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Is 1984 a Gendered Book?

So the 15 book meme is running rampant (bloggers blog about books? who knew?), and I’m noticing something interesting. The majority of the male bloggers who have posted their lists are including Orwell’s 1984. None of the female bloggers have that I’ve seen.

Personally, I hated it. I understood the points about privacy and conformity. Yes, yes, big warning labels. Got it.

What I didn’t believe, what I did not and would not buy was the way it portrayed human rebellion as a fragile thing. It is not. It’s one of the most durable qualities we have. Don’t believe me? Find a book of Soviet jokes. Read Anne Frank’s diary and see the life they made despite the Nazi’s wanting them dead. Read about Mildred and Richard Loving.

Rebellion is fundamental to humanity. A government may kill or suppress it in an individual, but they can’t suppress all of it. No government, not even one with cameras everywhere, has the resources. And I hated Orwell for trying to tell me it could be done.

But now I find myself wondering whether these messages about rebellion and conformity are generally read differently by groups with different relationships to the ruling class. Did other women reject 1984 for its hopelessness? Did other poor people find what it had to say about suppression to be trite?

Or am I still the only person who hated that book? What say you, blogosphere?

Comments

  1. says

    1984 is . . . long . . . and tough to read . . . even with its prescient messages (the title should have read 2008, but I digress). SO no, Stephanie, you aren't the only one to disdain said tome.Acutally, there's not much of Orwell's writing I have ever gotten in to. I'm sure they will be taking my man card away shortly.

  2. says

    I didn't actually put it on my list because I particularly liked it, I put it on my list because it was important to me. This is mainly because it was largely why I read Brave New World, the novel that in many ways, was what Orwell was probably trying to write.I don't think that the point was human rebellion is such a fragile thing, as the human will for safety and homogeneity can repress the desire for individual liberty. And I think there is a great deal of evidence pointing to the veracity of that idea. Sure, 1984 was over the top – but that is the idea. Huxely was also over the top. Because going half ass about it, wouldn't have nearly the impact that taking it to an extreme would.And I think that the other message has little to do with individual liberty and much more to do with the concept of Utopia itself. Keep in mind that when these books were written, there was an underlying social belief that we were ushering in a technological age that would bring us unprecedented freedom, through labor saving devices and increased automation in manufacturing. There was a desire for and belief in the notion of Utopia.So both of these books were also a direct response to an underlying social theme of their day. They were both – especially Orwell, trying to paint a picture of what exactly it would take to achieve this society that was so very desired at the time. And I think that Orwell focused that much more on this concept, because Brit society at the time was especially enamored with this conception.The reasons I think it resonates with so many of us today are twofold. One, I doubt many of us have read it in a while – I only actually read it twice, both times when I was in the ten or eleven year range – the second time, because I wanted to throw it in sharp relief with Brave New World. The other reason I think it is so very important right now, is that we are seeing a great wave of repressive speech laws and for the first time in my life, seeing Americans rather seriously joining in this chorus that would see repression of speech here in the U.S. Aside from teens, who believe that newspapers should get permission from the government before they print, we also have a growing contingent of adults calling for repressive hate speech laws. I have argued for hours with close friends who not only believe that gay marriage should be legal, but that churches should be required by law to perform the ceremonies. And we see lawsuits on a regular basis that target not state entities, based on allegations of discrimination – but on private businesses and even individuals.These books were written because human nature is all to willing to accept repression for safety and conformity. Sure, we may come to regret it, when totalitarian forces come into play and we realize that it not just them being repressed, but ourselves as well – but by that point a great deal of damage has been done and it can take generations to recover. Don't believe me? Ask the next Russian you meet, who is mid-thirties or older about living under Soviet rule.

  3. says

    Philip, 1984 isn't as long as you think. It's just a slog.DuWayne, I agree with a lot of what you say. There are important messages in the book. I certainly blog enough about what the utopia of diversity we're trying to create will require from us. But the book lost me as an audience, so it is not an important book to me. The question I'm trying to get at is whether Orwell made some fundamental assumptions about his audience that caused him to simplify his book in a way that lost other audiences that may need to hear similar messages. Related question: if he did, is it still an appropriate book to be teaching as universally as we do, or do we need to find books that can speak to broader audiences?

  4. says

    Personally, I think that if only one would end up taught, I think Brave New World should get precedence over 1984. But I actually think it would be better to go into both of them, throwing London's The Iron Heel, Vonnegut's Mother Night and Gibson's Neuromancer for good measure. And Make Room, Make Room, mustn't forget that one…I think it would even be reasonable to nix 1984 from the list entirely – honestly I don't know why, out of all the anti-utopian fiction available, we insist on Orwell's.

  5. says

    I think that Orwell was also writing at a time when many people overestimated the ability of governments to completely suppress dissent and independent thought. I remember a professor of mine talking about how when he was growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s, it was widely believed that the Soviet Union had pretty much completely "brainwashed" its people and that all political dissent, religion, etc., had pretty much disappeared there. This view was common among educated intellectuals who were considered experts on the Soviet Union – it was not just an ill-informed popular belief. Of course, it was very far from the truth!I also think that in many ways, Brave New World is a more convincing dystopia than 1984. For one thing, it's a little more subtle – rather than being based on outright repression and thought control, the system in Brave New World seemed to be based more on keeping people too distracted by other stimuli to ever have the time or motive to question the system. To me, that seems a lot more prescient of the world today than the totalitarianism of 1984.

  6. says

    I read both Animal Farm and 1984 the first time within the a one week period when I was home sick with something or other in high school.Having subsequently reread both, I have to say that 1984 had a lofty sort of goal that DuWayne was hinting at. Orwell was trying to say: we could go this far, so we should be wary. I think what he failed at was tying it together. The book hangs loose and jumbled towards the end, as if he was rushing through. Actually, as I think about it, seems like a lot of the authors writing in the post WWII did this, even my personal favorite Asimov (actually, he's really guilty of this in some novels).Beyond that, I have to agree with you, I don't think the rebellious portion of human nature is as fragile as Mr Orwell posits. I think it can be very difficult to get a coherent rebellion going, but once built, they are absolutely tenacious in their resilience. But rebellion itself is a vary solid part of human nature; it might die in some individuals if stamped on enough, but you couldn't wipe it from a populace.Personally, I tell people to read Animal Farm for the warnings. Read 1984 if you want an example of British literature in the immediate post-war period.Is it a book that appeals heavily to men? Meh, I dunno. Perhaps it is a gateway book, as DuWayne suggests, that guys key off of and remember as leading to other important literature in their life.Take my "man" card if you must. But leave me my dork and geek cards; I'd rather have those anyway.

  7. says

    Many of the posts one sees in blogs related or linked to this one have at least something to do with not placing too much emphasis or expecting too much from a single text ;).1984 in my opinion is a great book because it made me think about a particular set of problems and dangers (as well as being a fine read). I don't expect any single book to cover the full range of human experience.

  8. says

    Hmmm…I think it is important to recognize that though it doesn't come out well in 1984, Orwell was also terribly concerned about the concept of rebellion and revolution as well. It is not that so much that he felt rebellion in and of itself was so fragile, but that revolution that does not leave a society as bad or worse off, is a fine and fragile thing.

  9. says

    It was required reading in high school. That, and "Alas, Babylon". Interestingly, this was in the late eighties. I wouldn't say I liked it, but it did make an impact on me, mostly along the lines of "fuck the Man!" Not that I needed much prodding in that direction. I would like to read it again, now that I've experienced a bit more of life and can (hopefully) take a more nuanced view of it. Of course, I can't read it on my Kindle. Big Brother yanked it off. Irony, anyone?

  10. says

    Huh.I took a completely different message away from 1984. I didn't read it as a paean to human rebellion's fragility, but rather as a testament to the power of words. That the government was changing language itself, and as such was able to re-write history as it pleased to present itself as absolute, was what impressed the most upon me. Words and framing of issues is powerful stuff.

  11. says

    I considered listing it for a moment, but I, as the only person who actually followed the directions, kept with the "stuck with me" part of the meme. For each book on the list, I asked myself a) did I read this a long time ago and b) can I tell you significant detail about what was in the book, and c) does at least some of this detail still matter. For 1984, A and C apply but not B. I thought one or two females listed it, but I'm probably just wrong.

  12. says

    I read 1984, and remember discussing it with friends, but it still didn't make anywhere near the impact on me as Sinclair Lewis with It Can't Happen Here. That one really smacks one upside the head with how little some things change. Does anyone else wonder how much of their preference for books is based in the context they encounter them in? 1984 was, to me, one of those stereotypical "we'll give this to high schoolers because then they'll be reading Important Literature that they can relate to" (in the sense the "fuck the man" aspect appeals to lots of teens). Being forced or coerced into reading 1984 always struck me as rather ironic. I also felt if you really found nonconformity appealing, Lewis is a better bet, merely by virtue of being comparably out of fashion these days.

  13. says

    Becca… that (the context of encounter) was primary in my consideration. As I suggested when the book was read (earlier in my life) was number one criterion. Then, I explicitly tried to include at lest one or two books that had to do with my research interest (again, context). Beyond this, I explicitly remember which books were assigned in school and simply excluded all of them. Ba humbug!! Otherwise Cuckoo's Nest would have been on the list, as well as To Kill a Mockingbird.

  14. says

    Actually Greg, I used the "stuck with me" as an absolute. There aren't any books on my list that didn't have some sort of impact/importance to me…That said, I didn't think B was as important if the A & C were met – though I think everything on my list managed B as well.My only real violation of the rules, was the number of books…And I tend to fuck the rules of memes anyways – though admittedly, my failure on that part, was totally an ADHD moment…

  15. says

    I, too, followed the "stuck with me" rule. And even though a book was assigned to be read, that didn't invalidate it for me. Considerate a success of the education system that their choice of study topics made enough of an impact on me that I consider it important to this day, 20 years later.

  16. says

    See, I wasn't taught it in school. We had To Kill a Mockingbird, which I didn't list but probably would have if I wasn't "forced" to read it. I DID list Lord of the Flies, though we were taught it in grade 9.It probably wouldn't have come up as high up on the list if it weren't for my having read others' lists first. Hey, that's how memes work, right?

  17. says

    I also followed the "stuck with me" rule, and still managed to leave out the Diary of Anne Frank of this particular meme. Anne Frank's diary was perhaps the most important book of my childhood. And, I am not exaggerating. 1984 did not stick with me. It was, as Stephanie puts it so eloquently, a bit of a "slog."Animal Farm was much more resonant for me as far as Orwell goes, but not in a good way. I found it totally depressing.

  18. says

    We had "To Kill a Mockingbird" also. I didn't really care for it. I also tried to avoid reading other people's responses. If I had, I would have remembered to put "Dune".

  19. says

    "Did other poor people find what it had to say about suppression to be trite?"Yikes.Not knowing you or your family history, and your choice of real world examples, I'm not sure of how you are differentiating between rebellion and survival. I wouldn't say rebellion was as fundamental as survival.I'd agree with DuWayne that 1984 is important as a gateway to other books like Brave New World, and that is why it is on many of the lists you are seeing, just as likely (if the "most profound meme" was for movies…) you would likely see Apocalypse Now. Have you read any other dystopias, like H. G. Wells "The Sleeper Awakes", Ayn Rand's "We the Living" or "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin?I'm at a loss to think of one that is not based around the perversion of socialist ideals, or written before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but there must be one.

  20. says

    The more I think about it, the more I think maybe I should have left out 1984 and put Brave New World in there. Brainwashing a complicit, happy populace doped up on Soma would be a hell of a lot easier than trying to crush the spirit of a populace until they all submit.That said, I read 1984 pretty early in my reading career. I don't rightly remember if it was the first of the dystopian books I read, but it could well have been.

  21. says

    NOBODY is taking away gender cards at this blog.biopunk, I don't think rebellion is more fundamental than survival. However, I think that in some situations, it's necessary for survival. I was a moderately abused kid. I was also a poor teenager in a wealthy suburb in the 1980s. I'll write about that someday. I read very few dystopias because I find that they, like 1984, mostly expend a lot of effort to tell me things I already know without offering me anything new.ByteReader, I think the failures in writing that you're talking about are almost inevitable in the pioneers of new genres, and Orwell and Asimov were SF pioneers. The stunning writers tend to come later in the field. There are exceptions, of course.Greg, I stuck with the meme. Well, except for the time limit, but I wasn't doing just one thing at the time.Becca, I managed to get 1984 assigned to me three times in school. It was ugly, especially since I had to reread it each time, having refused to remember any of it. Unfortunately, it stuck the third time.Mon, Mockingbird and Anne Frank would have been on my list if I remembered them better. I know they made a strong impression when I read them, but it's hard to estimate how lasting it was without better recall.

  22. says

    Well, if you threw out all the science (some of which, such as The Language of Life, taught me more about how science works than my university courses) and comic books from my list, I'd probably be left with just 15 books of actual literature.But if you really get into it, 1984 did present a very gendered sense of rebellion through the male pursuit of sex. First when the protagonist has sex with the proletariat prostitute, and then again when he finds sexual and domestic rebellion with a fellow Party member, which ultimately proves his downfall. 1984 does link rebellion with the male sexual ego, which is especially evident in the closing scene where he encounters his former flame and feels nothing for her anymore. In effect, Orwell bound the protagonist's crushed human spirit to implied impotence. How isn't that gendered?

  23. says

    Has anyone read Ronald Wright's "A Scientific Romance"? That might come near dystopia without the politics as prime driver…

  24. says

    CyberLizard, you can cover it in sparkly pink stickers for all I care. It certainly doesn't need to be readable here either.Toaster, you just keep giving me things to think about. It hadn't occurred to me that the rebellion/sex connection might have made a difference, although it probably did. On words, I'm not sure that it would have meant anything to me then, but the the way people hold onto old words and meanings like old friends would likely cause me additional problems with the book now. It's another one of those things that people are stubborn about beyond what we would imagine.

  25. says

    Cyberlizard -My general rule for the gender card, is that it is best left unlaminated, so that one isn't stuck in a singular paradigm…Jason -This is why I refused to be stuck with fifteen. Ultimately, it was both of them, driven home with the brutal imagery of V for Vendetta that made the concepts so very meaningful to me. And also paved the way for me to appreciate books like Mother Night or pretty nearly all of cyberpunk/steampunk. But I don't think it would be reasonable for me to list any one of those three without the others, because it was the combination of them that really had a fairly profound impact on my thinking.Becca -I am probably the only person here who actually read 1984 because it was there and never for class (I dropped out before it came up). But I think that depending on the class and related discussion, it can be cause for significantly more impact. As for the irony…Given the popularity that repression of speech has these days, I don't actually. Honestly, I wish it were as much a part of generalized curriculum as it was, back in the day. Stephanie -I read very few dystopias because I find that they, like 1984, mostly expend a lot of effort to tell me things I already know without offering me anything new.I can see that, but would offer that it is unlikely most of the kids you were in school with did see it. Honestly, I suspect that part of the value of using 1984 is that it is fairly simple, quick and over the top – making the points in it easily accessible by most everyone and anyone. To some it may be rather obvious, but to a lot of people it just isn't – I can't say it was or it wasn't to me. Part of that was reading it when I was rather young, so the abstractions involved were rather new to me. I was used to viewing things in black and white – things were either good or bad and anything bad should be stopped.So I think that my age had a lot to do with how it affected me, along with everything else I was reading at the time – not just antiutopian lit, but also diving headlong into fairly intense theology and within a year or so, discovering Jung. This is partly why I think these lists are so interesting, because I suspect that context matters a great deal.And actually, that drives me to actually taking more issue with Greg's comment about the rules and how A,B and C fit into the equation. Because I think it would be far more interesting to see the list without considering any criteria besides whether or not it had an impact on the listwriter. There are a lot of books that had a fairly profound impact on most of us, that we can actually remember very little of. I remember important details of most everything on my list, but that is rather besides the point. There are books that didn't make the list, not because they didn't have a profound impact, but because I can't remember the titles. I doubt I could even tell you the names of characters in them, but I can tell you the nature of the impact that they had on me, which I think is the most important detail.Take Matilda. That one is on my list, because it was the story with that theme that I enjoyed the most. But if I could remember the name of the book with that same theme, that impacted me more, because it was my first – it would have totally taken precedence over Matilda in spite of my not remembering much about it at all. All I really have left of it, was the wonder I felt at the notion of a sensitive, special child eschewing his or her birth family – financially wealthy, but ethically, intellectually and emotionally impoverished, to live in the opposite wealth paradigm. I would suspect that some of the most high impact, formative books we have read, are ones that we only remember for their impact, if we remember them at all.

  26. says

    If I was making a list of culturally profound books, I would have definitely included 1984. As it stands, I made a list of books that had an impact on me and 1984 really never did much for me. The dystopian future genre was never my thing and the Orwellian themes always had more impact when they came from my parents talking about life in the USSR.DuWayne,It's interesting that you mention impact and not remembering. My favourite book growing up was a collection of Greco-Roman myth. I have no clue what the book was called, but growing up I read those stories tens of times. Looking at my list, there are several books that reflect how much reading those myths affected me.

  27. says

    LostMarbles — one of my very favorite purchases from my university days is my Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. It's got everything by practically every culture of note in history — though most of it in relatively scant detail, unless you look up a trope when it'll compare legends from the various cultures that fit that trope. (This wasn't for a course, just something I saw at a bookstore and *had* to have.)I also have Morford and Lenardon's Classical Mythology textbook, which WAS for a class, and is pretty great with regard to the Greek/Roman myths it covers.

  28. a daughter's mother says

    I both liked and disliked 1984, being old enough to have read it when it was new and fresh and REQUIRED READING. It's one of the reasons I thought I hated science fiction, though Farenheit 451 had a bigger impact that way. Looking back and being unwilling to go through reading it again, I never thought of it as a gender issue. It presented a different idea, which was the only redeeming value it held. I just found it incomprehensible that any society could devolve into that. I was unwilling to suspend disbelief – a rarity for me. And despite being a voracious and nonjudgmental reader, I found it boring. I never could care about the characters except to see how the plot resolved, if it in fact did. I don't remember now, don't care.I judge all books that way now, though back in the day these criteria barely reached my consciousness. All I knew then was it was wasting my time. Gender? Who knows? I do happen to be female and fit the way your responses are lining up on this book. However, the book that really turned me on to the science fiction genre was Dune, and that hardly seems like typical female fiction.

  29. says

    Greg- I let context of encounter play into it a bit, but not as such. Explicitly I just wanted to avoid advertising books that impacted me in certain negative ways, or those that are in some way embarrassing.DuWayne- I managed to get 1984 'required' even though I wasn't going to school at the time (my Girl Scout leader wrangled some of us from the homeschooling group into a book club, which lasted only for a month or two, but long enough to cover 1984). If one is going to have a generalized curriculum at all, 1984 is better than most things; albeit inferior to "It can't happen here" ;) Although I'm adamantly opposed to pretty much any curriculum.

  30. says

    Stephanie,You know, I'd never thought of 1984 as SF; and I'm a SF junkie. I guess I draw a line between books set in a future and books about the future. There didn't feel like there was any real interaction of people with and within the technological setting; just people interacting as they always did.I do agree, Asimov got better as he aged (or the story stayed short), same with Clarke. Or later authors like Orson Scott Card (talk about gendered books) or Neal Stephenson.DuWayne,I second the *motherfucking* love of books!CyberLizard,Now Dune, that was some good reading that stuck on me. Pretty much all of Frank Herbert, really.

  31. says

    I put 1984 down because I didn't feel like part of the author's target audience at all (insecure straight guys?). It was pretentious, too. I had the same issues with Brave New World. I find something about this type of fiction fundamentally intellectually insulting.

  32. says

    @ Samia:I put 1984 down because I didn't feel like part of the author's target audience at all (insecure straight guys?). Now there's an angle I had never really thought of for 1984. Its all the more interesting, in that when Orwell wrote it I don't think he conceived of target audiences the way we do now. I suspect he would have rebelled at the concept. Must consider this more.On the list of impactful books, Systematics, Ecology and the Biodiversity Crisis edited by Niles Eldridge has had a permanent place on m y shelf since it was published in 1992. I got it as a graduation present for my B.S. and it has stayed with me as a frame for my scientific work, as well as for my far more recent foray into blogging. Very prescient work, FWIW.

  33. says

    I put 1984 down because I didn't feel like part of the author's target audience at all (insecure straight guys?).I am really curious why you would peg the target audience as insecure straight guys. Seriously, do tell. And while you're at it, feel free to explain how that isn't insulting to non-hetero guys and women who happen to get something out of it too…I had the same issues with Brave New World. I find something about this type of fiction fundamentally intellectually insulting.What exactly? And why? I can totally see not liking either book, especially given the datedness…But intellectually insulting? Really?Does this carry over to more modern equivalents? Do you simply not find the premise plausible – even accepting that the examples in these novels were over the top? Or is it just so obvious that it really is only useful for lesser intellects?

  34. says

    I'm so sorry I came off as insulting to non-hetero men and women. It wasn't my intention, but if I hurt someone, then what I meant to do is not as important as what I actually did. Again, I sincerely apologize if my words brought anyone pain.I picked up 1984 sometime during high school. Something about the way sex was used in the book didn't sit right with me. Having grown up on a rather mainstream sort of science fiction/fantasy (and don't get me wrong, I loved a great deal of it), at that point in my life I was a little tired of putting myself in the shoes of characters I couldn't really relate to on some levels. And it just always seemed that a lot of what I chanced upon (or was forced to read in school) was aimed towards straight boys/men. I felt the "lessons" in these books were delivered in a pretentious way, so I drew conclusions about the target audience from there. Again, those are impressions from a high school kid just discovering feminism/her own queerness. But I think those are the main reasons why the book didn't sit well with me.That I find something personally intellectually insulting doesn't necessarily say anything about the intelligence of people who enjoy it. I couldn't look past the over-the-top nature of the novel. I read plenty of stuff other people would find pretentious/obvious, and that doesn't bug me in the least. What really matters is what each individual person gets out of the books that change them.

  35. says

    "I'm so sorry I came off as insulting to non-hetero men and women. It wasn't my intention, but if I hurt someone, then what I meant to do is not as important as what I actually did. Again, I sincerely apologize if my words brought anyone pain."Damn, Samia. That's an incredible apology. I wish I had taken offense so I could forgive you.I was unsettled by the way sex was used in 1984 as well — as a way of rebelling, as a means of control by the government by making it a high crime, and the implications of what kind of mindset it would take to do such a thing. It was a bit ham-handed in its explanations, too, as I recall. I should maybe reread it soon.Something I realized over at DuWayne's — 1984 was fresh on my mind from last week's Kindle take-backsies. Maybe that also lent it more priority in my brainspace than it should have gotten. I'm starting to think I should reverse 1984 and Brave New World except that everyone's already seen my list that matters. :p

  36. says

    But not sorry if you came off as insulting to a hetero male? Because as loathe as I am to identify thus, I am attracted to women, not so much to men. I am also not terribly insecure and the insecurities I do have are probably not what you would think. And it just always seemed that a lot of what I chanced upon (or was forced to read in school) was aimed towards straight boys/men.That would largely be because a lot of those books were written during a time when there was a very different social-sexual dynamic than there is now or was ten – fifteen years ago, when you were probably in high school (I am just guessing, if I guessed way high or way low on your age, I sincerely apologize). Remarkably, they were not really intended for a heteromale audience, they were intended for an audience who's social sexual paradigm was reflected in both novels.I felt the "lessons" in these books were delivered in a pretentious way, so I drew conclusions about the target audience from there.Again, these novels are products of their time – especially Brave New World. Huxley was writing a book that was topically about as controversial as you can get for the late 30's. He had to comply with certain social norms and pretense was huge at the time.You might also want to consider that the sexual component you are decrying, was one, targeted more to women than men and two, was a precursor to the sexual revolution of the late fifties and sixties. Orwell and to a much stronger degree, Huxley, were both proponents of the sexual independence and general equality of women. They were front runners in driving the sexual revolution that not only pushed sexual freedom, but also drove the early gay rights movement.I would also posit, after consideration, that the reason these ideas were so obvious, is partly due to the fact that we are products of people who read those books and books like them. People who grew up during a time when there was rather less freedom of expression. And because we grew up with the spectre of soviet communism (or shortly after).

  37. says

    But not sorry if you came off as insulting to a hetero male?I'm sorry if I offended anyone at all. I thought you found my statements offensive to non-heterosexual men and women in particular, but having reread our comments, I see why you ask this question. Please accept my sincerest apologies and a promise to be more careful with my words in the future.I come from a family that has had enough issues with governmental oppression that dystopian fiction about its evils did not speak to me as clearly as my parents' stories about mass graves, "missing" professors and relatives in hiding. I am glad we all have different feelings about these books. I did not come here to "decry" anything or beat anyone over the head with my opinion, only to share the way 1984 made me feel and to explain why I did not enjoy reading it.

  38. says

    Thank you, I am really happy to accept your apology – while I am not into over the top white hetero male victim roleplaying, I am also not keen on being slammed for being those things. I was very much hoping that is not where you were going, but it kind of felt like it might be.I forget (I do recall now, reading something of yours about your family) that you have an especially clear view of the ugliness described in these types of books…And I apologize if I was rather too harsh, for that was not my intention. I just work hard to be fair and reasonable with people and can get a bit defensive…

  39. says

    Samia- I've heard something somewhat similar about political dystopias from a couple of people from former soviet socialist countries. I wonder what it means that 1984 is routinely characterized as "over the top" and "too close to home" (albeit usually by different people). DuWayne- Huxley apparently had a fascinating sex life ("omnifutuent" is my new favorite word), but I'm not sure about your assessment of him in terms of his views of women. Any supportive quotes?Also, unless I'm quite mistaken, arguing the same about Orwell skirts wishful thinking.Aside- Am I the only one who thinks "sweet widdle big blue meany" sounds like Stitch? (VILE, FOUL!, FLAWED!! Also cute and fluffy!)?Cause now I'm seriously thinking of DuWayne as like a seriously drugged up version of Stitch.

  40. says

    Becca, I strongly suspect that means that Orwell oversimplified, that he got a lot of the broad strokes correct but missed on details.And I can't associate Stitch with DuWayne. That particular association is already taken by a very close friend. Maybe Aladdin's genie.

  41. says

    *imagines cross between Sweetums and the genie**collapses in gleeful girlish giggles*(or possibly, evil witch cackles. No promises)

  42. says

    Hey, I resent the implication that I'm one of those arctic-dwelling freaks. I was born in Florida, raised in Florida, still live in Florida and will probably die here. If you're going to call me names you should call me a Cracker.

  43. says

    DuWayne is projecting. He just wishes he was a Canadian himself. Him being Sweetums though, he has a hard time getting across the border. (Or through doors.)

  44. says

    AHAHAHHAHHAAHAHHAHAAHAHAH!!!!!111!!!111I have no trouble getting over the boarder motherfucker!!!11! And I'll have even less trouble when I am preceded by my army of viciously horny moo…Oooh, trying to be all fucking tricksy I see….AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAHHAHHAHAHA!!!!!!Can't fool me motherfucker!!!!!

  45. says

    I would just love to see you try to invade Canada with your army of viciously horny moo, DuWayne.This discussion reminded me that actually, I shouldn't have included 1984 on my list. I read Animal Farm earlier and liked it better, possibly because it was out of school, whereas I read 1984 in the midst of a unit on dystopian fiction (also known as How To Depress The Hell Out Of Your Seventh Graders). But for some reason, 1984 was the one that sprang to mind.

  46. says

    Rebellion is fundamental to humanity. A government may kill or suppress it in an individual, but they can't suppress all of it. No government, not even one with cameras everywhere, has the resources. And I hated Orwell for trying to tell me it could be done.Right! In reality people would not allow their government to wage endless wars on dubious pretenses, retell history for propaganda purposes, torture and imprison people without trial… oh, wait.

  47. says

    1984 does link rebellion with the male sexual ego, which is especially evident in the closing scene where he encounters his former flame and feels nothing for her anymore. In effect, Orwell bound the protagonist's crushed human spirit to implied impotence. How isn't that gendered?Er, because the same thing happened to Julia? And she was the one who originally initiated the relationship.

  48. says

    I didn't find it interesting enough to hate. At this point I don't remember anything about the substance of the book. All I remember is being painfully bored the first time I had to read it and my interest level going downhill from there with subsequent reads.