My English teacher is offering extra credit to read 1984 by George Orwell.  I was wondering if it was worth reading? Is it worth reading?

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree witih #7.  Recently, Glenn Beck asked a renowned journalist if we are living in not "1984", but "Brave New World."  The journalist affirmed that we are in "Brave New World" and have surpassed much of "1984." At any rate, allusions are frequently made to these two novels.

In "1984" the main character writes in his diary and is guilty of "thought crime."  How often do people look over their shoulders before speaking or whisper their thoughts lest someone overhear them and report them for being politically incorrect or subversive, etc.?  How close are we, then, to "1984's" "thought...

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frizzyperm | Student

Response to #5 - Just to clarify, Hitler created a totalitarian Fascist regime (right wing) to destroy Stalin's totalitarian Communist regime (left wing.)  These extreme ideologies curiously both created totalitarian states; the crux of WWII was the clash of Fascism vs. Communism.  1984 should be read by anyone wishing to help the world avoid the newest, greatest threat, that of a totalitarian technical state.

Are we currently facing a potentially greater threat to personal freedom than during Stalinism or Fascism? Theoretically I suppose it is possible, but I think your claim is a bit exaggerated. You could stand outside The Whitehouse, right now, and wave a big banner saying, "Beware the crypto-dictatorship" and shout anything you like about the government and go home and sleep safely in your bed. (Maybe if you continued this for days you'd get briefly investigated to ensure you're not connected to known violent groups but you would retain your liberty.)

Stand in Red Square in 1950 and declaim against Stalin or stand on Unter Den Linden in Berlin in 1940 and criticise Hitler. How many minutes of criticism would you be able to shout before the state-police drag you into the back of a van and take you away (beyond the reach of the justice system or media) to be interrogated, tortured and killed? And how much danger would your brief outburst bring to your colleagues, family and friends?

1984 records the terrifying nature of totalitarian brutality and tries to help us guard against it by teaching us to recognise it. While capitalism and modern technology have the theoretical potential for dictatorship, the fact we are having this discussion suggests your comparison is a little melodramatic and that we shouldn't cheapen their suffering in order to dramatise ours.

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international684 | Student

Actually if you have seen V for Vendetta my students tell me it is very similar. 

My teacher is going to show my class V for Vendetta. Right now she is showing us the Matrix beacause that is showing a Dystopia where technology is in control.

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