Thursday, October 8, 2009


His heart leapt. Scored of times she had done it; he wished it had been hundreds--thousands. Anything that hinted at corruption always filled him with a wild hope. Who knew? Perhaps the Party was rotten under the surface, its cult of strenuousness and self-denial simply a sham concealing iniquity. If he could have infected the whole lot of them with leprosy or syphilis, how gladly he would have done so! Anything to rot, to weaken, to undermine! He pulled her down so that they were kneeling face to face.
"Listen. The more men you've had, the more I love you. Do you understand that?"
"Yes, perfectly."
"I hate purity. I hate goodness. I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones."
"Well then, I ought to suit you, dear. I'm corrupt to the bones." (104-05)

During the month that he had known her the nature of his desire for her had changed. At the beginning, there had been little true sensuality in it. Their first love-making had been simply an act of the will. But after the second time it was different. The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside of him, or into the air all around him. She had become a physical necessity, something that he not only wanted but felt that he had a right to. (115)

Talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant. In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird. (129)


Sound familiar? Sound eloquent? Sound magnificent?

These passages are from 1984, the mind-boggling novel from George Orwell, published in 1949. In a quest to find something to read, I decided to reread this book, and found that I spent most of my time searching the dictionary for the definitions of the words he uses throughout the text. (this makes me happy, by the way.) Reading it now as an older individual has been delightful... because it is amazing, intellectually simple, and very scary, when you consider the fact that the dystopian society in the novel IS possible... I love it. Now THAT is a novel.

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