Wednesday, November 14, 2007


George Orwell's 1984 is an absolutely powerful novel. It is a real vision of the future; conceivably plausible. This future can be imagined even now, 58 years after it was written. It is a horror that exists somewhere in the minds of those who've read 1984.

I hoped for rebellion. I hoped for change. I hoped for some sign that the future maybe better. Winston said repeatedly that the hope was in the proles. I kept thinking that somewhere in the story, there would be a sign that one day, his hope would be fulfilled. If you take the appendix as part of the narrative, then you can infer that Winston’s hope was realized and the world of Ingsoc and Oceania is part of the past. If you don’t, well, there is no hope for the world of 1984

Winston’s “discussion” with O’Brien is fascinating. There is a real argument regarding the nature of reality. I’m surprised this novel never came up in one of my philosophy classes. Winston clings to solipsism, the idea that if nothing else exists, your mind exists (someone correct me if I’m wrong.) “My mind is the only thing that I know exists.” It is very closely related to Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.” But after beatings and torture, Winston loses his grip on this belief and doubts his mind. If you can’t be sure of the existence of your own mind, how can you be sure of anything else?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog and pointing me to your post about 1984. I definitely need to pick up a copy and read this soon... though, I say that about so many books, I don't know how I'm ever going to actually find all the time to do it. =/