Talk:George Orwell

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This Books related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

Editorial notes


Divers is a valid word in this context, but pretty old-fashioned nowadays; I was going to correct it but I liked it and left it in. Totnesmartin 13:04, 7 August 2007 (CDT)

Left-wing writer?[edit]

I'd like to reach consensus on this. --JayJay4ever??? 20:10, 11 July 2008 (EDT)

The guy who coined the term EngSoc as a pejorative, a "left wing writer"? I'd think of him as a rational centrist in a world bent on and twisted by dictatorships from what were then the right and the left. The modern terms could only apply loosely (as today, where they change meanings as one changes country...) ħumanUser talk:Human 20:23, 11 July 2008 (EDT)
I'll bet he was a SCIENTIST also. Yup, a SCIENTIST. Bohdan2 20:32, 11 July 2008 (EDT)

Well, he was a self-proclaimed socialist… --λινυσ() 20:35, 11 July 2008 (EDT)

I'm sorry, the edit comment should have been "…and neither 1984 nor Animal Farm was actually about communism." My mistake. --λινυσ() 20:36, 11 July 2008 (EDT)
I don't know if you guys saw, but I changed the first instance from "left-wing writer" to "anti-authoritarian writer", which I think is more accurate of 1984 and Animal Farm. However, I left the second use, "left wing writers and journalists who fought...". But feel free to make it better, explain it more deeply, whatever. ħumanUser talk:Human 21:50, 11 July 2008 (EDT)
That's the best definition, Human. Above all, Orwell was anti-authoritarian and anti-fascist. Many people (for example: Conservapedians) believe that 1984 was an allegorical reference to Russia only. --JayJay4ever??? 12:20, 14 July 2008 (EDT)
Wow, there was a discussion about this? Orwell was a socialist his entire life, ending his life as an "anarchist". I don't see how he wasn't left-wing. ClothCoat (talk) 06:48, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
I find it ironic that this article goes to great lengths to explain how Orwell was Left-wing, and how 1984 only applies to Right-wing beliefs... Immediately after the Animal Farm portion linking to Horseshoe Theory. (talk) 23:40, 20 December 2017 (UTC)


Orwell is an almost mythic hero to many but there are also many problematic aspects to him: antisemitism, sexism, an allegation of attempted rape, and claims some of his most famous journalism was untrue, such as Shooting an Elephant. Wikipedia covers a lot of this but you'd probably have to go to authoritative sources like the Crick biography. Annquin (talk) 22:50, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

What is obvious is that our article on him demands a qualitative and long-lasting expansion. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 23:48, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

A curious inversion[edit]

I removed this:

In spite of most modern societies not being full of pervasive cameras recording their every move and telling people what to do, the nature of television advertising (and programming) at a psychological level may have a similar effect - people watching it absorb the idioms presented to a greater or lesser extent, with those idioms having a normative effect. As a result, behaviour is "controlled" through a probably unplanned feedback loop: Advertisers try certain concepts, or memes, to promote products. Sales of the products to an extent determine the effectiveness of the meme, creating selective pressure on which memes work and for what. The memes are then refined over "generations," with the additional background selective pressure of the advertisers' goals. In other words, the one pressure the population at large is not allowed to introduce is "what they really want." Their contribution is to inform the advertising industry "how to get us to do what you want." So, rather than Big Brother watching us, we watch Big Brother.

Since it is interesting but tangential and more importantly uncited. FuzzyCatPotato of the Incompetent Trees (talk/stalk) 02:25, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

It has a seductive phraseology; and I suspect the influence of Richard Dawkins; but, you're right it has a place more in an essay than Orwell's page. And I only watch Big Brother 'cause my wife insists on putting it on. --Scherben (talk) 14:43, 30 August 2018 (UTC)

Proles and Newspeak[edit]

The proles are allowed to continue speaking (an evolved/Newspeak flavoured version of) Oldspeak - at what point will they and the rulers be unable to communicate with each other? The Thought Police might not actually recognize the rebellion until it is too late. (talk) 17:58, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

The thought police could still speak oldspeak as well, couldn't they? It's been ages since I read the book so I could be wrong. Christopher (talk) 18:15, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
The main baddie spoke Oldspeak quite well. In fact, Newspeak was barely used if I remember right. I think it was just used for the sample newspaper articles that Winston rewrote. Barrel! Another! 18:19, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
But the problem might still arise - and the text is given in OurPresentEnglish as we would not necessarily understand AltHistory1984English. And, as we well know, intonation can give words a totally different meaning.
The captcha question is 'notepad and pen' (talk) 18:34, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
They only need a few people who speak both old and newspeak to translate any suspicious behaviour, I think Orwell intended for us to think that there wouldn't be an uprising. Christopher (talk) 18:40, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Language drifts; closed doors (which is what Newspeak to some extent represents) operate in both directions; we are in a more fluid relationship with 'the authorities' than was the case in Orwell's time - and, despite decades of Sovietspeak a man on a tank was able to wind up the Soviet Union like a defunct business. (talk) 15:43, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Newspeak effectively eliminates scientific development - and will close the minds of the authorities to what is happening. If you-the-administrator do not understand the concept of freedom, revolution etc, you may not understand the problem you are being told about.
Or, perhaps, Newspeak is aimed at #the members of the Outer Party# to keep #them# from revolting. (talk) 11:49, 7 July 2017 (UTC)
Goldstein was destined to be as immortal as BB. The stated aim of 'newspeak' might have been to remove all possibility of 'thoughtcrime', but true to the principles of 'doublethink', it would fail to do so (Goldstein's heresies would continue to be uncovered), whilst at the same time being completely effective. The Party was also convinced that Proles would never revolt by themselves; and why would they, when kept in complete ignorance of their condition? Scherben (talk) 02:57, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Big Brother is watching[edit]

Doesn't this imply a paternal benevolence as well as a veiled threat? Scherben (talk) 02:59, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

This was the whole idea of doublethink and newspeak, yes. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 14:48, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
But doublethink isn't really needed. The promise of benevolence and threat combined is all part of the demigod status given by the Party to Big Brother, with Goldstein being its obverse. A straightforward black and white orthodoxy doesn't necessarily carry the connotations of doublethink. --Scherben (talk) 00:54, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
Is someone talking about me?Doublethink (talk) 20:23, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

The world of 1984[edit]

Would be quite different to ours: smallpox would still be rife, no nuclear power (but no Chernobyl), Colonel Stanislav Petrov would have no claim to fame, no North Sea Oil - and the coal on Airstrip One might well be running out.

But we are not told what is happening outside the London area. Anna Livia (talk) 22:33, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

"But we are not told what is happening outside the London area." - Not unlike the media bubble of now (he says snarkily, ignoring Salford Media City and Channel 4's proposed move.) --Scherben (talk) 23:06, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

Were you there? section[edit]

Is slightly inaccurate. It's a Ministry of Love statement made by Winston's interlocutor/torturer, O'Brien as a rhetorical point (the Party will is all of existence and reality); and is one that must contradict official Party education (Doublethink, remember) for Winston to have learned about them. --Scherben (talk) 23:17, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

One problem with Crimestop[edit]

It prevents/distorts contingency planning - it is doubleplusungood to think about possible disasters so they cannot be avoided. Anna Livia (talk) 16:49, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia[edit]

These places have to fall in at least a few hundred years right? Without fossil fuels these nations can't run or keep up their total surveillance. They can't develop new energy because there is no science in 1984. Doublethink (talk) 20:31, 4 December 2018 (UTC)