by George Orwell
Why Banned:

Banning History:

Published in 1949, "1984" is a dystopian novel, mirroring the worst type of society possible a mere 35 years from its current future. Orwell, having experienced authoritarian dictatorship and political authority in Spain, Germany, and the Soviet Union, wrote of a totalitarian system controlling its citizens through fear, ignorance, and an overall lack of free will. Strong theme's through the novel involve: nationalism, sexual repression, and censorship with which the U.S.S.R banned the novel claiming it to have "anti-Soviet" and "anti-Stalin" theme’s. While Orwell was a strong supporter of democratic socialism and an strong opposer to Fascism and Communism , his novel was managed to be challenged in America. The year following its published, a communist government established itself in China quickly spreading fear. In 1981 a couple in Florida challenged the book, claiming the novel was "pro-communist" and disliked the explicit sexual content. The novel is has had no other challenges or bans and yet the novel’s talk on privacy and government control holds strong parallels in today’s American society. Orwell's fear of destroying freedom in want of economical and social stability is still something that creeps into the minds of readers, making us question how far away are we from this future?

Author Bio

Eric Arthur Blair was born in Bengal, British India on the 25th of June in 1903. Moving with his father, mother, and sister to Shiplake before WWI, Eric spent most of the time writing and reading poetry with Jacintha, a family friend who would come and go as the years went on. Gaining entrance to St. Cyprian through a scholarship, there was a constant distaste for schooling which reflected itself in his grades as he later moved on to Eton. Due to the family's low income, and his poor grades, Eric was convinced to join the Imperial Police in Burma. Moving slowly through the ranks, his health began to disturb him. Illness would find a constant in his life leading up to his death. One occasion was so severe that it forced him to take a leave; using the time to go back to London where he made the decision to focus on his writing. Working constantly with what he knew, he progressively grew as a writer taking on the pen name George Orwell. Shortly after marrying Eileen O'Shaughnessy, Francisco Franco (supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy) began taking military control over Spain. Orwell decided to take part in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Shot in the neck, Orwell went back to London, there would always be the desire to return. In 1943, having worked in BBC's Eastern Services where he supervised cultural broadcast to India in counter of Nazi's propaganda, Orwell resigned in hopes on working more on his newest satire: "Animal Farm". With "Animal Farm" published, Orwell began to make a clear name for himself in the political spectrum. Strongly opinionated as a democratic socialist and very much against totalitarian rule Orwell began "1984" where he looks more into his fears about government and warns of the dangers that can arise in a technologically advancing society.

Discussion Questions

1) How does Big Brother correlate with today's society?

2) Is it the governments duty to eliminate personal freedoms in order to maintain a stable economy and society?

3) How does language and the definitions of terms such as: Newspeak, Big Brother, and Ministry of Truth become paradoxical?