2010 18:00

Winston changes during the story. In the beginning he is a bit negative towards The Party and his contempt for it and the happenings increase, maybe because the influence of Julia and her attitude to The Party, but in the end he is indoctrinated and ends up loving The Party more than anything. He had his freedom, but it turned out to be slavery. I believe Orwell wishes to show his readers that if you spend too long time in an environment like in Oceania you, like Winston, will sooner or later go with the flow and consider it the best thing in the world. One aspect of why he indicates this might be due to the fact that many of the allied stated that every citizen in Nazi-Germany was a Nazi, believing all the same as the Nazi leaders, and later on accused them of not doing anything when they heard of concentration camps. The Germans on the other hand were deceived and just followed the crowd (people are liquid) and even if they believed the concentration camps to be true, they could not prove the existence and the horrible on goings. Another problem turned out to be the gathering of enough people to force the Nazis to put a stop to it. The act of resistance was illegal.

Another thing indicating that freedom is slavery is the fact that The Party is limiting the language in order to minimize the use of words and thereby taking away the possibilities of thinking for oneself. The Party should do all thinking for you. Again Orwell shows how important it is to think for yourself, because the people in the 50’s did not think for themselves really, especially not during WW2. If thinking for yourself you would probably get arrested and be forced to confess that you’ve lied and really believe the “right things” just as Winston is “forced” to do.

Concerning communism and equality, the war bring ransoms and Winston’s edition of “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM” stated that the war is necessary in order to have the ransoms and therefore the people would agree to having their “luxury” withdrawn. Furthermore, the “Inner Party” members would instead get hold of many luxurious products such as sugar or coffee. It is true that in some communistic countries the leaders had it significantly better than the common man. Orwell gives his readers a hint that many people did never realize the politicians had it a lot better than they.


From my point of view, Orwell struggles to convince his readers that all things happening in Oceania could just as well take place in a dictatorship, such as in Nazi-Germany or the Soviet Union. He does this by telling the story about Winston in ways like how he is affected by the plot of the book and his thoughts and reflectance about it. Orwell writes about actions which the present man finds very unlikely to happen in our part of the world, while the people in 1950 (after the World War II) knew such actions really took place or strongly suspected they took place.

Take the constant monitoring from the telescreens, which are located everywhere. The inhabitants in Oceania are constantly surveiled and if thinking disagreeably with The Party they would face charges in Thought Crime. This is similar to the SS in Nazi-Germany. The people of Oceania are monitored in an equivalent way to the people in Nazi-Germany. I believe Orwell wants the reader to see for oneself what it was like living in a dictatorship especially during WW2. Orwell does therefore present his text in a very certain but critical way in order to prove these actions real and not fictitious (though it may be fiction). Ordinary people, like Julia, knew or suspected the bugging to be true. Julia even states that “I bet that picture’s got bugs behind it” I find this rather amusing because it turned out to be true. They actually were bugged but never had a thought of it, just as any person in a dictatorship. In addition to the most useful usage of the telescreens as described above, one can see another usage; the symbolic use. The Nazis had the swastika almost everywhere in order to create unity and to scare the people, to remind them what would happen if they were negative towards the Hitler regime.


Av 1984 - 2 juni 2010 17:20

When reading this novel, many questions appear. Why did Orwell write this and whom was he writing for? Was the book written for the future, for the people of his time, or mainly for his own need to express his anxiety and hatred?  Perhaps is it a mix of them all. Orwell’s novel unquestionably catches my interest, and obviously, I live in the future of his time. For that reason, if the book was written for people living in the future, he definitely succeeded.

The book is filled with many complicated words and terms. Moreover, I find the language quite complicated from time to time. Therefore, in my opinion, the readers of the book have to be slightly older (or extra gifted in language). In addition, in order to be able truly to understand the meaning of the book, one must have knowledge in society, history, and politics. Although I believe, the book definitely is readable either way, since the novel itself is very thrilling and moving.      

Finally, the novel is well adjust to somewhat advanced readers, and as I have mentioned before, it leaves you with many thoughts about politics, supervision, war and the future in general, which almost certainly was exactly what Orwell wanted.  


Av 1984 - 2 juni 2010 16:23

As mentioned previously in different ways,”1984” is a highly political novel. Intended to affect and enlarge the reader’s view of society and hopefully, according to Orwell, amend it. To do so Orwell endeavors to use an advanced language, and in many respects he also succeeds. “1984” is not preferably meant to entertain, but to affect. That is one reason for using an advanced language. Because low level vocabulary has a tendency to make the author look slightly uneducated, this in its turn means that the authenticity and cogency of the arguments agitated decreases. Therefore, by avoiding that, his novel has a greater likelihood to influence and perhaps change the readers mind.

Secondly, the setting has great importance in the novel. First and foremost, the title has been set to “1984” by Orwell. This at the time of the writing was in a relatively near future. Only that fact increases the curiosity among people, and since the novel is meant to influence, it is positive considering that more persons presumably will read it. Moreover, the environment in the story is essential for the theme. By describing a nightmarish scenario where you cannot shun from the government’s supervision, not even in your own home, Orwell intend to frighten the reader for what may be reality in just a few decades. There is a great number of details described that, I assume the lion’s share of the readers find unpleasant and would not enjoy in their daily life. For example the fact that everyone has to wear the same kind of clothes, or being served the same kind of food in the canteen every day. These kinds of details may appear to be rather insignificant. Nevertheless, they make the story more elaborated and substantial and to some extent more trustworthy.


Av 1984 - 31 maj 2010 22:57

I decided to look more at the recurring Party slogans, this time at “WAR IS PEACE”. My father and I had a discussion about dictatorship contra democracy. We along with Winston found out that in order for BB (or the dictator) to maintain a leading figure he must have control of the media (as mentioned in “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”) and thereby controlling the inhabitants. My father and I concluded that in a group or a country where the individuals have disagreement(s) or problem(s), a quick way to unite them would be to make them fight for a common cause and thereby making them forget their own fight momentarily. Everybody in Oceania believes that the war is more important than their conflict(s). Take a look at Nazi-Germany; Hitler managed to unite (almost) every German man and woman against the Jews blaming the Jews for all bad things in Germany. That was one factor which made him such a powerful leader; everyone believed he was right!

In summary, instead of fighting against each other or fighting against the dictator with the opportunity/risk of overthrowing him, the individuals are united and support the dictator in his/her choices. After all, they are at war and losing a war no one wants.

If you’ve seen “Wag the Dog” (1997) you realise the importance of independent media and even more the importance of the people looking at the media censoriously. I believe that Orwell wants the people of the 50’s, when the novel was published, and modern readers that just because a nation is at war the inhabitants must not go with the flow but to do the right thing; fight for their rights.

“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire



Av 1984 - 31 maj 2010 17:18

”The easiest way to control a human mind is through fear and pain”

Winston and Julia are being arrested for their sexual activities, thinking they had excess to a room without a telescreen. They are finding out the opposite in the very moment of the arrestment, and are both being brought away for torture. As a long painful torture on the rack possesses, O´Brien is trying to “re-build” Winston’s mind and forces him to forget the past and his own believes. He tries to make Winston believe that his mind is playing tricks with him and that he is only going to make it right again.

Having read the book “Shutter Island,” one realizes how easy it can be to be fooled into madness. If someone tells you that everyone around you is perfectly normal, while you are the one who is strange, you will eventually fail to resist the “facts” yourself. The same strategy is being used by O´Brien as well, and in the end of the book Winston seems to be brainwashed to a great extent, due to the fact that he truly seems to love Big Brother. It may be, that he had become happier living in a lie, eluding the doubt and the “doublethink.” Maybe, in the society in 1984, it is easier and more harmless just to follow the stream and not your own mind. It is indeed a nightmare-society, where people no longer own their souls, or their minds. In a society where your own mind and intellect will become your biggest enemy, would you choose the easy way and close your eyes for the obvious?      

It is frightening to read about how Winston disappears more and more, and is eventually turned into some sort of “mind-robot.” As for example, O´Brian convinces him that if the government tells him that 2+2 equals five, then that is the right answer. After repeated torture procedures, Winston seems to accept the fact that the answer must be five. I share Winston’s feeling of despair throughout the entire process, and keep wonder why Orwell did not write a happy conclusion. It may be that he simply did not see a happy future, or perhaps, he just wanted to enlighten the brutality in the world, which he predicted. He possibly also wanted the reader to leave the book with a feeling of despair and sorrow, as well as filled with thoughts concerning freedom of the press and speech, supervision and authority. Maybe Orwell was hoping that his readers would never become those who just stand aside, watching the world move in the wrong direction.


Av 1984 - 30 maj 2010 21:30

When reading 1984 by George Orwell one can clearly see the similarities with a dictatorship. Take, for example, the business Winston is working at. He, along with his colleges, re-writes news items and burns the old ones. When it comes to independent media, Oceania’s lack is extreme. The Party’s slogan “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” can have different meanings, but as far as I am concerned Orwell wants to show us the power of controlling the media at the same time as the inhabitants lack qualities of looking at the media with criticism (of its sources). When the media is controlled and news items can be “corrected” after printed the state can make anything look bad or good. If for instance the chocolate ransom is reduced, the government can erase, and change, all traces of the chocolate ransom before the reduction. When doing so, they can make the decrease an increase, because there are no documents left to tell another story.

Moreover, one must not forget that this novel was written recently after world war two, and therefore is inspired by Nazi-Germany. The previous paragraph illustrates the same conditions as Nazi-Germany had. Hitler and his associates had absolute control of the media and its power. Orwell wants to open his fellow citizens’ eyes. This has been going on for too long, and it will go on even today if we, the readers, watchers, listeners etc. stop looking at the media censoriously.


Av 1984 - 30 maj 2010 11:58

Since Anders has already been describing the plot of the book, I decided to broach the subject considering the world´s appearance and the political aspects in 1984.

Initially, the word is divided into three world emporiums, Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania, in which Winston himself lives. Oceania is in alliance with Eastasia. Together they are making war against Eurasia. No one really seems to know why, thus the war has no historical beginning and no visual end. As Big brother controls the past and the future, everything that is considered right now is being changed in history to fit today´s believes. Newspapers and speeches are being rewritten in order to destroy the past end make it more modern. In that way, the party will approach as the perfect party, which has never done, or said, anything wrong. Consequently, no one will be having anything to put against it, not from today´s happenings, nor happenings to be found in history. Winston work includes re-writing the past at The Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), and therefore he notices what is going on.

Due to the constant supervision from the party through the telescreens, no one has the chance to speak to one another about what they noticing. As Anders wrote, an opposition is therefore troublesome to build. Winston is constantly reminding himself of the fact that he is being watched and is afraid to make any move that would show his dislike, even though he still is an exceptional member of party. (Not considering the fact that he is writing a diary, which is not accepted). Moreover, the Party is creating a new language, “Newspeak,” which does not include any words that makes it possible to utter dislikes in any way. This of course prevents the building of an opposition as well.

Moreover, there are no such thing as laws in this world, although there are many things to be punished for. One thing that I especially reacted on while reading, is that looking at people being hanged is considered an enjoyment. At one point in the very first part of the book, Winston helps a neighbor with her sink. Her kids are constantly nagging about go down town to watch the hanging. Not only is it remarkable that they are seeing that as amusing, they already seem to be true subscribers of the party and have been learning to blindly follow Big Brother. What happens later in the novel is yet to be seen, although I believe, that if someone can make a change, it must be a person who has been living in times before Big Brother, and seen how the word has changed.

Oceania is being lead by “the party”; it is simply called that since there is only one. It is pure dictatorship and the society is build upon English socialism (INGSOC) and is consequently communistic. Everyone is working, in some way, for the party, and everything people own comes from the party. It feels almost like an extreme depiction of today´s China (where people also are being hardly monitored), or former Soviet. The strong dictatorship and all the terrible executes, seems influenced by the second world war, Big Brother figuring as Hitler. This might have been what Winston had in mind while writing the book, as it was written just after the end of World War 2.



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