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Reading of the first 200 pages begins Friday, June 25th and goes for 7 days.
Discussion is always welcome during your reading progress -- just remember to record your current page number in the subject line so people know where you're coming from.

And hey! <blockquote> was made for book quotes</blockquote>!

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
carielewyn
Jul. 2nd, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Re: End of Part II, Chapter IX / Page 292 (my copy)
"LAUGHABLE" and "TEABAGGERS"
you're right in that it's hard to believe it could ever actually happen; i found it hard to believe as well. no, there isn't a real threat - if you take it literally... but since it's an over-exaggerated joke about where society might end up if we're not careful, then i think we're supposed to laugh.

there is a real resemblance between teaparty extremists and the 2 minutes hate. so maybe it IS a real terror, you just have to substitute certain words for others more pertinent to today's issues.

"LACK-LUSTER HERO"
he may not be the brightest or most vigorous guy on earth oceania, but he's the only one really questioning this lifestyle he grew up in, which is hard to do when that's all you've ever known (especially when nobody around you has ever tried to question anything). he does actually grow a pair when he rents the room and reads the manifesto out loud. and to prove that that's when he crossed the line, he gets taken down immediately after :)

"CYNICISM = BEST DEFENSE"
that's the point of the book, he's being overly negative so as to wake us up. clearly, it didn't work. people read this, took it literally, and pointed the finger at china and russia while continuing to miss the point of their own society.
(Deleted comment)
carielewyn
Jul. 3rd, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
Re: End of Part II, Chapter IX / Page 292 (my copy)
here's how i would be in this situation: i'd commit suicide.

there's no hope this late in the story because people have let the party get out of hand. i think orwell's point is that we should be careful because once we let it get too far it may be beyond control like it is for this poor sap.

not funny ha-ha, but funny as in it's an impossible reality. even though the new language they invented did make me laugh a few times.
(Deleted comment)
carielewyn
Jul. 2nd, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Re: End of Part II, Chapter IX / Page 292 (my copy)
"MORALITY TRANSCENDS RELIGION NOW"
i said in my last reply that we didn't get orwell's point, but i didn't mean that we aren't changing. i just meant we didn't start changing because of his book.

i do agree that we are slowly growing more artistic and less repressed. certain human feelings when acted upon are no longer punishable by death, etc. and it's great to see morality on the rise without religion as the figurehead.

i've read the book before so i won't comment any further on the rest.
faeness
Jul. 3rd, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
Re: End of Part II, Chapter IX / Page 292 (my copy)
I don't think that Julia or Winston are anything other than stand-ins for Orwell's political agenda. You're right; we don't care about either of them - although Julia's more interesting of the two. Both of them are flawed - Winston with his fatalism and Julia with her selfishness - and neither look to be very effective in fighting the power (fist-pump).

What's Orwell doing, here? Why don't we care? Maybe we're not supposed to like either of them. Maybe his criticism isn't with the political system or the government of control, but rather with the people who live in it (and tacitly allow it to happen). I really kinda hate both of them.

I hate Oceania, too, but I really hate Winston and Julia.

I hope they both DIAFKTHX. LULZ
carielewyn
Jul. 3rd, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
Re: End of Part II, Chapter IX / Page 292 (my copy)
you guys keep saying you don't like the main characters, and i agree; i can't stand their attitudes either. but i think we are supposed to be repulsed by the characters because orwell is trying to tell us that they could be us in the future just as much as he's saying oceania could be our organizations in the future. he's all: "don't die in a fire, k? thanks, bye!" and then he dies.
carielewyn
Jul. 2nd, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
my take on the first half
i think this story is a satire of the illusion of totalitarian benevolence both governmental and religious. the former, literally describing our past (orwell's recent past, at the time) and the latter, figuratively and in reference to our future. since he was, after all, dying when he wrote this, and people tend to have their most epic thoughts on the importance of life and the universe during that time. oh, yeah, and he was an atheist.

orwell is trying to show us how easily free thought can be oppressed by fear brought on by political and religious organizations.

he does so with his very descriptive prose by making us feel repulsed by the grungy atmosphere in oceania throughout the book. i was uncomfortable the entire time i was reading it and wished our hero would have been born into the proletariat instead.

his job is to help the party create people and events out of thin air and delete others from existence, and though there are rules and methods he has to follow to achieve this, he isn't allowed to question or somehow even realize that he isn't making up lies. and people who read about and watch how history has changed but actually has always been that way keep doing so without complaint. this made me want to continue reading. until this point everything seemed serious enough but now it's so obvious it's a mockery that i can take the rest with a grain of salt.

once he realizes he's writing the journal for o'brien he says: "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four" - lol, all i could think of was: "there ARE... FOUR... lights!"

finally something good happens: not only do julia and winston get it on, but also... there's good coffee! :D

i'm not sure where page 200 is for everyone else but mine is in the middle of him reading the excruciatingly rambly manifesto out loud and she falls asleep (because she doesn't care as deeply about freedom as he does?)

that's all i'll say for now since only one other person has commented. i've read the book before so i know the ending, so it's best that i shut up right now anyway.
faeness
Jul. 3rd, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
Re: my take on the first half - I'm at Chapter 9 tooll, page 292. (1984 starts at page 90).
Holy crap, that long reading from 'the book' was dry and boring as shit. There wasn't anything we didn't already know, or already figured out, and really... it came right after we got the ONLY glimpse of real, actual humanity from the dood -- the flash back about his childhood. It wasn't particularly pretty, but at least he wasn't droning it up. And he IS a drone. There's very little left of humanity in him in the story's present.

Even when he's 'resisting', he keeps on saying - not just feeling, not just worrying, but SAYING - that "we are the dead" -- or in other words, he doesn't expect to live through it. I don't even know if he hopes he'll make a difference. There's a desperate sort of "doing it because it is the only thing that makes sense" to him, but I don't believe for a second that he CAN make any sort of difference. He's ineffectual at being a resistance member. Now Julia, on the other hand, Julia could probably do it. She's clever, she's passionate, and there's something VERY human about her But she doesn't give a care about anything except herself, and there's the flaw in her.

I don't like political preaching. I should've known better than to pick an Orwell book! But at the same time, you know, I'm kinda glad I'm reading this. Ifi only to say 'I've read it' and to get the cultural references for what they are when people make it.

Did anyone else want to shout "IT'S RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR - NOW TESTIFY!" ... cause I was totally there, lol
ali_chica
Jul. 3rd, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
Okay okay I'm late on this but I guess I should review what I thought of those first.. uh.. 218 pages for my copy to get the the end of part two chapter IX.

The problem I kept running into is that because it was so boring I'd reread the same line about twenty times before realizing I was doing this and then moving on. I'm not attached to anyone save Big Brother and O'Brien so far. Big Brother because I just picture him as the d00d from V for Vendetta getting all mad from his telescreen at everyone and then getting aced later on (god I wish that would happen in this book why hasn't it happened). O'Brien just because well, a big guy, like a big guy in this world, IE Inner party being one of the Brotherhood kind of threw me off. Just like Julia being against everything but so firmly throwing herself into mindless tasks in order to put up a front.

I just.. nothing is making me want to like these people. Nothing is making me want to care. I understand what he's trying to do to me. He's trying to make me think about what it'd be like and what I'm taking for granted about being free. The little things, a flower, a bird, a bit of coral in a glass paperweight, writing in a journal..


I'd like Winston more if he actually threw himself out there and started to really rebel, really get a message out there but he's terrified of being caught even through he knows he will be and Julia isn't keen on it either. Will ANYONE throw themselves out there for what's supposeively right? Anyone? Please?
faeness
Jul. 4th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
Finished the book!
Will ANYONE throw themselves out there for what's supposeively right? Anyone? Please?


This is what I was thinking, too, with a slight twist:

As Bryce noted above, and as we've talked about ourselves, the world itself will probably never happen - never could. I agree. If we approach the book with that mindset, then we have to admit that the political system is wholly exaggerated, blown up to epic proportions, in order for us to see it larger-than-life... much like the huge posters of Big Brother, the huge posters of the enemies. Not only is it clear that it couldn't happen but it also seems to me that the main anger-inducing points of the book occur when we're dealing with the characters, not with the long descriptions of the political world.

And I think that's probably what we're supposed to focus on: the ineffectiveness of each main character to do the right thing. What does it mean? Why is it like that?

Perhaps we're meant to reflect on the failures of the people in this society, not on the obvious failures of the society. Clearly, the point is made over and again that once you give yourself over to a government completely, you lose your humanity. When Winston finally shouted "Do it to Julia!" he gave up the very last thing that truly made him human - and therefore a danger to the society. So if the point was the failure of the people, I can see three main issues that the book attacks:

1. The failure to retain one's humanity (the primary issue of those in control)
2. The failure to retain hope (Winston's primary issue)
3. The failure to retain value in others (Julia's primary issue)
faeness
Jul. 9th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
Re: Finished the book!
I take it back regarding #2. Upon further reflection, I don't think that the world was ever built so that anyone not-crazy could have any hope. Oceania can't be redeemed or saved, so Winston's right not to have hope. He isn't WRONG if he DOES hope, I don't think. But it's not logical that he should. And he does know this, so there's that.
(Deleted comment)
faeness
Jul. 9th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
Re: The End.
You know, everything here is pretty much exactly how I feel about it, too. Every single bit. I cant even think about how I could add anything to this. This is exactlY IT.
ali_chica
Jul. 10th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC)
Re: The End.
ditto'd...!
ali_chica
Jul. 10th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
I got to the end of this book and said to myself: Fucking FINALLY.

I recall why I loved this book. Because it didn't have a happy ending. it didn't end with the world being changed and total rebellion. I was happy for that because in a lot of cases, suddenly the main 'rebel' gets a group together and takes down 'the man'. I was glad that didn't happen because there was just no way to make that believeable. The Proles (you know for awhile I thought they meant Police maybe because in harry potter they call them please-men or other variations and I thought they might have funny new words for people..) are happy as they are. Like pigs in mud! Why would they do anything else?

the things that drove me insane were many: I had no idea how long winston was there, or where he was exactly. O'Brien (who I actually started to like) was of course the bad guy OF COURSE. I wanted to find out that the shop keeper was really big brother or something twisted like that. One again Hats off to you Mr Orwell for making me go WTF. WTF UUUUUUUUuuuuuuuuuuuuoooooo..

Winston never had real hope, never had a real shot at trying anything. I get that he lived in a society were people didn't have it.. but it seemed like he was close to it but..

Yeah.

Sigh.
carielewyn
Jul. 10th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
i still think the book makes more sense if you read it while assuming the whole communism thing is religion instead. doublethink, kids growing up straight into it, nobody really questioning big brother when turns out he didn't even exist. if you look at it from an atheistic point of view you can point every event in the book to something some religion does nowadays. i'm just wondering what you guys though because nobody agreed or disagreed with this earlier.
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