Talk:Nineteen Eighty-Four/Archive 7

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badley misses the point

This is a horrible article...It needs to be over thrown. But whats worse is that the point of the novel is lost in idiotic clap trap, namely that this book is about totalitarian governments. The working title for this book was "the last man in Europe", Last man being the opposite of Ubermensche. Now a simple person might assume this was talking of the last man to take a stand against the government of Europe. But since the book is a book about irony and doublespeak I think it is safe to presume that it is also an ironic statement and that the whole book is infact doublespeak. It bears many similarities to Notes from the underground.

This is not a book about the totalitarian governments but rather the weakness of humans and the fact that they create these states out of weakness of their own spirits - It is safe to presume that this comment will be ignored because its time is not yet now...But please someone be more than the last man and make this possibly a life and world changing article and not just a rehash of received opinion.

from someone who actually seems to care —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:46, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

If you want to do original research, go ahead; I hope it is worldchanging. But Wikipedia is not a site for original research; it is a collection of verifiable prior research, properly cited. --Orange Mike 23:16, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

I am quite sure that the book is about totalitarian goverment, even Huxley makes refrance to this fact in his book "Brave new world revisited."

"but rather the weakness of humans and the fact that they create these states out of weakness of their own spirits." You can't apply this to 'Nineteen Eighty Four' as you have missed the whole point, you have missed the use of propaganda, 'Goldenstiens' book and Winston's own thought crime wanting to differ from the upheld line of thinking. There is no weakness of human spirts here, the whole point is that even the strongest of human will can be broken... I mean if this point were true then why would Orwell have included the "2+2=5" pre 'room 101.' Femalegeek —Preceding unsigned comment added by Femalegeek (talkcontribs) 17:29, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

The Last Man in Europe

In the title it says that one of Orwells ideas for the title of the book was The Last Man in Europe, but it was unknowen. In the book O'brien makes reference to the fact that Winston is the Last Man in Europe while he is in the ministrey of love. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:32, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


Kallocain is a dystopian novel drawn by Karin Boye in 1940, it is in many ways similiar to Nineteen Eighty-Four. A reference might be relevant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:04, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Missing Theme

In my opinion the A, B and C vocabulary should at least be mentioned in the article since it is a major theme in the book. I would not dare to do that myself, but it would be great if someone else would enrich the article with that. Maarten,dutch (talk) 19:02, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

spelling / grammar error

"The novel focuses on Winston Smith, who stands, seemingly alone, against the corrupted reality of his world"

My first Wikipedia edit ever! ...: changed CORRUPTED to CORRUPT.... "corrupted" isn't a word.... Gilraen690 17:20, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Gilraen690

Actually, corrupted is a word, and corrupt means "evil or morally depraved", and the reality isn't morally depraved or evil... the people are. So it should be "against the corrupt world". But oh well. 04:52, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Well it doesn't seem wrong for me that the original writer put what they put. Because they are saying that Winston stands alone against the 'corrupted reality'. 'Corrupted' is the adjective, 'reality' is the noun. I don't see a problem. Reality can be corrupted, yes? {Gill77)

Yes, since the reality is already corrupted and in the past, this word applies.Rusober (talk) 02:45, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that this "fits" in the Article....

The paragragh in question (as a sub-section of the section titled "The World of 1984"):

Nineteen Eighty-Four

....................***snip***.................... However, it is not only the overt totalitarianism of Nazism and Stalinism that the novel echoes. It could also, more significantly, it could be said, be seen to resonate with some current western trends in political thought. Increasingly, and with reason, terms such as "doublethink" are applied to current western administrations or even whole nations who to many people seem to give conflicting reasons for their actions. Whether in going to war or creating a given tax policy to benefit a certain segment of the population, governments could and have been accused of such Orwellian practices, which include fooling even themselves about their true intentions while at the same time keeping these goals strategically in mind.

The paragraph's seemingly preachy 'flavor' aside, I don't think in an article about a Novel written back the first half of the 20th century, that commentary of any sort should be written about "western scoieties" today.

I personally believe that any and all statements in the article be limited to the Author's own commentary/message, and not any statements by ourselves as to the relevance of 1984 in today's world. Perhaps.....perhaps a separate subtitle called "Terms from 1984 Usage in Modern Language" or some such, we should put down the contemporary usues of words like Doublespeak and so on, but not as a social commentary on our world today.

Even if others disagree with my opinion above that statements of relevance between "1984" and today's world don't belong in this article, I still personally feel that this particular paragraph that I cited just doesn't seem to me to belong in the article. Thanos777 23:52, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree. This paragraph and the one after it were added on Dec27th 2006 by Both paragraphs seem to violate NPOV. I think both paragraphs should be removed. The rest of the article is really good but these newly added pargraphs make the whole thing look bad. Msebast 20:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I think it should be noted that Orwell also used his experience with the BBC and the Ministry of Information during World War II as inspiration for the Ministry of Truth. Other than that, I agree that the two paragraphs clearly violate NPOV by going beyond Orwell's original commentary and need to be removed. BvonS 18:50, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm in two minds about the paragraph referred to. Its main weakness is the lack of direct reference to Orwell's own time, and its reliance on generalities. However, the thread is an interesting one. From my POV it is important (indeed crucial) that people do not see 1984 as a dated novel stuck in time, totally irrelevant to contemporary issues. This is the failing of many (or most) interpretations of 1984, in that they only see what they want to see. Orwell himself would be sardonically amused (and/or depressed) if he could observe the standard assumptions made that 1984 'refers only to Stalinism and Nazism'. A critique of two distant (and dead) political dystopias is easy and comfortable to digest, of course. Any other interpretation would require awkward self analysis and dangerous questions to be asked. 1984 is a novel not so much about 'totalitarianism' (as is often misunderstood), but one about the corruption of power and the compliance of intellectuals in perpetuating this evil. Orwell simply illustrated the universal fable he'd created by using the most resonant symbols that applied in his own time. Yet there are strong indications that Orwell was thinking about far wider political processes than those drawn from the contemporary examples of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany.

For one, there is the obvious parallel between The Ministry of Information which Orwell actually worked for during the Second World War, and 'The Ministry of Truth' in 1984. Orwell himself expressed great moral disquiet about his own role as state/ war propagandist with the MoI on many occasions, and these conversations are well documented. And of course it happens (just a coincidence?) that Winston Smith's role in the 'Outer Party' is completely synonymous with the author's direct experience and feelings about the period just before he wrote 1984. There is likewise the delicate issue of 'Room 101' (the 'ultimate fear' torture room in 1984), which also happened to be the exact name of the office he worked at in the MoI during the war. And once again there is the case of a certain piece of newsreel which was recently shown on a British TV documentary series 'Hell In The Pacific', about WW2 in the Pacific (the episode on the role of propaganda). One particularly disturbing example in the programme was one made by British propaganda, and produced by the MoI in exactly the same period when Orwell worked for them (note also that Orwell worked specifically on propaganda for 'the Pacific theatre of war'). This newsreel shows a Japanese merchant ship being bombed by British aircraft, which then visibly machine gun the survivors amid a pompous voiceover which implies that the struggling human beings in the water are just 'sub-humans' so deserve all they get. Now I don't know about anyone else, but I find this rings a direct bell with a certain scene in 1984. Could Orwell possibly have seen this same newsreel (I mean it surely stands to reason that he did), and been so appalled by it that he turned it into the machine-gunning of civilians in the sea scene in 'Hate Week'? But oh no, not according to those who discount that Orwell may also have been 'critiquing our own society'. Surely not. Just another coincidence I suppose. A thoughtcrime to even consider it.

Orwell was above all an independent thinker, and his writing was devoted to what he saw as telling the truth, whether it was about colonialism in Burma or the brutal inanity of 'socialist realism'. Like all of us he also held contradictory views, so the same man who held on one hand a rebellious attraction towards 'independent Marxist'/ non-Marxist (eg. anarchist, council communist) socialism, also held on the other a romantic sentimentalism for 'good old fashioned English decency'. He wrote with great incisiveness about both the suffering of the poor and also the hypocrisy and self-delusions of the intellectual classes, yet throughout his life had a problem with translating that into a 'true identification' with the working class or colonised people he wrote about. In this sense he was perhaps a product of his class background and imperial upbringing. His work should not be judged on it.

The Wikipedia paragraph on 1984 as quoted is indeed vague and unsubstantiated, yet in relation to Orwell's own life and mode of thought this can be easily corrected - as for example with the three small examples given above. And it should also be acknowledged in the Wikipedia entry that the 'Orwellian' resonances of 1984 have since been integrated into a strong critique of post-war western propaganda systems and one which carries considerable weight in the world today, namely that pioneered by the leading American linguist and political commentator Noam Chomsky (American Power And The New Mandarins, Manufacturing Consent, et al). Furthermore, it doesn't take much to uncover the many '1984isms' that are around us in the world today. All the way from the latest Perpetual War ('on terror'/ 'on drugs' etc) to 'national lotteries', CCTV surveillance, ID cards and the ever evolving, ever more perverse twists of language used by the media ('streamlining the workforce', 'collateral damage', 'friendly fire' etc etc), it can reasonably be asserted that Orwell's stark vision from 1984 lives on right here with us in the present.Doomkoff 11:50, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Plot summary

The one thing Winston had held on to was his hatred of Big Brother, which he felt would be his victory over the party's otherwise absolute power. And Winston kept his anger for Big Brother.

Buh? The last line in the book was "He loved Big Brother." It always seemed that in the ending it was quite blatant that even his hatred for the party and Big Brother had been worn down. 00:10, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

It's true that it does say "He loved Big Brother." So you can't say he kept his anger towards Big Brother, but it never says he dies either, so there might be a chance for him to change his mind...this is of course just an inference, so we never know.Sirkad 00:34, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Dumping of Orwell's Inspiration section

I have reverted the edit of 21:11, 10 November 2006 by User: This edit represented the dumping of an entire section of this article without prior discussion, by an anonymous editor with a history of vandalism.

I realize this section is rough and that many improvements to this article have been made since then, hence, this section will need some ruthless editing to get it up to the standards of the rest of the article. However, I feel quite strongly that the original dumping was uncalled for and was not the result of any kind of consensus. Peter G Werner 04:11, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

rv v

I reverted this edit by Morane Bullet because it is a fargoing edit, which was unexplained, since no vandalism was reverted. I can not fully see the consequences of this edit, as it involved a lot of moving of information. I suppose some one who knows the article well takes a look at this edit and reverts me or not. C mon 15:59, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Origins of Title

I've read the book - one with commentary - and, apparently, the reason the book is called 1984 is due to the fact that Orwell believed it would only take a slight re-arrangement to create the distopia in the book. I could use some help verifying this. ScaleneUserPageTalkContributionsBiographyЄ 07:41, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I read somewhere that Orwell chose to name it Nineteen Eighty-Four because he wrote the book in 1948 and 1984 is just rearanging the numbers. I agree with you, but I do not remember the paper I read it in. Eventually I might end up tracking it down, but it is unlikely. I think it was an Introduction or a letter by a friend of Orwell who described his life or something. I don't really remember. --BenWhitey 01:27, 9 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, here's one reference, although it doesn't say that it was Orwell's actual intent in picking the title. The biography cited just before that might be a good place to look for the origins of the title. — Laura Scudder 03:12, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


Changed the reference field for the Goebbels misquote to the wiki entry on Goebbels. Don't see why this was referencing Robert Fisk's site, upon which the misquote is merely repeated. User:khavakoz

Winston Smith Murdered

Why is not mentioned in the article nor on this discussion page that Winston Smith was eventually murdered by the party (shot in the back of the head)? I would have figured this was an important fact. 19:53, 19 February 2007 (UTC)AR

Winston Smith does not get murdered. Where are you getting your information? Winston is alive in the last chapter of 1984 and there is no implication or epilogue detailing this. Pel99 01:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, there is the implication that will happen at some point. There are several statements by O'Brian to the effect that Winston will eventually get the bullet in the head he has been wanting. I believe its also implied that all the former dissidents languishing at the Chestnut Tree are eventually doomed to execution, but that the party lets them live on for a while in an utterly defeated state before killing them. In any event this is not any kind of explicit plot point that takes place in the novel. Peter G Werner 06:01, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't have my copy on hand at the moment, but as I recall, one of the lines in the last paragraph was something to the effect of: 'The long-awaited bullet was finally entering his brain', followed by the recognition that, when that happened, he loved Big Brother. The first time I read it, I, too, walked away with the impression Smith was murdered at the end (and still think it's a rather powerful ending), loving BB. It was only on a reread that I considered that it might not be entirely literal, that he was sort of playing the scenario out in his mind. I don't think it was made explicit either way, and this may be what the original poster on the topic is referring to. Wandering Ghost 19:06, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Check this text. "The voice from the telescreen was still pouring forth its tale of prisoners and booty and slaughter, but the shouting outside had died down a little. The waiters were turning back to their work. One of them approached with the gin bottle. Winston, sitting in a blissful dream, paid no attention as his glass was filled up. He was not running or cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating everybody. He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight, and an armed guard at his back. The long hoped-for bullet was entering his brain.

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." The passage is not literally referring to Winston dying, its showing how he is daydreaming and has given in to the power of the party. It is a fantasy and not a reality. Pel99 01:10, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Winston was not murdered, he was simply imagining the earlier scene that he described in the book. I'm changing the plot summary to reflect this. --W00tfest99 (talk) 17:34, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I thought it just meant he killed himself intellectual-- (talk) 02:29, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Who was Big brother

Overall the article seems to be pretty good but it repeats a common misconception a number of times, stating that Big Brother was based on either Stalin or Hitler. This misses the entire point of the book, Big Brother is obviously based on Churchill, Airstrip One is England and its capital city is London. I remember hearing an article on censorship and 1984 and the whole book is in some ways a satire of World War Two. There are several pertinent facts. First Orwell apparently loathed Churchill, and apparently Churchill felt the same about Orwell and may have personally interfered with (i.e. had censored) some of his work.

Next we should remember the allies attitude to information and truth. What was put in the news media had two main purposes, number one was for moral and propaganda, and number two was to feed misinformation to any watching German spies. Actually conveying truth or information were a poor and distant third. Orwell was in a position to know this and 1984 was his cynical response. We should remember that at the time there was a great deal of propaganda, and news media practically forced their message on people - anyone who does not believe this has only to find some pathe news reel from the time. Talk about butchering the evil ‘hun’ etc.

Going further we can guess that Orwell wasn’t actually pro-Hitler but that like many intellectuals of the period saw little difference between the two sides. We should also remember that it took years for the true horror of the concentration camps to be revealed. Jewish science fiction author Isaac Asimov for instance wrote (I think mid 1960's) that he found it intellectually difficult to accept that the Germans were actually worse. He then went onto recount being chased and persecuted by anti-semitic gangs in the streets of Los Angeles, he says that these gangs were the children of the very same Tommy's who were out fighting Hitler.

Lucien86 20:48, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry I didn't make everything clear, in the mid 80's there was a lot of talk about propaganda and censorship, and 1984 was quite commonly cited as a book especially about censorship. The real problem is that everything George Orwell said openly, particularly at the time was itself subject to censorship. Unfortunately a lot of this work on censorship has ‘disappeared’ today or become very difficult to find (since the early 90's), so references can be pretty difficult or worse useless. There is also the problem that I am quoting work over 20 years old - a lot of my information came from BBC2 articles of the time. The only methods we are left with today are logic or guesswork - both of course imply original thinking. You can see Churchill in the role of BB - read the descriptions near the beginning of 1984. Just because a lot of people point at Stalin doesn’t mean anything (people are like sheep and travel in flocks).
One of the arguments that is now difficult to find is whether Orwell did hate Churchill, but they were certainly political poles apart, on Empire, justice, unions, royalty, nationalism, etc. People from abroad should know that many working class and socialist people in the UK once used to hate Churchill for his parts in fighting the unions and in killing strikers.
One argument is on the hidden meaning of Churchill’s great saying "The Victors Write the History" which can be taken a number of ways but could be seen to say that there is never complete truth in history - any history. The argument goes on to suggest that Churchill’s own writings were themselves heavily censored by Atlee and others. You may be aware that there are quite a number of alternate stories/streams around world war two, that Hitler was killed in 1943 and replaced by a stand-in, that Hitler escaped and ran to America, that Churchill or others strongly urged a pact with Hitler in order to destroy Stalin, that there was a confusing link between Hitler and Atlee before the war, etc.

Lucien86 23:24, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

It's a good theory, as theories go, but WP:RS means you'll need to supply a nice, reliable source for it if it is to go into the article. --Sumple (Talk) 01:01, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
It's kind of obvious that he was talking about a Stalin-Hitler hybrid. There is evidence in the fact that the novel constantly talks about how the Party is an improved version of the early 20th century totalitarians. Also, the appearance of Big Brother is much closer to that of Stalin and Hitler. 15:01, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
The Stalin-Hitler hybrid is a simplification; the real evidence of Orwell's meaning - in his own writings - is much more detailed than a physical resemblance to Stalin or Hitler. The ideas behind 'The Book', IngSoc and the corruption of language are fully explained by Orwell himself across a number of wartime and immediate post-war essays: 'The Lion and the Unicorn', 'Literature and Totalitarianism', 'Wells, Hitler and the World State', 'Propaganda and Demotic Speech', 'Notes on Nationalism', 'Politics and the English Language' and in particular 'James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution'. Aspects of Stalinism and Nazism are used in 1984 not as a warning against Stalinism or Nazism themselves (which would be rather redundant, considering Orwell's clear political stance), but as a warning, or to illustrate Orwell's fears, of the direction of aspects of English-speaking intellectualism and parts of 'the left' (i.e. nothing to do with Churchill, either). 1984 is a nightmare image of a world based on Burnham's managerial revolution, or convergence theory (very influential in certain left intellectual circles at the time): where capitalism, socialism, communism and fascism all 'converge' to become virtually indistinguishable; undemocratic societies ruled by a 'managerial', intellectual elite - whether notionally fascist, communist, capitalist.
Consider the following: "The new 'managerial' societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining uncaptured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchial, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom."
That is probably the most concise summary of '1984' ever written - Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania; endless war over the borders; the inner party and the proles. It is Orwell's summary of Burnham's theory.
What then transforms that into '1984' is Orwell's fear and distrust of some English and American intellectuals and so-called socialists of his day (including Burnham, until shortly before he published The Managerial Revolution). The rest of that particular essay discusses how Burnham throughout the war constantly changed his predictions, always "predicting a continuation of the thing that is happening... It is a major ental disease, and its roots lie partly in cowardice and partly in the worhsip of power". Orwell goes on to despair of the power worship underlying intellectuals. "Within the space of five years Burnham foretold the domination of Russia by Germany and of Germany by Russia. In each case he was obeying the same instinct: the instinct to bow down before the conqueror of the moment, to accept the existing trend as irreversible." The rest of the essay illustrates Burnham's admiration of the raw power and brutality - early in the war, for Germany, later for Russia - and how these will win out against 'soft' democratic nations of the west.
'1984' is a vision of Burnham's world; Orwell's nightmare of an England succumbed to an intellectual elite which craves power and attains it (in the case of England/'Oceania') by promising socialism to the masses. The Soviet tinge of Oceania and IngSoc is not because Orwell sees Stalinism as worse than Nazism (or any other form of Burnham's imagined super-states), but that the defeatist/power hungry section of the English intellegensia during the war admired Stalin over Hitler. Orwell's argument against Burnham (apart from the abhorence of power worship and brutality) in the essay is that Burnham ignores history, is blinded by power worship into failed predictions and overestimates the strength of fanatical devotion to the 'big brothers' Hitler and Stalin.
The fundamental opposition to Burnham's vision, however, is one that results from Orwell's democratic-socialism and the humanistic optimism that weaves through all of his writing: his belief in ordinary people, that democracy is more stable, more enduring than totalitarianism. "The immediate cause of the German defeat was the unheard-of-folly of attacking the USSR while Britain was still undefeated and war was manifestly getting ready to fight. Mistakes of this magnitude can only be made, or at any rate they are most likely to be made, in countries where public opinion has no power. So long as the common man can get a hearing, such elementary rules as not fighting all your enemies simultaneously are less likely to be violated."
This leads to the real underlying thread of '1984', Orwell's own underlying belief, tinged with just a slight horrific doubt.
Hope lies with the proles. Only when Winston loses faith in that belief does he finally succumb and 'loves Big Brother'. Redmark68 05:16, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

The revenge of history

Surely changing entries in past newspapers/current encyclopedias is likely to cause confusion and questioning - people #will# remember bits that were different etc, and, no matter how much checking is done there will always be scraps of paper used for notes. Jackiespeel 21:11, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia is now the extention of your brain and can be edited for any puropose, thereby controlling your mind.

Spoiler warnings.

I agree with User:Prosfilaes on this. Spoiler warnings are not there to generate marketing hype (which is why there is a very commonly-used template for them). They are so that users researching the book who have not yet read it will not have the plot revealed to them without warning. Stannered 17:21, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

more influence?

i think that, perhaps, it has influenced more than what is suggested in the article? there are more references to the book in popular culture, what comes to mind immediately is 'welcome to 1984' by anti-flag which explicitly refers to orwell 'adding fresh ink to the page as the un-president declares an endless war'. some cleanup needs to be done in this section... does anyone agree or am i a raving anti-flag fan?

05/28/08 - I was thinking the same thing. Under cultural references, should there be a reference to the 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial which is entirely based on the book? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ubrgeek (talkcontribs) 12:53, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Who is the copyright holder?

Who holds the copyright for the novel in the United States? And how can a novel be copyrighted in some countries but public domain in others? Wouldn't that make the copyright useless? 06:25, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Did you check out the copyright article? Copyright law still covers publication and distribution in that country; prior to the Internet, the fact that a book was out of copyright in one country but not in another was rarely an issue.--Prosfilaes 10:27, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

According to Nineteen Eighty-Four and other books by George Orwell are in public domain. I've looked in the US copyright records and I can't find the current copyright holder for this novel. If no one knows who the copyright holder is then I will remove the section that describes the novel's copyright status. 09:29, 6 June 2007 (UTC) is not a scholarly site and makes no explanation of its copyright assertions, so its assertions are worth about nothing. Given that you've stated that you don't understand international copyright law, I think you changing this would be inappropriate. BTW, Nineteen Eighty-Four was registered in the US in copyright database as AI-2259, and renewed in 1976 by Sonia Brownell Orwell, renewal ID R641953 (see the Copyright Renewal Database at Stanford). So it's under copyright in the US. Since in the EU and UK (and some other places), nothing ends a copyright before seventy years after the author's death, it's under copyright there, too. Places like Canada, where copyright ends 50 years after the author's death, it's out of copyright.--Prosfilaes 10:27, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Did any characters die?

There's a lot of talk about people getting vaporized, people vaporized in the past, the threat of being vaporized and Winston's impending death. It's also mentioned that a lot of people died in the bombings. But do any characters with speaking roles actually die in the book? As mentioned above, Winston fantasizes about his impending execution but doesn't actually die during the book. 10:38, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Does becoming an unperson necessarily mean that the person is dead? Winston seems to imply this but it's not certain because the word "dead" is not always meant literally in the book. Winston doesn't know if his mother is alive or dead and acknowledges the possibility that she might've been sent to a forced-labour camp. It's never mentioned whether she was an unperson or not? Winston also mentions that people who have been arrested sometimes are released temporarily and then arrested again. I don't know if this situation applies to people who have become unpersons. It would be very strange if a person who wasn't supposed to exist was seen in a public place confessing their crimes against the Party. Syme became an unperson just days after disappearing but Winston and Julia were held in the Ministry of Love for months before being temporarily released. Were they unpersons or not? Another character mentions their grandfather being vaporized a long time ago. I thought mentioning an unperson was supposed to be a thoughtcrime? 03:27, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Maybe the person was taken away before such a rigid system was set up, so the character that mentions his grandfather is in the clear for talking about someone who had been vaporized, but not specifically declared an unperson...or...undeclared a person...sry, i had toRusober (talk) 02:53, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure that an "unperson" is someone who never existed. He never was born, he never lived and therefore he never died. It would be a thoughtcrime to mention people who have become "unpersons" , whenever it can't be avoided they are just mentioned as an "unperson". There's no way to tell if Julia or Winston were considered unpersons when they went to the Ministry of Love. I think the difference between a person and an unperson is the fact that the latter is totally erased from history and the former is just missing. --Bending Unit (talk) 15:29, 9 May 2008 (UTC)Bending Unit

1984 vs. Nineteen Eighty-Four

Shouldn't the Nineteen Eighty-Four title be changed to 1984, considering that's how it's written on the cover of the book?

If you look at the cover picture in the article, the words "nineteen eighty-four" are written over 1984, so I wouldn't say it's a big call either way.--Prosfilaes 20:20, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
The title is the way it is because 1984 is also a year and it would screw up naming conventions on the year articles if we had to change the year article's title to "1984 (year)". I'm for this article being titled "1984 (novel)" though.J'onn J'onzz 16:08, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

I second the opinion that the title should be changed to 1984 (novel). That's what I always type when I go to this article. Nineteen Eighty-Four is 8 keyboard-taps longer than 1984 (novel). 10:04, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

1984 (novel) is a redirect to this article, so typing "1984 (novel)" should get you here. --Jtir 21:16, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
The key thing is how was the novel first referenced, titled. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:22, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Naming conventions says that the article name should be "... what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize ...". Not sure how that is determined, though.
The current article name has been extant since 2002.[1] --Jtir 18:50, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
The Signet Classics ed. uses 1984 on both front and back covers.[2]
The Plume ed. uses Nineteen Eighty-Four on the cover and three times on the flaps. 1984 is used once, although it seems to refer to the year, not the novel.[3]
Interestingly, at the bottom of the back flap, there is a note saying that the flap copy is from the first ed. pub'd in 1949.
I would suggest adding a note saying that the title of the first ed. was Nineteen Eighty-Four, but that the novel is often called 1984.
--Jtir 19:24, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
What we should do is find an image of every single edition ever published and see which version of the title comes up more often. If that's not possible, then we should go with the title on the newest edition of the novel. 13:50, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Nineteen Eighty-Four. A novel. is the exact title of the 1949 UK and US editions according to bibrecs from the British Library. --Jtir 23:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Restore Hitler references

Ok, they are maybe reasonable, but where are your sources for this edit. Everything here needs to be "verifiable". :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:22, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I am not clear what references you require.
  • The paragraph notes that 1984 includes leader worship, concentration camps and secret police. The reference for these statements is the book itself and this is referenced as a footnote to the article.
  • The paragraph also notes that Nazi Germany had leader worship, concentration camps and secret police. These are referenced by the inclusion of wikilinks to associated articles like Adolf Hitler and the Gestapo, but their existence is commonly accepted and specific external references on this page verifying the existence of Nazi concentration camps or the Gestapo seems like overkill.
  • The article already notes (with references) that Orwell wrote 1984 as a cautionary tale against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism. The parallels between his fictional world and Stalinist Russia are direct, but it does not seem controversial to note the similarities with the other major totalitarian regime of the times. Orwell's stated intent was opposition to totalitarianism, and in pursuing this theme he could not have failed to be aware of the similarities between his fictional world and Nazi Germany, where structures like the Gestapo, leader worship and concentration camps were extremely well known in western Europe in 1949 and more so than their Stalinist equivalents.
I believe both references should stay but have not yet restored them to the article in the interests of further discussion on this page. I note your extensive Wikipedia experience - especially in literary fields - and would welcome your input on this point. Euryalus 12:55, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
If people are going to log out to edit war over this one, would they please choose diffs to revert to that don't fuck up the page layout by leaving open reference tags. At present that's the 'Adolf's in side'. Thanks.--Alf melmac 05:23, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
For the record, the anon IP's aren't me. On balance I think 'Adolf in' is better, but I don't care enough to revert it without consensus and I certainly don't care enough to try to hide the identity of the edit by logging out. Euryalus 07:17, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I bothered to fix the broken ref the frist time the anons passed by and did this, however now that no matter how many times I leave block letter explanations to not revert to broken version, it continues and continues. I've locked the page for an hour, the anons appear to be in Japan, it may be they don't understand English at all, but sorry, that ain't my problem.--Alf melmac 08:42, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. My request to have it semi-protected two days ago was declined, because there was not enough recent activity.[4] All those IPs originate in Tokyo. Received this comment on my talk page shortly after protection. --Jtir 16:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Hmm I had thought that a language barrier was in play, hence the protection rather a range block. Well Jtir, it won't be the first or last time we are NAZI-ADMIN-DELETIONIST-CABAL-[add your favourite wiki-insult here] for trying to get a decent edit out of a body :p Anyone care to explain about broken reference tags in Japanese?--Alf melmac 16:36, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Er, why is the English Socialism article here?

Seriously, there are like two "parts" of the same article. That's not supposed to be intentional, is it?


There was an unclosed reference tag still open, I've closed it and that fixes the layout issue.--10:36, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
I think the English Socialism section (which reads like an essay, few citations, meanders off topic, unformatted and repeats plot outlines etc) should be replaced. I think there is a case for a section which details some of the major ideas behind 1984 and the essays they were developed in over a period of years. The novel is more than a warning against Stalin/Hitler if considered in context of Orwell's essays and is the culmination of several themes on English Socialism, intellectuals, power worship, the English language etc. An outline of the major themes with reference and citations to the major essays - The Lion and the Unicorn, Burnham and the Managerial Revolution (which I've added a couple of small references to elsewhere where appropriate), Politics and the English Language, and several shorter ones - should fit well, certainly better than the existing English Socialism section. The relevance of 'Notes on Nationalism' might also fit better here, as the existing section is slightly confused IMO.
Removed Ingsoc section as it is a direct copy of part of the Ingsoc article. Editus Reloaded 11:37, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I killed the existing section, as it is a mass of original research. --Orange Mike 13:44, 31 July 2007 (UTC)


Clarified that the references to examples of positive/negative nationalism are from the essay 'Notes on Nationalism', rather than the novel itself which the sentences might have suggested; allows removal of 'citation needed'.Redmark68 05:53, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Glaring omission: 2+2=?

I don't have the source in front of me at the moment, but the original American edition contained a very significant error. At the end of the novel, Winston writes out "2+2=5"; in the American version, a typo left the "5" out of the equation ("2+2= "), thereby subverting the point of the entire book. Why hasn't anybody mentioned this? Ivangeotsky 31 July 2007

Ministry articles

Is it absolutely necessary for the four Ministries to have their own article? I'd rather have them as sections on a single Ministry article. DiamondDragon DESU 22:59, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Anais Mitchell song?

Anais Mitchell put out a song called 1984 based on the novel in her 2004 album Hymns for the Exiled. Should this get a mention somewhere in the article? --Dataphiliac 03:32, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

It would seem that this should be a separate page that is referred to from a disambiguation page. I'm not sure that discussion of music based on the book should be referenced from the book's entry. (Though the page for the song referring back to the book seems sensible.) Adiamas (talk) 18:40, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Ayn Rands 'Anthem'?

Regarding this paragraph:

Along with Ayn Rand's Anthem, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, it is among the most famous and cited dystopias in literature.

I don't think Anthem is nearly as notable as the other books mentioned here, and its inclusion strikes me as on of her fans trying to boost its profile. The Handmain's Tale is borderline, but I think many more people have heard of and read that book than Anthem

If noone raises any objections over the next day or so, I shall remove it, as I think its a deliberate attempt to use wikipedia to raise the profile of someones favourite book. Damburger 12:24, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Please do so. --Orange Mike 12:45, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
First, I think you should remember to assume good faith; I suspect it was added by someone who honestly thought it was an improvement. Secondly, I doubt that many more people have read A Handmaid's Tale than Anthem; Ayn Rand is a hugely successful author, and even with Anthem not being one of her hugely popular books, I suspect Anthem has had more readers than any of Atwood's books. Both books have their own Wikipedia pages. I would be really surprised to find that "many more" is justified here. Mind you, I don't think either of them is playing in the same league as 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451.--Prosfilaes 14:27, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I reckon Pros has a point here; I sell more copies of the Atwood than of that particular Rand, but still, they are neither one of them in the same category of reknown. Maybe both should be trimmed.--Orange Mike 14:31, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, I am assuming good faith (are people not assuming my good faith by saying im not assuming good faith? this could get recursive...) - I believe Anthem was added by someone who believed it was a comparable book to 1984 etc. I think thats a minority opinion though. Given the responses so far, I'll trim them both and if anyone wants to contest that later they can. Damburger 16:05, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm pretty positive that was taken from either the epilogue or the introduction to the novel —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:32, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Do you mean an epilogue or introduction by somebody else? Orwell, of course, despised Rand and all her ilk. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:57, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
As someone who studied and taught English literature, I have to say I strongly disagree with the comments above. Rand's Anthem is considered a fairly important work of literature, esp. in the dystopic mode. It is not one of her major novels, but it is widely referred to in studies of dystopic literature. It is, at least in the United States, frequently required reading in high school literature classes, and is often assigned in college as well.
"A Handmaid's Tale," on the other hand, is a critically acclaimed modern science fiction classic, but has not yet reached the same "canonical" status as "Anthem." (Probably because Atwood is alive!)
The benchmark of "how many books are sold" is not a good one when evaluating how "canonical" a work of literature has become. I'm sure far more copies are sold of any given V.C. Andrews book than any book by Faulkner, for example.
And I also don't think it matters that Rand and Orwell were hardly coming from the same political point of view. Anthem (like A Handmaid's Tale) shares a strong similarity with 1984, not just because it is a dystopic satire, but because it is specifically a satire of a totalitarian society.
My final feeling about this, however, is that both "Anthem" and "A Handmaid's Tale" are worthy of mention in this article. Both of these books are well-known, and well-regarded satires in the dystopic mode. I see no harm in mentioning them in the article, and feel that they are useful references.
(And let's not forget that Rush's album 2112 was loosely based on Anthem, for Crissakes.  :) )
StrangeAttractor (talk) 23:20, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Character articles

How about List of characters in 1984 or something similar. It seems a little crufty to create separate entries for each one, and keeping it all together may be easier in terms of editing and presentation too. Richard001 10:15, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Map of Oceania, Eurasia, EastAsia

I've only have a cursory glance at the page so forgive me if i'm wrong, but the supplied graphic delineating the 3 superpowers seems incorrect. I dont have the book handy, but I've read it enough times to be confident in believing the 'rough quadrilateral' of the disputed territory is made up of 'darwin, brazzaville, tangiers and hong kong'. To the best of my knowledge brazzaville is central africa (Congo), Tangiers is Algeria? and we all know where Darwin and Hong Kong are. That doesnt look too much like the supplied graphic, especially with the long finger of disputed territory running through Mongolia between Eastasia and Eurasia. Am I wrong? If not it would be handy if someone fixed it up 13:28, 24 August 2007 (UTC)alexwank

Concentration on Naziism/Stalinism

I am disturbed by the concentration on Nazism/Stalinism in the current form of the article. While I agree that the snipped portion is too "preachy" and modern, I always got the impression that the book was more about where trends within American and British Society at the time of the writing would end up taking us. Animal Farm takes care of the USSR, and 1984 the US and UK. ````

Well, if you've got some cites that say the same thing, put them in. Your own impressions, like my own, are Original Research and don't fit WP:V. --Orange Mike 14:51, 28 August 2007 (UTC) 16:15, 13 September 2007 (UTC)==Self-influence?== I see no mention that the first chapter of "1984" closely tracks the first chapter of "Keep the Aspidistra Flying" [1936]. There's a thematic similarity, too, as Gordon Comstock eventually buys into conformity. 16:15, 13 September 2007 (UTC)Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Horrible article

This article needs some serious work. It is all over the place, horribly written in parts and simply poor quality. Not exactly a fitting tribute to an amazing book. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Other 1985 Book

Aside from the sequel by Burgess there is another 1985 book by György Dalos. Anyway, I wasn't sure what to do. I haven't made many edits so I wasn't sure if I should create a disambiguation page or something else. Before yesterday I was actually only aware of the Dalos book. Anyway, I just thought I'd bring it up here as well as on the 1985 (novel) talk page. Woland37 14:38, 19 October 2007 (UTC)


Does this article really compare the Boy Scouts to the Hitler Youth? Comparing the FBI to the Gestapo is already pushing it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:05, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Is it really that much of a stretch considering the story it's based on? Personally I'd say it's the other way around; I think that the Hitler Youth are more comparable to the Scouts than the FBI to the Getaspo. in any case, I think the comparisons are still valid. Both youth groups went on trips to the country, learnt about practical skills, had a strong sense of team-building and family etc. I presume the connection you can't understand is the propaganda that went in the Hitler Youth. Can you honestly say that the American/Other countries ideologies aren't passed on through to the youth of the country? OK, there is a much more obvious degree of influence in the Hitler Youth, but there is influence nevertheless... Crankytoad 19:37, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

everything just got deleted?

is anyone doing anything about it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

By the time you posted this, it had already been undone. --Orange Mike | Talk 21:05, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Odd linkage

If you look at this paragraph in the beginning of the text:

"In turn, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been seen as subversive and politically dangerous and thus been banned by libraries in many countries.[1] Along with Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, it is among the most famous dystopias in literature.[2] In 2005, Time magazine selected it as one of the 100 best English-language novels since 1923.[3]"

The linking of "subversive and politically dangerous and thus been banned by libraries in many countries." to the thoughtcrime article is probably just a joke. Someone could remove that, I do not know how to.

Cheers, (talk) 15:35, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. I removed it. A more intuitive link might have been to Banned books. --Jtir (talk) 19:37, 30 December 2007 (UTC)