1984 Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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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 crime"?  Certainly, The Patriot Act gave echoes of totalitarian government.  Afterall, a Western European totalitarian government passed some security messages for the same reasons that Bush's Administration gave:  "To make the people safe." 

If you read this book and pay attention to history and current events, you will find additional parallels.

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Mervin Ridley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Bear in mind that you're receiving answers from a bunch of English teachers here, but again, yes, 1984 is definitely worth the read. Not only is it a pivotal piece of literature, but so many of its prevalent themes are particularly significant to our world today. The "1984" that was envisioned by Orwell was not very well reflected during the Reagan years, but today, it seems more alive than ever. Read this book for mind-blowing insights.

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alohaspirit eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is an excellent read and very relevant to today in what is happening with international relations and our own domestic problems. The common theme is that we all live in a state of fear and by living in that state governments can control us and watch our every move.  This is exactly what has been happening since 9/11.  The Patriot Act was a form of more government regulation in order to capture terrorists.  It would be a great idea to read this book and then write a comparative essay between the theme of 1984 and today's America.

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Kristy Wooten eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is absolutely worth reading, yes. :)  It is a classic that is a must-read!  It has political and social significance beyond what I could possibly describe here...

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enotechris eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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.

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timbrady eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is more than a book you should read; it's a book that, in my opinion, all students should read before graduation.  It predicts much of the manipulation of the "past" that has matured in the 25 years since 1984.  It will teach you that the past doesn't exist except as it is presented to you, and the you must be eternally vigilant or become a "mis-information" victim as are the citizens of their society.  Read it as soon as possible.

 (And you will enjoy it :) )

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ashcat eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Orwell is a great writer and 1984 is a wonderful work of literature.

Not only is it worth the read and the extra credit, but this book and its themes will come up over and over again in your education, especially if you choose to pursue English in college or university.

I highly recommend it.

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alexb2 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It's a book that you will hear mentioned or discussed in popular culture all the time. If you haven't read it, you'll be missing out.

It's also a great read.

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morrol eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yes. I teach this book every year, and I have never had a student not rate it in the top three books he has ever read. It is also extremely applicable to the political landscape of today.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yes!  It's a fantastic read--especially if you know anything about the communist regime of Hitler.  There are many similarities and connections.  My students loved it.

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kkays eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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1984 is an amazing read.  It shows what life would be like under a complete totalitarianism government.  The people have no freedom and every aspect of their lives is controlled by the government.  Orwell uses Hitler as a guide to what the government control would be like.  The people have no idea that they are completely brainwashed and there are punishments for acting out.  All of my students really love 1984 and I highly recommend it. 

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linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Yes, it is worth reading. Orwell wrote it in 1948 in reaction to world politics at that time, but his plot seems more relevant for our time. The gist of the story is that the world is under an oppressive totalitarian regime, and every thought, act, and deed is monitored by Big Brother. I think you'll find it interesting.

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kkays eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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

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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.

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.