To Orwell Today,


I am a senior in high school and I am currently reading 1984 in school. I am doing a report on comparing 1984 to today's society. And I have found your web site very useful in doing this report. I was wondering why someone like yourself would do this voluntary on a book which does not make any sense and is utterly boring, it was just a question my colleagues and I came up with. and if you could write back on help with my project comparing one thing in 1984 and linking in to today.

Thank you for your concern,

Greetings Tyler,

You and your colleagues asked a good question when you wondered why I would put this much effort into a book that doesn't make any sense and is utterly boring.

The reason I like your question is because that's exactly how I felt about the book when I first attempted to read it in high school in around 1968 or so.

I don't even think I finished it, and I think the main thing I disliked about it -- aside from the fact that it was hard to read -- was that I couldn't imagine the world I lived in ever becoming that way and so I didn't see the point in reading about it. I have never been a science-fiction fan and I considered the book so far-out as to be in the realm of science fiction.

I've always been a voracious reader and as I travelled through Europe, Asia and Australia in the '70s I read all the classics and most of the contemporary books of the day. Then as I settled down and had children I continued to read and stumbled across a volume of George Orwell's short stories and I LOVED them. So that got me interested in him again, although I still didn't read "1984"'. Then in the early '90s (when I was 40) I went back to college** to take a ten month course and while there I observed "political correctness"* that reminded me exactly of what I'd remembered Orwell describing in "1984". So I decided to re-read the book.

I found an old volume in the second-hand store and commenced reading it. Once again I found it boring and hard to understand but I persevered because in between the boring parts I recognized how scaringly well he was describing things that I myself was noticing all around me. I was actually SHOCKED at how much of what he described was coming true!

I'd try to talk to people about it but I found that most of them were in the same boat as you and me -- they'd tried to read the book and didn't like it. It was impossible to have a conversation with people to compare notes on how far down the road to tyranny we were travelling because they hadn't read the book.

So, to make a long story short I tried to devise a way that would make the book easier for people to read and understand in the hopes that they would learn the important ideas that it contained. So there you have it -- www.orwelltoday.com -- and for that reason I'm very happy you've found the site and that it has helped you with your project.

In answer to your second question, ie "compare one thing in '1984' linking today", my answer is to direct you to go to the homepage of orwelltoday.com and go to the most recent posting under 'Today's Orwell'. You'll see it's a story titled, "And the band played on (music industry producing patriotic hits)". Click on to that story, read it, and then click on to the 25th theme, "Prolefeed" and read what Orwell has to say about the entertainment in Oceania, and how pornograhic and violent it was. Isn't that just like the entertainment we have these days in 2001?

So that's an example of how to use the webpage. It is my hope that you will eventually read all of the 45 themes, preferably from top to bottom, so that you will get a good understanding of all the important information it contains.

"1984" is a very complex book, and very difficult to read and understand. For me to be able to put up this webpage I had to read the book many, many times. And still today I find things in it that hit home with a great impact and I am once again AMAZED at how much trouble we're in as a nation and as free citizens of the world.

It makes me appreciate Orwell's great contribution to mankind -- trying to warn us about what could happen if we take our freedom for granted.

One of my favourite sayings of Orwell's (which isn't even from '1984') is:

"If you hate violence and don't believe in politics,
the only major remedy remaining is education.
Perhaps society is past praying for,
but there is always hope for the individual human being."

I know you and your friends are too young to have to be worrying about the world, and I don't expect you to understand all the concepts in "1984". I sure didn't when I was your age. But then again, the world wasn't as bad then as it is now. I grew up in the '50s and '60s when the world was at peace recovering from the Second World War. But now the world is leaving peace again and young people like yourselves are going to be deprived of your innocent, carefree youth. That's why it's more important than ever that you get as much information as you can to make the most intelligent decisions and choices.

I hope this has helped you Tyler, and please get back to me if you have any more questions or comments. And I'd LOVE to hear how your project turns out.

All the best,
Jackie Jura, 2001

Student Stuart recently finished reading 1984 and wonders why Orwell writes the novel with such a distinct setting. Why does he leave it so bare, even though four decades have passed since the war? What significance does the setting have and what role does it play in the novel?



Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com