1984 by George Orwell

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Insightful questions for discussion

  • How did they allow society to get to this point?
  • What makes Newspeak effective in narrowing thought?
  • Why do they call it the two-minute hate and how did it start? Why have the two-minute hate?
  • Why does society frown upon sex but almost encourage prostitution?
  • What do the rats (Winston's fear of rats) symbolize?
  • During vaporization, what was it claimed that Julia was so easy to change?
  • Why does Winston cry at the Chestnut Cafe?
  • How is Julia and Winston's room like a paperweight?
  • Why does the government want the war to continue?
  • How can Intelligence be weakness?
  • How is the prole woman more beautiful than Julia?
  • How does the Party control the past?
  • Was life better before the revolution than it is now? Do people have the mental capacity to decide?
  • Would it be possible to overthrow society? How would one go about it, if so?

Questions for adults participating in the discussion
  • During the time you were reading the book, how did you campare it to your life or society after reading the story?
  • How is today different from your time period? What are the similarities and differences?
  • What are your thoughts on the amount of technology people (exclusively teenagers) use today?
  • Do you think technology can/will come to the point where it almost completely takes over our lives?
  • Do you think that people like Winston Smith exist in our society?
  • During your time of reading the book, did you think that in 2010 it be would just as relevant as before?

Power of information, propaganda, and language distortion
Abuse and/or misuse of technology
Threats to privacy
Memorable quote from novel...
"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it. ... Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller" (52).
"He was facing her at several paces' distance. As yet he did not dare move nearer to her.
'I didn't want to say anything in the lane,' she went on, 'in case there's a mike hidden there. I don't suppose there is, but there could be. There's always the change of one of those swine recognizing your voice" (119).
"There were no telescreens of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized" (117)
Relevant connections to today's world...

"Only because I prefer positive to negative. In this game that we're playing, we can't win. Some kinds of failure are better than other kinds,"(135).

Important characters and their characteristics worth discussion