I finished reading 1984 and I don’t get what all the buzz is all about.
I personally think that the story isn’t that great. Hear me out first before biting my head off.
The beginning of the story wasn’t very strong. I was so confused because Orwell didn’t create a clear picture of what Winston was going through. He didn’t explain little details like Newspeak effectively and maybe it’s because he expected it to be very simple and easy to understand, but it wasn’t for me. I found myself asking so many questions like: Why is he living like this? How did the world end up that way? And I was hoping that I would find the answer to those questions early on. In fact, trying to find the answers was partly my motivation to continue reading since reading the book got a bit tedious after a while.
I also fell for Winston and started growing an attachment to him until he met Julia and told her his first impression of her. He told her that he hated her and wanted to rape and kill her. She replied by laughing and saying that she wasn’t like the other girls who are brainwashed by the party. I don’t know about you but that section of the book really rubbed me the wrong way.
I’ve heard that rape has nothing to do with sex and pleasure but everything to do with power. That section of the book really drove that fact to me. I felt really upset about that part and from then on I started looking at Winston differently. I felt disgusted by him but I was still rooting for him to be strong since he is the main character. I realize that some of you will be saying that he was only upset because he thought she was brainwashed and evil. But think about it this way, if he suspected a man, would he have the urge to rape him? Or, would he have wanted to kill him instead? To me, there is no reason for him to rape Julia except to exert his power over her.
In reality, a strong woman would not laugh at his remark no matter the context. Why should it be OK to rape her because she is a woman? Her laughter, made me feel as if she was OK with rape. Also, I am annoyed because in the face of such an oppressed state, a sign of freedom for Julia is to put makeup on and a dress, to look more like a “woman”. Above all other choices, why does Julia go through so much danger just so she can get makeup and a dress to look “prettier” for Winston?
It just goes to show that in our society, women are made to disrespect themselves and have low self-worth. An alien visiting earth would be confused as to why half of the population, though extremely capable, intelligent and strong, are degraded and belittled. The aliens would be thinking that if women were respected and taught that they were just as great as men, the human race would be much more developed than they are now.
And yeah, women have the right to put makeup on if they want to. But if this book is supposed to represent different sexes in an alternative world, why can’t women be characterized with strong traits? Why do they have to be some of the biggest villains in the story?
It’s funny that the book is so big but the way that women are portrayed in the book, though brief, is what stuck out to me.
And… another reason why the story wasn’t the greatest is: even though it started picking up, once he got kidnapped by the thought police and tortured, it started going downhill. The story took such a lousy turn.
I realize that not every story will have a happy ending, but damn, Winston turned out to be so weak. I remember that from the very beginning of the book, when Winston finally talked to O’Brien, I was thinking that he wasn’t trust worthy. My instincts were so on point.
It just annoys me that he was so willing to trust someone so easily without really thinking about it carefully. Why would you trust someone who says that you will never know for sure if the brotherhood exists and you have to blindly trust me without asking questions?
I also had a funny feeling about Mr. Charrington. I kept feeling like he was setting a trap for Winston and I was right. The only person I was wrong about was Julia. I thought she wasn’t to be trusted but she actually turned out to love Winston, so that was a surprise.
The book makes Julia seem like less of a Woman, very dry and distasteful because she doesn’t wear makeup, her hair is short and she doesn’t have a noticeable figure. But then, it makes it seem as if some of her other traits such as her knowledge of directions and complete trust in her instincts were good, yet simultaneously managed to make her seem naive for trusting her instincts.
I thought Julia was awesome and strong. Yeah, she changed after being tortured but even the way she is described afterwards makes me think she’s an OG (original gangster –awesome). Winston described her body after torture as wider, tough and hard. Even though he was trying to make her seem less appealing, I immediately thought that she was probably lifting weights and so was more deezed. Also, the book makes it seem as if she was very cold and a shell of a woman. But I felt like she was made stronger and realized that she shouldn’t have trusted Winston like she did because he put her in great danger by taking her along to meet O’Brien.
Overall, the story wasn’t that great. It had a very dry ending. I suppose that Winston is meant to represent the regular person who might be too weak to withstand such torture. But to me, it was just so dry and meaningless. Yeah, I realize that I keep using the word dry, but that's the best way to describe the book.
But I do have to say that the book made me take a step back to look at our society and how women are treated. It also made think about the systems within our society but again I thought about women’s struggles within those systems.
Generally the book was all right and really doesn’t live up to all the hype. There is barely any character development. Winston stays stagnate or actually becomes less logical as the book progresses. The other characters are vapid and boring, the setting is also very dreary because Orwell doesn’t paint the greatest picture.
And yes I get the gist of the story. Basically the lesson is: this is how the world would be if the government took over all control of our lives and everything we take for granted, such as our freedom to think freely, would be affected. Yeah I get it ...
I still give the book a rating of 2.5 out of 5 and that’s being generous.
Comment below, tell me about your thoughts on this book. Don’t be stingy with your thoughts!