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1984

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

62 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

Interesting read...

So what can I say about this book that hasn't been said before? Having read it I can see how it has become regarded as classic fiction. Of course the year 1984 has come and gone and many folks say had it been titled "2009" it would have been much more accurate.
For tho...
So what can I say about this book that hasn't been said before? Having read it I can see how it has become regarded as classic fiction. Of course the year 1984 has come and gone and many folks say had it been titled "2009" it would have been much more accurate.
For those of you who haven't read it, it is a complex novel but with a fairly basic plot. The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a functioning member of a society in the future who meets a woman he is attracted to. Much of the book surrounds their attempt to form a relationship in this society that just won't allow that sort of thing. Of course the real point and value of the novel is to illustrate where our current society may be headed if we don't change course, a sort of anti-utopian (dystopian?) novel. This book has brought us common terms such as "Big Brother", "doublethink", and "thought police." There are long sections where Winston reads to his girl friend from the official government manual detailing how the society came to be as well as the evolution of the government-speak ("Newspeak") language. I am glad that I've read this novel but at the same time I can't say that I would ever want to read it again. My political/societal views are already pretty much cemented in place and this book, while thought provoking, did not change my views. I do agree that it should be studied at the High School level though, not only for its value to the world of literature but also as a way to kick start young people's thinking on what a society should and shouldn't be.
Essentially 1984 presents a juggernaut state that has become unmoored from whatever benign ideals once berthed it and has drifted off beyond site of a reassuring oasis-like coastline. A state in which its inhabitants no longer strive to achieve their original goals be they based on economical, religious or political ideals and have allowed the state to become a living entity in itself with the destruction of the human spirit as its sole aim.

Be sure to watch the three different movies made from this book:
1984 (1954) Peter Cushing is Winston Smith
1984 (1956) Edmond O'Brien is Winston Smith
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) John Hurt is Winston Smith

posted by Jessi-21 on September 11, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

loved the idea, hated the book...

Reading the book was a boring struggle for me, but i absolutley loved the entire idea of the book.

posted by Anonymous on August 26, 2004

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Stunning!

    What a beautifully crafted book, it really made me think about life. Although I don't necessarily agree with all of Orwell's ideas I found this book very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2010

    Book Review: 1984

    This book, 1984 is a novel by George Orwell, is a book on a alternate reality (future in George Orwell's imagination), where socialism has taken over, and all people are subjected to Party. I like this book because it is engaging, exciting, and unique; I dislike it because the concepts it mentions are highly disturbing. I can connect with Winston very much, because his love for reading is similar to mine. I liked how the "different" people, such as Julia and O'Brien found each other, and how they all had different views. This book is highly discouraging, and interesting at the same time, so I believe avid readers who aren't discouraged by horrible ideas should read this book, as it can be meaningful once you finish it. It is a high school level book.

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  • Posted August 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    1984

    Wow, a totally different take on the book the second time around. I read this book in high school and with all the media comparisons to it lately, I decided to read it again. The book looks at what the "future" 1984 may have been like, written originally in 1949. Well, lets just say it is a good thing Orwell's 1984 did not come to pass. Big Brother, the government in the book, keeps tabs on all, forces conformity to the rules and turns families and all against each other in order to preserve the "party". The characters are well developed and you really feel for the hell they are living through, but is the dives into who, what & why make up the "party" which I found more enlightening the second time around. The only similarities in the book to our current government have existed for quite awhile and are the result of both "parties" policy making, so the news should drop this book as a reference going forward. Good, quick read which makes you think about relationships, politics, religion and family and how these areas of our lives can be so easily manipulated if it is allowed. B+

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  • Posted June 18, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Very Relevant

    I really enjoyed this book. At first I wasn't sure whether or not I would. The beginning is a bit slow. Keep reading because it gets great pretty fast. If you are a fan of classic literature definitely read 1984. It is amazing how relevant it is to the world today, and I see it getting more and more relevant as time goes on. The characters are absolutely well formed. This novel is slightly depressing, but that is to be expected. Orwell was a very brilliant writer and obviously an insightful man. He will never go out of style. Pick up a copy of this!

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    1984: Great book, just not for everyone

    First and foremost, you must have a desire to read about corruption and how our government is not as safe as you may believe. This book was well written by Orwell in 1949. This level of writing was far beyond most authors at this time. Book starts of fairly fast paced and keeps you pondering the questions: who, what, when, where, and how. Book can be very predictable at times. Has the "too good to be true" mentality that can ruin surprises later on in the book. This book is not for everyone, can be very hard to understand sometimes. This book can follow related topic for awhile then next go into a long history about an event. Word choice is also questionable at times and is not permitted for everyone. All in all, I would give this book an eight out of a possible ten points. It is very interesting and the end is a "love it" or "hate it" style.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    Reccomend, With Reservations

    This book is alright but can be dry at some points. Overall this book is very original on the idea although there are some historical parallels that can drawn. For example Big Brother can be represented as the Third Reich. The Thought Police can be equated to the Ministry of Propaganda. The writing style is varied. It can be dry at times but it also shows flashes of brilliance. The idea of Big Brother is also very interesting. One could equate it to ones own morals and how you should police yourself but there are also people who do it for you. This is of course refering to the law. Then you also have to think that the Thought Police as a conciense in the fact that they control what you think. This soceity makes you wonder if the people are highly primitave and lack morals and things of that nature and need another person to act as this for them. This soceity also parealles to the Hews under Nazi Germany in the fact that they fear the thought police and big brother so much. This book has a lot of symbolism and contains many themes but the writing and plot are dry and predictable. So while i do reccomend this book be prepared for some dry points

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    interesting ... but likeable

    The book isn't too hard to get into but towards the middle it "dulls down." Towards the end, it picks up again. If you read the book, don't stop in the middle because then it will be hard to understand. Some people like it, others will not ... enjoy! p.s. I loved it!

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  • Posted September 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Classic Science Fiction

    Even though the year 1984 has passed, George Orwell's 1984 remains a timeless classic. The main character, Winston Smith, is a sane man in an insane world full of brainwashed people who have no souls. Winston lives in London, part of Oceania, one of the three nations in the world. Oceania is ruled by a dictator known as "Big Brother". Security cameras are everywhere, even in peoples' houses. They make sure that if anybody even thinks about liberty, justice, truth, or love, they will be punished in a cruel and unusual way. Being a fan of classic science fiction, I enjoyed reading this book. However, I don't give anything 5 stars unless it is absolutely flawless. One of the reasons I loved this book is because it leaves readers with many questions including, "Could this ever happen?" and, "Can a minority of one, even if they are true, be sane?".

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  • Posted March 22, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Brilliant

    A classic must-read. Orwell is brilliant.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2008

    a reviewer

    i selected the book because i had never read a piece of science fiction before. it was a good book and it clearly tells of how the government can control anything and everything including your mind. i think we have it made right now with our government it could be worse we could be watched day in and day out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2008

    Big Brother

    I chose the book because it was recommended to me by a few friends. I enjoyed reading 1984 very much even though if one was reading it on a hot summer day, one would feel as if it were cold outside. 1984 is a book I might pick up 2 or 3 more times before I could understand every meaning and every point there is to be made and at the same time it might be a few years before I do that. I do have to say 1984 requires more background knowledge than other, of course, but the more background knowledge one has the more easier it will be to understand. Whoever will read this book, will walk away from it thinking about what happened, thinking about how it could have been different, and just simply being affected by George Owell's fascinating story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    If this book represents Orwell's circa 1948 prediction of 1984, he wasn't exactly right, but he wasn't completely wrong either. Some have argued that we now live in a pseudofascist state in the modern United States, in large part thanks to another George. I'm sure Orwell's book was profoundly influenced by the historical context of his own life, especially WWII. It's certainly a very well written book, with vivid imagery and several memorable scenes. The movie version with John Hurt is also very well orchestrated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    It was amazing... mostly...

    The majority of the book was a masterwork. It was beautiful, well written, and presented a good look at the commonly pondered concept of dystopia. Of course, that isn't until after you crawl through the 100 pages of sludge commonly known as 'The Introduction.' I completely loved the last two thirds of the book AFTER I came back to the book after 2 years. I got through 50 pages my first time trying to read it before I gave up. My advice to all attempted readers of 1984 DON'T GIVE UP! You will most likely not like the first 100 pages of the book. However, once you get through all of the boring stuff, the book is an enchanting, marvelous read. All right, I am probably beating a dead horse right now about the whole 100 pages of drudgery for 200 of greatness. So, let me wrap this all up with this If you have read 1984, you will probably be able to remember about how you thought before and after you read the book. If you are at all like me, you will think about several things differently after reading this book. You will make connections with the book all the time walking down the street, glancing at a newspaper, or even reading another book. If you have not read 1984, I STRONGLY advise that you read it. It will open your eyes to a whole new side of the world you never even knew you could see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2007

    dysutopia

    I had to read this for my class, and I thought it was kind of interesting how the author can tell the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2007

    1984: Good But Depressing

    The book 1984 made a six-hour car trip seem like six days. The book is not badly written, but it just got more and more depressing as I read on. George Orwell is one of the best authors of his time. His style and word choice are unique and appealing. The way he uses what we think to be true, and turns it upside down is astounding. He makes it so that you believe that this is the end of the world, that it will be the last known society. All this said I still believe that no sane person can read this book and not come out a little bit depressed and downtrodden. The basic premise of this book is that with a simple lie here and a simple lie there one could completely erase history and even the fact there ever was a past. The book takes away the one last thing that you think could ever be taken away, your memory. This lack of memory leads people to appear to be different, while they are the same on the inside. This was a good book up until the very end. Orwell took a chance writing the ending the way he did, and I don¿t think that it paid off. He should never have had his main character Winston gives up at the end. I can see the attraction of it, to stray from the norm but I don¿t think that this was the place for it. The book was dismal enough he just took it a tad too far. He could have had the hero hold onto his beliefs and never give up, but no, he had to give no hope for the future. For me, it took the book from a solid nine out of ten to about a seven, maybe seven and a half. The ending was just a little too pessimistic for my tastes. The year is 1984. After years of war and strife the country of Oceania is in command of London. London had changed drastically during the war. No more Big Ben, no more Westminster Abbey, no more Buckingham palace, no more traditional government, all is replaced by Big Brother, the dictator and sole leader. There is a group of leaders called the Inner Party, but they have little power. All belief is under one school of thought, the government never lies. There is no past, just the present and the future. It is forever gloomy, and forever fixed in time. Some have said that the measure of a man is how he reacts to conflict. Winston Smith is a measurable man. The conflicts that he reacted to were ever changing through out this novel. His first conflict was against Big Brother. He knew that he could remember a time before the dictatorship had taken over the world, but the government denied it. He doesn¿t know what to believe, what his government says to be true, or what his mind knows to be true. Very soon after going with what his heart knew to be true, he is faced with another conflict. This time it was whether his mind and memory were under his own control or not. Sadly, through enough torture to make a person want to die, the government won. They took control over his mind, his memory, and his will to believe. The abstract concept of the novel 1984 is that we should never take anything for granted. It shows the one thing that we have been taking for granted for literally hundreds of years, and takes it way. The last frontier is our own minds we have no idea of the possible power of the human brain. This shows us that that frontier can be taken away from us if we are not constantly vigilant, constantly fighting for our rights. This book probably was one of the better-written books that I have read in the few years. I think that if more people read this book, they would stop taking for granted of the rights that we have had for so long. This book hit its mark with its ability to transfer his fears of communist imperialism through the characters and story. George Orwell is one of the best writers of his time. I just wish that I had read this at a time when I had not been in a car for six hours.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    1984

    The name of the book that I am reviewing is 1984 by George Orwell. I choose to give this book four stars. The reason that I give this book four stars is because it is an excellently written book that gives a scary future of what the people in the 1950's thought the world was coming to. It follows the main character Winston Smith who is a member of the party of Oceania in a oligarchial world of three superpowers: Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Winston feels as if he is different because he doesn't believe that they are getting the best that they could be getting. He decides to join a secret organization that goes against the government. He learns in a book that is given to him how the government works and why it makes the certain choices that it does. The book shows that in the future war will just be used as a way for a power to get rid of surplus goods. The book also states how the government works with the ministries of peace, love, plenty and truth. It also seemed very interesting to me some of the ways the government would manipulate the people just so they could maintain control. In the book Winston begins an affair with another party member named Julia and they together plan against their oligarchial society. They rebel at the fact that the government changes history so that it may be able to control their country with ease. With nothing for them to judge their life against they are forced to go by what the government tells them. They are captured at their secret hideout by the thought police(a group of individuals that monitor for traces of thoughtcrime punishable by death). They are thrown into a jail cell to rot until they are forced to confess for what they have done. The only reason that I would not give this book five stars is because some of the concepts in the book were very hard to follow. Other books that I would recommend would be Shogun by James Clavell, the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore or Animal Farm by George Orwell. I am a student at HRMS and am in seventh grade.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2007

    Extremely Intricate

    '1984' was one of those novels I thought I had to read sometime in my life: I read 'Animal Farm' and liked it, so I figured I may as well read this one too. This book was one of the most intricately put together novels I've read, and it has so much insight into the world of politics and what would happen if we lived in such a dictatorship. It was a bit confusing at times, and some parts got really slow. But I think it was very good because it left you with a lot of thoughts in your mind that question the way things are. Also, it doesn't necessarily end with a 'happy ending' so it was much less cliche than a lot of other novels. Overall, 4 stars: not 5 because it took a long time to read and was sort of drawn out, but otherwise it was extremely entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    A Must Read Book for Teenagers

    After reading 1984, I felt that I knew the deeper meaning of my own freedom and felt more grateful towards my government. Reading about the totalitarian government, made made me wonder, what if our government controlled us, like they did in the novel? We would not have any individual freedom. I highly recommend that teenagers read this novel. Not just because it is a well written novel but to understand that living in America is a freedom that we should cherish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    very great read

    1984 is a great book. It deals with great topics and is a very easy read. It shows how everyone can be manipulated to believe things by using their greatest fear or using pain. At some times, I was confused as to what was going on but I caught on very quickly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    a great read

    a great story of how the mind can be influenced by not only yourself but others. i highly recommend this book, you won't be dissapointed. at first i was slow to liking it but eventually i began to appreciate it and thoroughly enjoyed it. it is possible that not all will like it but one must be patient with it and pay attention as it is both a futuristic utopia and a mystery.

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