1984

Book & Author

1984
Imagine life in a future time when a totalitarian government watches over all citizens and directs all activities.

Watch this trailer of the 1984 movie adaptation directed by John Hurt to get a good idea of what the book is about:

George Orwell|
Orwell was a British journalist and author, who wrote two of the most famous novels of the 20th century ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.

Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair on 25 June 1903 in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He was educated in England and, after he left Eton, joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, then a British colony. He resigned in 1927 and decided to become a writer. In 1928, he moved to Paris where lack of success as a writer forced him into a series of menial jobs. He described his experiences in his first book, ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’, published in 1933. He took the name George Orwell, shortly before its publication. This was followed by his first novel, ‘Burmese Days’, in 1934.
More from the BBC.

Quote from the book

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Discuss

Topics the book will bring up for discussion include:

  • Is our modern day society similar to Orwell’s vision of the future?
  • What the members think they would do if they were in Winston’s  position – would they try to undermine the party if and if so, how?
  • The role of sex and intimacy in 1984. What specific function does the Party’s directive on sexual interaction serve

More discussion questions are available from LitLovers

A detailed discussion guide is also available from the Great Books Foundation.

Enhance

We don’t have much to recommend in the way of refreshments – but we did find this redipe for Christmas pudding that was used by George Orwell himself.

There are a variety of posters inspired by 1984 available for sale on the internet.  These could be used for decor at your meeting, or you could give each of the group members a blank poster and ask them to design their own piece inspired by the book.

Your group may want to schedule a movie night and watch the 1984 film adaption of the book.

The individual’s right to privacy and the ability of the government to keep people under constant surveillance are major themes in 1984.  Your group members may want to explore a free online course that explores these topics further.  For example Edx offers a course called Wiretaps to Big Data: Privacy and Surveillance in the Age of Interconnection.

Interact

This is your opportunity to tell us and other book groups what you thought of 1984 as a book discussion book.  Share your thoughts and experiences and tips for other groups by leaving a comment on this post.