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Nicole Etolen
1,546 followers -
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Book Worm, Trivia Geek, and Mom
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Book Worm, Trivia Geek, and Mom

1,546 followers
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Thanks to +Annette Holland for the recommendation on this one.

There are things that upset us. That's not quite what we're talking about here, though. I'm thinking rather about those images or words or ideas that drop like trapdoors beneath us, throwing us out of our safe, sane world into a place much more dark and less welcoming.

Et tu...

http://amzn.to/2jgNY2R

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Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by George Orwell published in 1949.

It was banned in the USSR until the 1980s for its allegorical depiction of the rise and fall of socialism and Stalin's totalitarian regime. Ironically it was also banned in the US for having communist text in the introduction.

Challenged in the Jackson County, FL (1981) because Orwell's novel is "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter." 

In 2014, an Egyptian student was arrested near the entrance of Cairo University for carrying a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Nineteen Eighty-four is just the kind of book that you would expect to be banned in China, all that talk of Big Brother, Newspeak and the rewriting of history is far too close to the bone, surely. So I was amazed to come across it on open sale in a state-run bookshop in Yanji 延吉on the North Korean border in fact. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/155959


Nineteen Eighty-Four popularized the adjective Orwellian, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state.  In 2005, the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.  It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor's list, and 6 on the readers' list.   In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. 

The Last Man in Europe was one of the original titles for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Warburg suggested changing the main title to a more commercial one.

Copyright status - The novel will be in the public domain in the European Union and Russia in 2020, and in the United States in 2044 ] It is already in the public domain in Canada,  South Africa, Argentina, Australia,  and Oman. 

Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental superstates that divided the world among themselves after a global war. Most of the action takes place in London, the "chief city of Airstrip One", the Oceanic province that "had once been called England or Britain".  Posters of the Party leader, Big Brother, bearing the caption "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU", dominate the city, while the ubiquitous telescreen (transceiving television set) monitors the private and public lives of the populace. The social class hierarchy of Oceania has three levels:

The protagonist Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party, works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth as an editor, revising historical records to make the past conform to the ever-changing party line and deleting references to un-persons, people who have been "vaporized", i.e. not only killed by the state, but denied existence even in history or memory.

The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"; yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the régime's continual rewriting and manipulation of history.

 His memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom fell to civil war and then was absorbed into Oceania. Simultaneously, the USSR conquered mainland Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia. The third superstate, Eastasia, comprises the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The three superstates wage perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world, forming and breaking alliances as is convenient. 

From his childhood Winston remembers the Atomic Wars fought in Europe, western Russia, and North America. It is unclear to him what occurred first: the Party's victory in the civil war, the US annexation of the British Empire, or the war in which Colchester was bombed. However, his strengthening memories and the story of his family's dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings occurred first (the Smiths took refuge in a tube station), followed by civil war featuring "confused street fighting in London itself", and the societal postwar reorganization, which the Party retrospectively calls "the Revolution".


Winston Smith, begins retaining a journal criticizing the Party and its enigmatic leader, Big Brother, which — if and when uncovered by the Thought Police — warrants certain death. The flat has an alcove, beside the telescreen, where Winston apparently cannot be seen, and thus believes he has some privacy, while writing in his journal: "Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime IS death." 

The telescreens (in every public area, and the quarters of the Party's members), have hidden microphones and cameras. These devices, alongside informers, permit the Thought Police to spy upon everyone and so identify anyone who might endanger the Party's régime; children, most of all, are indoctrinated to spy and inform on suspected thought-criminals — especially their parents.


At the Ministry of Truth, Winston is an editor responsible for historical revisionism, to concord the past to the Party's ever-changing official version of the past; thus making the government of Oceania seem omniscient.

As such, he perpetually rewrites records and alters photographs, rendering the deleted people as "unpersons"; the original documents are incinerated in a "memory hole". Despite enjoying the intellectual challenges of historical revisionism, he becomes increasingly fascinated by the true past and tries to learn more about it.

One day, at the Minitrue, as Winston is assisting a woman who has fallen down, she surreptitiously hands him a folded paper note; later, at his desk, he covertly reads the message: I LOVE YOU.  The woman is "Julia", a young dark haired mechanic who repairs the Minitrue novel-writing machines. Before that occasion, Winston loathed the sight of her, since women tend to be the most fanatical supporters of Ingsoc. He particularly loathed her because of her membership in the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Additionally, Julia is the type of woman he believed he could not attract: young and puritanical. Nonetheless, his hostility towards her vanishes upon reading the message. As it turns out, Julia is a thoughtcriminal too, and hates the Party as much as he does.

Cautiously, Winston and Julia begin a love affair, at first meeting in the country, at a clearing in the woods, then at the belfry of a ruined church, and afterwards in a rented room atop an antiques shop in a proletarian neighbourhood of London. There, they think themselves safe and unobserved, because the rented bedroom has no apparent telescreen, but, unknown to Winston and Julia, the Thought Police were aware of their love affair.

Later, when the Inner Party member O'Brien approaches him, Winston believes he is an agent of the Brotherhood, a secret, counter-revolutionary organization that intends to destroy the Party. The approach opens a secret communication between them; and, on pretext of giving him a copy of the latest edition of the Dictionary of Newspeak, O'Brien gives Winston the Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, the infamous and publicly reviled leader of the Brotherhood. The Book explains the concept of perpetual war, the true meanings of the slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, and how the régime of the Party can be overthrown by means of the political awareness of the Proles.

The Thought Police capture Winston and Julia in their bedroom and deliver them to the Ministry of Love for interrogation. Charrington, the shopkeeper who rented the room to them, reveals himself as an officer of the Thought Police. Soon after his arrival at Miniluv, Winston is greeted by O'Brien. It turns out that O'Brien is also a Thought Police agent; he was part of a false flag operation used by the Thought Police to root out suspected thoughtcriminals. 

After a prolonged regimen of systematic beatings and psychologically draining interrogation, O'Brien, now Smith's interrogator, tortures Winston with electroshock, showing him how, through controlled manipulation of perception (e.g. seeing whatever number of fingers held up that the Party demands one should see, whatever the apparent reality, i.e. 2+2=5), Winston can "cure" himself of his "insanity" – his manifest hatred for the Party. In long, complex conversations, he explains the Inner Party's motivation: complete and absolute power, mocking Winston's assumption that it was somehow altruistic and "for the greater good". Asked if the Brotherhood exists, O'Brien replies that this is something Winston will never know; it will remain an unsolvable quandary in his mind. During a torture session, his imprisonment in the Ministry of Love is explained: "There are three stages in your reintegration ... There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance,” i.e. of the Party's assertion of reality.

In the first stage of political re-education, Winston Smith admits to and confesses to crimes he did and did not commit, implicating anyone and everyone, including Julia.   In the second stage, O'Brien makes Winston understand that he is rotting away; by this time he is little more than skin and bones. Winston counters: "I have not betrayed Julia." O'Brien agrees Winston had not betrayed Julia because he "had not stopped loving her; his feelings toward her had remained the same." One night, in his cell, Winston awakens, screaming: "Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!" O'Brien rushes into the cell and sends him to Room 101, the most feared room in the Ministry of Love, where resides each prisoner's worst fear, which is forced upon him or her. In Room 101 is Acceptance, the final stage of the political re-education of Winston Smith, whose primal fear of rats is invoked when a wire cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto his face. As the rats are about to reach Winston's face, he shouts: "Do it to Julia!" thus betraying her and relinquishing his love for her.

Sometime after being restored to orthodox thought and reintegrated into Oceania society, Winston encounters Julia in a park. Julia reveals that she has endured a similar ordeal to Winston, and each admits betraying the other:
"I betrayed you," she said baldly.
"I betrayed you," he said.
She gave him another quick look of dislike.
"Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something – something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, 'Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself."
"All you care about is yourself," he echoed.
"And after that, you don't feel the same toward the other person any longer."
"No," he said, "you don't feel the same."
Throughout, a song recurs in Winston's mind: Under the spreading chestnut tree - I sold you and you sold me.

An alcoholic Winston sits by himself in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, still troubled by "false memories" which he is convinced are indeed false. He tries to put them out of his mind when suddenly a news bulletin announces Oceania's "decisive victory" over Eurasian armies in Africa. A raucous celebration begins outside, and Winston imagines himself a part of it. As he looks up in admiration at a portrait of Big Brother, Winston realizes that "the final, indispensable, healing change" within his own mind had only been completed at just that moment. He engages in a "blissful dream" in which he offers a full, public confession of his crimes and is executed. He feels that all is well now that he has at last achieved a victory over himself, ending his previous "stubborn, self-willed exile" from the love of Big Brother – a love Winston now happily returns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics/reasons

http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/155959


PDF copy:  http://www.planetebook.com/ebooks/1984.pdf
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The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank
Many have noted the historical parallels between the current debate over Syrians seeking refuge in the United States and the plight of European Jews fleeing German-occupied territories on the eve of World War II.

Among the many who tried — and failed — to escape Nazi persecution: Otto Frank and his family, which included wife, Edith, and his daughters, Margot and Anne. And while the story of the family's desperate attempts ending in futility may seem remarkable today, it's emblematic of what a number of other Jews fleeing German-occupied territories experienced, American University history professor Richard Breitman wrote in 2007 upon the discovery of documents chronicling the Franks' struggle to get U.S. visas.

"Otto Frank’s efforts to get his family to the United States ran afoul of restrictive American immigration policies designed to protect national security and guard against an influx of foreigners during time of war," Breitman wrote.

The diary documents the daily life of a Jewish girl in Amsterdam during World War II. Frank started writing on her 13th birthday, shortly before her family went into hiding in an annex of an office building. The version of the diary in question includes passages previously excluded from the widely read original edition, first published in Dutch in 1947. That book was arranged by her father, the only survivor in her immediate family. Some of the extra passages detail her emerging sexual desires; others include unflattering descriptions of her mother and other people living together.

In 2010, Culpeper County Virginia public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/24/anne-frank-and-her-family-were-also-denied-entry-as-refugees-to-the-u-s/?utm_term=.20d4b72272b1
(and)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/28/AR2010012804001.html

A mother of a seventh grader in the Northville school district in Michigan said late last month that Frank's depiction of growing up in hiding as a Jewish teenager during the Holocaust, which has sold millions of copies worldwide, contains "inappropriate material". She pointed in particular to a passage from the "definitive" version of Frank's diary – which includes around 30% of extra material left out of the original 1947 edition by Anne's father Otto – in which the young girl discusses her anatomy.

Quote from the book:
"Until I was 11 or 12, I didn't realise there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn't see them. What's even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris," wrote Frank. "When you're standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you're standing, so you can't see what's inside. They separate when you sit down and they're very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there's a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That's the clitoris."

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/may/07/anne-frank-diary-us-schools-censorship


The ALA has documented only six challenges to "The Diary of Anne Frank" since it began monitoring formal written complaints to remove or restrict books in 1990. Most of the concerns were about sexually explicit material, Maycock said. One record dating to 1983 from an Alabama textbook committee said the book was "a real downer" and called for its rejection from schools.
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