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1984: A Dystopian Bedtime Story [PeachyTO Reads]

Audio Recording of George Orwell's 1984, Part 1, Chapter 1


Welcome to the first installment of 1984: A Dystopian Bedtime Story, where I read George Orwell's 1984 for your listening pleasure. I know most people have read this book, many back in high school, but given the direct parallels to our current society, I thought it would be the perfect novel to kick off my new edition of Peachy Books Storytime on YouTube and Rumble.


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Some memorable quotes from George Orwell, shared on my various social medias throughout the week:

Love is precious, something not to be taken for granted, sought after by all, yet in no way guaranteed; not from family, friend, or partner.


Can one survive in the absence of it? I've yet to see anyone do so triumphantly.

Another imperative, and as this quote from 1984 suggests, possibly of equal importance, is being understood. Some might even say that the lack of one is an apparent deficit of the other.

 

George Orwell's essay Politics and the English language (found here: https://tinyurl.com/2dpw45f3) is where you'll find this salient quote about the corruption of thought and language. Orwell accurately reflects on the effect speech has on our ability to think and concludes that the decline of verbal expression is often the result of political and economic causes.


The essay gives one much to think about when considering the importance of 'newspeak' (the fictional language of Oceania) and its accompanying tenet 'doublethink' (the indoctrination process by which Oceanians were to accept two differing beliefs as fact, usually against their internal memories or sense of truth), the manipulative tools used to control the masses in his monumental and prescient novel 1984.


The demoralisation cast upon the people of Oceania through austerity, the telescreen, and the rigidity of daily life quite obviously corrupted the language they rarely had the bravery to speak. Conversely, the bastardised speech and hypocritical concepts they accepted would have kept them from actualising profound thought, which, even if by chance were to materialise, would have been hastily whisked away for fear of being accused of the punishable by 'vaporisation' transgression of 'thought-crime.' The perfect setup for the totalitarians to easily maintain control over the Oceanians' dreary and unchallenged existence.


The reality of the rapidly changing world we find ourselves in today sees the dissolution of words and their historical meanings daily, forced vocabulary compelled to further ideological bent, and citizens punished via a Human Rights Tribunal for daring to say the wrong word.

Orwell's ominous message should give us pause to consider how we got here and what thinking we should be doing to change it.


 

Although I was assigned this outstanding and prescient novel during my schooling, I would be utterly surprised if my son came home with it as part of his instruction during high school in the next few years. I can't imagine the current postmodern curriculum would allow for the critical thinking that George Orwell's work inspires. The only thing I've witnessed within his elementary years was the polar opposite of conceptualisation, where the children are only encouraged to follow the instructed narrative, with no room for questioning and, most certainly, no space for alternative viewpoints.


The Canadian education system is failing our children and society writ large, of this I am certain. But I'm sure there will be many future posts on this specific topic, so stay tuned!


Also, watch for my next installment, Part 1, Chapter 2 of George Orwell's 1984, in the next couple of weeks on Peachy Books!


Have you or your children read 1984, and if so, was it assigned reading during school? I'd love to hear about your history with the novel in the comments!





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