Tuesday, April 5

Ignorance is Strength - We Begin 1984!

Phew, well that was intense.  Alright, I now see that the book will be pretty intense, but I've only read the first chapter and a half and I'm already taken aback by the burst of just... I suppose... amazing and exhilarating concepts and thoughts that are flooding out.  It might be heavy reading, but it will be very thought-provoking as well.

The Ministry of Truth - Minitrue, in Newspeak - was startlingly different from any other object in sight.  It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred metres into the sky.  From where Winston stood, it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party.


... The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education and fine arts.  The Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war.  The Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order.  And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs.  Their names in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.

The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one.  There were no windows in it at all.  Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometre of it.  It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only be penetrating through a maze of barbed wire entanglements, steel doors and hidden machine-gun nests.  Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.

Part 1, Chapter 1, 1984, (published 1949).

I really feel that this is a fantastic example of the sort of ironic and dark concepts that fill this book.  I am in agonising suspense over it, truthfully, because it's like a movie - a dark pre-apocalypse feeling movie that I must watch to the end!  No pulling the stops out now! 

Also, well done to the two wonderful people who told me (outside of Bouquets etc.) that they meant to read 1984.  So I thank you both EXTREMELY and please, if you have thoughts on it as we go, speak up and share it.  For those who are still seriously considering reading it and would like to hear another example of the style and intensity of Orwell's writing, I have included another excerpt from Chapter 1 that might just tantalize or intrigue you enough to convince you.  Here it is:

The horrible thing aboutthe Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to a act a part, but this it was impossible to avoid joining in.  Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary.  A hideous ecstacy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in which a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.  And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.  Thus, at one moment Wiston's hatred was not turned against Goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against Big Brother, and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies.  And yet the very next instant he was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him to be true.  At those moments his secret loathing of Big Brother changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, and invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against the hordes of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of his isolation, his helplessness and the doubt that hung over his very existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilisation.



  1. Dear Book Florist,
    I'm sobered by the realisation that in pursuit of speaking truth, news, entertainment, education & the arts, spreads distortions & deceit. Under the guise of peacemaking, millions of lives have been lost. Maintaining law & order is often the covert goal of organisations who declare love. And financial hardship is the outcome for some faithful ones promised abundance. What's most sobering, is that I see this very close by. This book is disturbing in its message of truth.

  2. I can never truly grip how someone could predict such a mouthful of the future and not be noticed for each work! So from my desk at home I send one high five to Orwell through time and one to you through the internet. Thanks for noticing...

  3. What wonderful writing! I can't wait to pick up a copy and join in :)


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