Submitted by tinybakugo t3_z4x6ye in books

Honest opinions about the book? I’ve recently finished the book and idk what I think about the ending. I think that it’s the most realistic ending that could’ve happened but yet I was still lowkey disappointed. Idk why. Also not a big fan of Winston as a character. Loved his philosophical thoughts but other than that.. he wasn’t doing much for me ngl.



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noknownothing t1_ixtbe6d wrote

Greatest last sentence of a book all time.


ChunkyPa t1_ixtkolj wrote

100%. I read the book without any prior info. (Did not know it was dystopian). Till the end I was thinking there would be some kind of miracle and everything would be nice. Miracle did happen in the end but it was not what I had expected!.


FredR23 t1_ixvn2q9 wrote

I'll never understand readers who think it's an author's job to make them like characters.


Digfortreasure t1_ixt94ty wrote

Thats the thing about 1984, its amazing due to its foresight not the plot.


tinybakugo OP t1_ixtimra wrote

Totally agree!! I’m just trying to delve deeper into the plot


hereforthensfwstuff t1_ixt94gt wrote

You are Monday morning quarterbacking it. The whole experience of reading it is more importNt than any character.


tinybakugo OP t1_ixtijnk wrote

I do agree I loved the book. I’m just trying to analyze the ending.


party_benson t1_ixx1sh1 wrote

I took it as that Winston was just a man. Albeit somewhat above the average man, as many of us believe ourselves to be. Despite this, and the assistance of others, he still was utterly defeated. His mind, like many others, was broken and remade to serve the Party. They could have easily just killed him and disposed of him, but the Party chose something much more sinister. They destroyed him as an independent man. Those who may have had any thought that was not in line with the Party now has Winston as an example. Whatever you believed, you have always loved Big Brother too.


rocambolesco1 t1_ixu0gd4 wrote

I think it manages to show how it's important to fight for things you believe in before it's too late. In1984's world, it's already too late to fight for anything, as even memory is starting to erase.


left4ched t1_ixw9ldc wrote

One of the points I think is that you aren't supposed to "like" Winston. You're supposed to recognize him. He's your neighbor, he's your coworker, maybe he's your brother. He's just some guy; there is literally nothing special about him.


Muhlbach73 t1_ixuu72p wrote

Socialism? Communism? Horse hockey! Double Think: the ability to hold two contrary opinions and believe them both. Newspeak: the destruction of words in order to prevent thought. War Is Peace for those in power. Freedom is Slavery for those in power. Ignorance is Strength for those in power. O’Brien tells Smith that those in power want power simply for the sake of having and employing power. Orwell’s novel transcends the political and addresses the universal concerns of abuse of power in its myriad forms.


looooooork t1_ixuiyng wrote

I think it's chronically misunderstood insofar as a feminist perspective. Julia's place in the text is shaped by Orwell's conscious awareness that his place as a man in his society takes from women. I think Orwell was more conscious of patriarchy than people give him credit for (despite his lack of a developed perspective on the matter.)

It's a text that is best understood (insofar as how women are treated) in the context of his earlier works: Keep the Aspidistra Flying and A Clergyman's Daughter.

In KtAF, we meet Julia Comstock, the main character Gordon's sister. Orwell has written a whole chapter explaining the family history of the Comstock's and, despite it being slightly dull, we learn a lot about how Orwell views sibling relations. He talks at no short length about the fact that money from an inheritance really should have gone to Julia so she could run her own tearoom, but there was never and question and the money went to Gordon's schooling (that he neither liked nor appreciated.)

This mirrors, interestingly, that strange chapter where Winston steals chocolate from his baby sister.

The theme of feminine consent is another one that is overlooked in 1984. We have Winston's violent fantasies when he is reminded of Julia's womanhood, by the slight cinching of her waist by the anti-sex league sash. This shows that the society, despite abolishing much of gender, cannot claim to have abolished misogyny. We also have, crucially, that while Julia gives herself freely and zealously to Winston in the way of sex, she remains obstinately uninterested in other anti-party thought. She falls asleep when he tries to read the manifesto to her, yet he persists. In many ways Winston drags Julia into her arrest against her will.

Anyway, not sure if any of this makes sense lol


By_your_command t1_ixw5ko5 wrote

I think you might have some interesting points on Orwell’s latent misogyny, but the rest of this comment is nonsense, especially the section on consent.

You acknowledged that Julia freely and enthusiastically engages in a sexual relationship with Winston and has done so in the past with others, but suggest that Winston oversteps a boundary when discussing politics with her because she isn’t interested in such things? Then further imply that the only reason she is arrested and tortured is because of Winston engaging in political discussion with her? That makes absolutely no sense.


looooooork t1_ixwu44i wrote

It's fairly clear that the activities Julia engages in are of a similar form of protest to Offred in The Handmaid's Tale. It is a more "feminine" form of resistance, the preservation of spirit, rather than the "masculine" outrage and direct opposition to oppression.

It is also fairly clear, if you think about it not very hard, that Julia could have continued exactly as she chose, had she not been drawn into counter-establishment thinking by Winston. Why do I say this? Why am I so confident that Julia's behaviour in and of itself was not a problem?

Because the thought police were well aware of what she was doing. We know for a fact that they were able to use that room many times before they were formally arrested. We know for a fact none of Julia's other lovers were ever arrested (she states they killed themselves out of fear.) She knew exactly how to skirt the rules in a way that did not actually threaten the order, and hence went ignored. They could have been picked up after the first meeting if their liaison was actually a material problem, because the establishment knew precisely what they were up to.

We also know that Julia is more or less a passive participant in the dangerous thought Winston engages in. She conveniently falls asleep whenever he reads to her, and she never engages in conversation with him over it. She is passively buffeted along towards her fate by Winston. It's not so much him overstepping a boundary as her never consenting, but never setting the boundary, in the first place. I am certain that after their meeting with O'Brien, had she had more agency she could have disengaged with the revolutionary politick and stepped away. Her thorough disinterest is not Orwell portraying her as stupid, but as a survivalist. Winston is frustrated by her, but she is right.

Her not having agency is part of Orwell's awareness of the status of women in his time. She is very similar to Julia Comstock, as Julia C passively accepts that her brother takes precedence and she allows him to cadge off her. She embodies the self abjugation that defines the peri and post Victorian feminine experience. Julia 1984 carries over some of this, as (despite being sexually rebellious and liberated) she is not shown to make many decisions on the ideas she is exposed to (despite being shrewd and understanding the danger she is in.) In fact, her remaining with Winston after their meeting with O'Brien is slightly out of character and odd. She understands her place in her society far better than Winston does.

Julia is a mostly unwilling sounding board for Winston's politick. He needs to share his revolutionary sentiment (as he kind of begins to do so before they meet up with O'Brien.) She doesn't say no, but she is also very notable in her refusal to say yes. She is tainted by the presence of these ideas, and that is why the Thought Police pick her up. The existence of dangerous thought that threatens the state is what they seek to stamp out, as having heard it (whether she absorbed it or not) she is a container for that thought, and it must be made certain she will abandon it.

I will be honest, when I wrote this bit of my original comment I had mentally run out of steam, but it is a theory I have spent many, many hours piecing together out of my numerous re-reads of Orwell's work.

I would also appreciate that, in future, if you feel the need to query an idea, you don't dismiss it out of hand as "Nonsense." It's rather rude and non-conducive to good conversations. Your questions are excellent, and I am happy to develop and consider my ideas in light of them, but the out of hand insult is quite negative.


AgeofSmiles t1_ixuly4a wrote

The most memorable moment for me was when Winston told O'Brien that the resistance will win because they are basically the"good guys" (don't remember the exact dialogue) and O'Brien plays a tape of Winston saying he would throw acid into the face of a child without question if it helped the resistance.

I don't know any author who is able to create such utter hopelessness like Orwell. Being in constant pain while writing 1984 must have helped.


AngryMaxFuryStreet t1_ixv24c6 wrote

I loved it as a teenager, but rereading it as an adult was another matter. In hindsight I feel like the world that Orwell “crafted” was not that interesting, and that the book-within-the-book written by Goldstein just made Orwell look like a loon.


TheHigherSpace t1_ixw7ioi wrote

Sometimes when I read a book I get what I call "a feeling" not exactly a thought, but something deeper that hits hard and I don't know where it's coming from and why .. I'll have to sit down and try to understand why I got that feeling ..

Doesn't happen a lot, but it happened in 1984, it was fear I think, in the scenes when Winston was in captivity let's say .. And the thought that came to me was "the world could have gone either way, and we must be thankful for people who kept democracy alive" .. Because if the west (as we know it right now) was a dictatorship, it would have been way more ruthless than anything you've ever seen.


AvalonArcadia1 t1_ixwtcvi wrote

I think it has to be viewed from a historic viewpoint to truly appreciate it.


emisneko t1_ixt9k0n wrote

>The only people who misunderstand George Orwell’s 1984 are those that go around trying to imagine it has a leftist message. It is mistaken to imagine that children in the English-speaking world get his work drilled into them like a mantra because, somehow, genuine socialists managed to sneak his work past a censor that banishes the likes of Karl Marx and Malcolm X.

>The less complicated reading is the correct one: it’s an anti-communist book that the establishment pushes, and the right adores and cites constantly, because it is effective anti-communist propaganda.

>Let’s part from a very basic fact: The CIA loves Orwell.

>>Between 1952 and 1957, from three sites in West Germany, a CIA operation codenamed ‘Aedinosaur’ launched millions of ten-foot balloons carrying copies of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and dropped them over Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia — whose airforces were ordered to shoot the balloons down. [1]

>The movie adaptation of Animal Farm was the UK’s first animated feature film, and it was entirely funded by the CIA. This fact was kept secret for 20 years, and only revealed in 1974, to no cultural impact. [2]

>Orwell enthusiasts insist that he would be horrified by this turn of events, that he was trying to preserve a genuine and humane socialism from the clutches of “Stalinism”. They insist Orwell was against all empires, not just the one he lived in. However, his life and his work rather undermine this interpretation.

continues at


ChangeForACow t1_ixtd5t7 wrote

George Orwell was certainly involved with propaganda and (so-called) intelligence operations, and disillusioned with the Communist Party, but in his own words:

"Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes.

"Internally, Germany has a good deal in common with a Socialist state. Ownership has never been abolished, there are still capitalists and workers, and--this is the important point, and the real reason why rich men all over the world tend to sympathize with Fascism--generally speaking the same people are capitalists and the same people workers as before the Nazi revolution. But at the same time the State, which is simply the Nazi Party, is in control of everything.

"Socialism aims, ultimately, at a world-state of free and equal human beings. It takes the equality of human rights for granted. Nazism assumes just the opposite."

(The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, 19 Feb 1941)

"The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic SOCIALISM, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one’s political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one’s aesthetic and intellectual integrity."

(Why I Write, 1946)

As for Winston, to me, he represents Orwell's own conflicted experience, and ultimately the part of each of us that both pierces the veil of totalitarianism, and yet remains susceptible to it.


oysterme t1_ixv3eti wrote

Actions speak louder than words. He might’ve said this or that about socialism, but in terms of his actions, Orwell was an anti-communist snitch who wrote a list of people he suspected of being Communists (or Communist sympathisers) & gave it to the UK Government’s anti-Communist propaganda unit, the Information Research Department.

The list included people like John Steinbeck and Paul Robeson, who Orwell shamefully described as being “very anti-white”. In fact, the list is replete with racist comments made by Orwell about the people he snitched on.


ChangeForACow t1_ixvajvv wrote

As I understand it, that list--such as it is--was meant to preclude those individuals from being used as intelligence assets by the British because Orwell believed them to be sympathetic to Stalinism, and therefore unfit for this specific purpose.

>The important thing to do with these people – and it is extremely difficult, since one has only inferential evidence – is to sort them out and determine which of them is honest and which is not. There is, for instance, a whole group of M.P.s in the British Parliament (Pritt, Zilliacus, etc.) who are commonly nicknamed "the cryptos". They have undoubtedly done a great deal of mischief, especially in confusing public opinion about the nature of the puppet regimes in Eastern Europe; but one ought not hurriedly to assume that they all hold the same opinions. Probably some of them are actuated by nothing worse than stupidity.

As I said, Orwell's experience was conflicted; he did serve the Empire abroad, which presumes problematic values, and he participated actively in Government propaganda. Still, it's important to remember that 1984 is written about Orwell's experience as a censor in Britain--NOT the USSR.

u/emisneko provides important perspective, which I've even up-voted. I was adding Orwell's own words for more context.


oysterme t1_ixyujxk wrote

So what you’re admitting to me here is that Orwell, based on nothing but guesses and inferences (and a “great deal of mischief” whatever that means. Orwell wasn’t exempt from going on mini tirades about the blacks and the gays and the Jews so you tell me what “mischief” is) assumed these people were crypto stalinists trying to influence the government one way or the other, and wanted them shut out of politics. How is this any different than the McCarthyite position?

If 1984 was based on his experience in Britain, he’s not the Winston of this story. He’s the O’Brien.


ChangeForACow t1_ixzq6sl wrote

Orwell certainly said and did things that I CANNOT endorse--as was unfortunately common at the time and throughout history. Marx and Engel also made racially-problematic statements.

Still, Orwell's understanding of power comes from his proximity to it, as did his understanding of poverty--both in Wigan and Paris. His actions, good and bad, included taking a shot in the throat while fighting fascism in Spain.

He tried--not just with words, but with blood and sweat--to nudge the course of history towards the order he saw in Catalonia, but away from the order he had participated in in Burma as well as the Communist Party order he became disillusioned with.

The "mischief" he describes he believed served the totalitarianism he saw in Stalin and the Communist Party--though, the West has often exaggerated such authoritarianism while downplaying our own.

So-called intelligence work, as well as regular diplomacy, is fraught with guesses and inferences, but here Orwell is careful to acknowledge as much and urge further investigation. Again, the context here is considering candidates for producing anti-Communist Party propaganda, which Orwell held to be inappropriate for those sympathetic to the Communist Party.

The list is noteworthy, but should be taken in context.

Edit: I should add, if Winston represents Orwell, clearly he doesn't present himself as incorruptible.


oysterme t1_iy0014u wrote

So because Orwell fought fascism in Catalonia, it means he couldn’t have adopted a McCarthyite position 10 years later? The path from fighting fascists to red scare hysteria is a path well trodden. I see no reason why Orwell was not prone to the anti-communist philosophy that hit everyone in America and Western Europe the Second World War 2 was over.

What is the mischief he is talking about specifically? How exactly were these people serving Stalin? He doesn’t say. He says these people require “further investigation”. Further investigation by whom? The UK government. Do you think the UK government would have assessed these claims in an unbiased manner? How do you think the UK government would have treated the people on this list? Especially the homosexuals, only a few years after they basically executed Alan Turing?

He might not have been a lion himself but this list of his opened up the lions den for potentially innocent people. He might’ve taken a bullet in Catalonia, but what kind of “socialist” would have “get the government to investigate all the other people on the left that I disagree with” as a top priority? As far as I’m concerned any socialism of his died in Catalonia.


ChangeForACow t1_iy0c3u0 wrote

Orwell includes "confusing public opinion about the nature of the puppet regimes in Eastern Europe" as "mischief"--presumably, because these so-called "cryptos" suggested such regimes were independent--which he attributes to stupidity rather than malice. He specifically cites such politicians as examples to be distinguished from the dishonest.

Further investigation by those coordinating anti-Communist Party propaganda would be expected; whereas McCarthyism was more assuming guilt by association than nuanced distinctions.

Likewise, fascism and Stalinism--despite their opposition--share a simplistic Us-versus-Them approach, which we ought not apply to Orwell, who (like most of us) is far more complicated. Especially during war, alliances shift, creating strange bedfellows. Presumably, Orwell offered this list to the British Government knowing that his own name was likely on one of Stalin's many lists.

We ought not abandon Orwell to the fascists and anti-socialists who claim him as their own. After all, Orwell is one of those writers banned on both sides of the so-called Cold War, and despite the original comment in this thread, his books were removed from the curriculum when I was in high school. The Orwellian lexicon was so ubiquitous, however, that I went out of my way to read 1984 and Animal Farm over the summer, and since then I've found few other works that have explained in such accurate detail the nature of power.


oysterme t1_iy0z5io wrote

So according to Orwell, the mischief-makers were confusing public opinion about the nature of the puppet regimes in Eastern Europe, specifically by saying they (regimes in Eastern Europe) were independent from the USSR, when they actually weren’t. Let’s assume that’s what the people on the list believed. In what way would a person like that be upholding totalitarian ideology? For the sake of contrast, a Stalinist who said “yes the Eastern European regimes are under control of the USSR and this is a good thing” would be a totalitarian. The people on Orwell’s list aren’t saying that. In essence they’re saying having vassal states is bad, and the USSR isn’t doing that. Giving a list of people like that to the govt seems like backwards priorities, especially since just about all anti-communist narratives were way stronger.

“Orwell was on Stalin’s many lists” i have never seen Stalin’s lists for myself but there’s no reciprocity here. Orwell was living in the United Kingdom. If the government of the United Kingdom got ahold of Stalin’s lists of people to target, they would have done nothing to Orwell. Orwell sent this list to his own government.

“His books were removed when I were in school” as of 2022 his books are on the required reading list of nearly every high school in the United States, and this is by design.

“I’ve found few books that have explained in such accurate detail the nature of power” I disagree (that his books explain accurately the nature of power in detail, or that other books don’t do the same thing) but this is just a matter of opinion.


ChangeForACow t1_iy1flna wrote

Orwell notes the mischief-maker politicians are specifically the kinds of individuals NOT to worry about. Here he's specifically worried about those showing sympathy to, and influence of, Stalin and the Communist Party.

My point about Stalin's lists is Orwell likely presumed he was on one, and that by helping the British Government contain the Communist Party's expansion specifically--NOT the socialist movement or those whom he merely disagreed with--Orwell was acting in preservation of self and his own concept of free speech, which he believed his own Government at least pretended to preserve.

In hindsight, we might forget that the threat of Stalin conquering all of Europe, and even the UK, would have seemed very real.

Sure, Orwell has been misrepresented to excuse all kinds of awful, as Marx himself has been misused. Perhaps he meant for 1984 to be confused so as to avoid the kind of censorship he was familiar with. Here in Canada, where I went to school, Orwell was removed from my curriculum.

Actually, I find his story about shooting the Burmese elephant to be the most accurate description of power, when Orwell feels obliged by the crowd despite his own decision NOT to kill the animal.

>I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.

Power is paradoxical, because to wield power is to succumb to it. If there's a better description of power, I'd love to read it.


[deleted] t1_ixurkpg wrote



oysterme t1_ixyvird wrote

Why’s that?


[deleted] t1_ixz1xe3 wrote



oysterme t1_ixzie20 wrote

I mean, I also think it’s overrated lol

But I was wondering if you and I had the same reason

If you don’t want to elaborate on it that’s fine


[deleted] t1_ixzwu84 wrote

It's because someone always comes along wanting to refute me and I'm kind of bored 😅


oysterme t1_iy00nms wrote

Ah ok no worries. It’s rare I find someone else who thinks this book is overrated. It seems like 1984 makes everyone’s list of top 10 favorite books, and whenever I ask why, it’s always because of the book’s “prophetic” ideas… even though Brave New World imo is way more prophetic and also more interesting. DM me whenever and we can roast Orwell.