Winston is not the same as most of the people in 1984. Winston, despite being a member of the Outer Party, has committed serious thoughtcrime, and when, not if, he is caught, he knows he will be killed. Winston is a member of the Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue in Newspeak, and he works to correct the past to make sure the Party was always right, that Big Brother always made the correct predictions, and that all who were vaporized could never have existed. Unlike most truely orthodox employees of the Inner and Outer Parties, Winston secretly wants to rebell, thinking that things used to be better in the world and Big Brother is lying. Winston starts keeping a Diary of his thoughts, but to whom he does not know. As he puts it, "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."Still, Winston has hope. One day, a young worker in the fiction department slips Winston a note reading only "I LOVE YOU". Soon after, they find a way to secretly meet beyond the reach of the omnipresent telescreens and the dreaded Thought Police. As their relationship grows, Winston becomes more and more desperate to find a way to rebel, but he knows that every step he takes is a step closer to death...
This story is deep. The entire time I was reading, Winston was making very philosophical theories about humanity and, especially toward the end, contemplating the existence of reality itself which the Party seems to override. The book was very good, however I would recommend reading it at a slower pace than all in one day so you truly can enjoy it instead of rushing through like I had to for my English report. This is definitely a book that young adults should read, not only since it has many good themes throughout but also since it makes you think a lot. Personally, since it was such a deep book with very formal and elaborate language, I would recommend reading it again at some point to try and understand more of the undertones of the story that may have been lost the first time through. This kind of story always leaves me thinking about it for a long time afterward, and it is obvious as to why this is considered a classic.
Questions for Thought:
1. Why is the society described in 1984 possible or impossible to appear in the future?
2. Winston describes the proles as being humans while the members of the Party are not. What, in your opinion, makes this distinction?
3. In his book, Goldstein seems to imply that a utopian society could be eventually created if the upper and middle classes were willing. Do you think that a classless society where everyone has the things they need is possible?
4. Winston believes that he is the last true man. Obviously there are others being tortured in the Ministry of Love, but most cases seem to be significantly less extreme than Winston's. Do you think that his assumption is true?
5. Will the proles ever gain enough desire and intelligence to overthrown the Party, or to even know they should?
6. Could such a society as the one created by the Party ever seem like a utopia for those living their? Once Newspeak is perfected and people can never truelly commit thoughtcrime, this seems to be the intent of the Party.
Please leave your comments and answers!
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