1984 by George Orwell for my fiction writing deliberate practice.
Book has 3 parts:
- Part 1, 8 chapters
- Part 2, 10 chapters
- Part 3, 6 chapters
3 parts seem to convey to traditional Aristotelian three-act structure, exposition, climax and resolution.
Setting / Story world
- Cold, harsh, gruff story world
- Industrial, totalitarian vibe
- Dystopia, rundown, bombed, some kind of war aftermath, violent
- Feeling of being surveyed—suddenly reminded me of Michel Foucault’s Panopticon
- Big Brother
- Emmanuel Goldstein
- A young lady Winston hated
Terms, and terms used repeatedly
- Hate Week
- Big Brother
- Police Patrol
- Thought Patrol
- Inner Party
- Two Minutes Hate
Observations & Insights
The repetition of “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” and emphasis on the telescreen and how Winston would be heard but not seen if he knew where to position himself communicated the idea of being watched. And obviously as the chapter developed, it showed how Winston doesn’t like, in fact, hates the Big Brother.
But the pervasiveness of surveillance and even the consequences is implied during the Two Minutes Hate, where it showed how Winston seems brain-washed to a certain extent because his automatic hate-response and hate-reflexes kick into play. My thought is that it showed me how propaganda programmed the members’ responses, whether they like it or not, they become brain-washed.
Even though the members who are strangers united in their expression of hate to their Enemy of the People, Emmanuel Goldstein who is obviously depicted as despicable traitor who committed treason against the Party and the Big Brother, when the two minutes ended, they remain but, possibly, silent helpless oppressed enemies of the Party.
They are gathered but alone, just like Winston, whose loneliness is apparent. His desolation drove him to begin writing, which was said to be punishable by death or at least forced labor, even though there are no laws.
Two paragraphs really struck me as a writer:
“It was curious that he seemed not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that he had originally intended to say.”
“All he had to do was to transfer to paper the interminable restless monologue that had been running inside his head, literally for years. At this moment, however, even the monologue had dried up.”
- As a character, Winston have been silenced, he lost his voice and is struggling to find it
- As a writer, there’s how I feel whenever I tell myself I need to write my novel
Hooks to continue reading
- Who is Big Brother?
- Who is Winston?
- Who is Emmanuel Goldstein?
- Why are the three slogans of the Party so damn contradictory? What’s the deeper meaning? Is there a deeper meaning?
- WAR IS PEACE
- FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
- IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
- Winston started writing “down with big brother” like a automatic rebellious reflex, even though he caught himself and fear overtook because people go missing or vanish at night and then chapter ends with a knock on his door.
Deliberate Practice Hour Tally: 2 hours
- Read chapter 1 part 1 while taking notes in my notebook
- Wrote this blog post to consolidate my insights