Religion in *1984*?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by David T, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. David T Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    "For that matter, even religious worship would have been permitted if the proles had shown any sign of needing or wanting it." https://books.google.com/books?id=uyr8BAAAQBAJ&pg=PT59 A thought: Maybe somewhere in Oceania, religion is tolerated among the proles, and Baptists or Catholics pray for Big Brother and victory over Eurasia/Eastasia. Sure, in Airstrip One, religion had already declined enough by the time of the Revolution that this was not necessary. But maybe in parts of what had been the American South or Latin America? Note that in Orwell's previous anti-Stalinist satire, Animal Farm, the pigs eventually came to tolerate the preaching of the raven Moses about Sugarcandy Mountain...
     
  2. Arcavius Arms and the Man I Sing

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Sure, it would be allowed to exist in theory. But it isn't a literary necessity, so Orwell doesn't mention it. Even if it does focus on a dystopian setting, placing more focus on said setting than usual, 1984 is still a novel.
     
  3. Mad Bad Rabbit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    [ Picturing Pacific cargo cults who worship fake bamboo telescreens hoping Big Brother will send them chocolate and corned beef ]
     
  4. GTStinger Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    That is if Oceania actually controlled territory outside Airstrip One.
    An alternate theory is that the UK became a pariah state and there was no unending war. It was all part of theBig Brother plan to control the populace.
     
  5. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    The Chaos TL
    Even in Nazi Germany people managed to listen to Radio BBC and learn how the world really worked outside of nazi propaganda. You can't tell me that wouldn't work if Oceania was restricted to the British Isles. France would be even closer to S England than Britain to Germany.
     
  6. Lalli Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    True. It would be extremely hard to hide truth even in totalitarian dictatorship. During Soviet occupation Estonians listened Finnish radio channels altough it wasn't surely allowed and might be that they listened Swedish radio channels too. And in the novel there is not any hint that world would be divided by three gigantic empires who are in war against each others would be just lie.
     
    Max Sinister likes this.
  7. Jukra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    Tuborg at Uborg
    Yes, this theory has surfaced from present day North Korea which has foreign contacts to a degree not displayed in 1984.
     
    Max Sinister likes this.
  8. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom Kicked

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Eurasia: orthodoxy with stalinist characteristis
    East Asia: some combination of maoism and buddhism with anything humanistic removed. More or less a death cult.
     
    Whiteshore likes this.
  9. overoceans Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    I think, though, that Animal Farm is specifically about the USSR, whereas 1984 is a combination of various hell-holes, but especially the mid-20th Century UK.

    In one of his more anglophiliac cultural essays(maybe England Your England?), Orwell opines that the Anglican faith basically remained popular with the ruling classes only, and never really gained a wide following among the masses. I don't think it's too much of an extrapolation from that to saying that he regarded the English as generally irreligious. This possibly accounts for why Christianity is almost non-existent in Airstrip One, either as a Stalinist-style propaganda vehicle, or as a sincerely held underground faith. The proles, for example, who are generally left by the state to live as they please, evince absolutely no interest in religion.
     
  10. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    The Chaos TL
    Julia suggested that there is no war, and the governments shoot rockets on their own cities to make people think so. (But they do execute real foreign soldiers sometimes...)
     
  11. Uniquelyequal Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    Julia is, very explicitly, wrong about everything.
     
  12. Arcavius Arms and the Man I Sing

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Or perhaps some of those taken by the thought police are broken and dressed in funny uniforms...
     
  13. lionhead Pretty fly for a white guy

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Whatever status religion might have, its not allowed to have power of any kind outside the party. Recently read this book and the one thing i did learn from life in Oceania is this: Big Brother IS God and always was.
     
    Sovereign12 likes this.
  14. Max Sinister Retired Myriad Club Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    The Chaos TL
    Why do you think so?

    Not many East Asians living on Oceanian territory.
     
  15. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Location:
    Under a bridge, handing out business cards
    I subscribe to that theory, myself. If anything, it's even scarier because it's more realistic...

    Bear in mind, we only see things through Winston's POV, and he has an exceptionally limited knowledge range. For all we know, a lot of the unpersons were 'vaporised' because they listened to foreign radio or whatever, but that fact is carefully hidden so Winston doesn't know. And if Winston doesn't know, we don't know either.
     
    Whiteshore and GTStinger like this.
  16. Uniquelyequal Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    I don't have my copy in reach currently, but from the top of my head, Julia was very much painted as a naive, selfish person, in resistance mostly due to selfish motives and very much buying into the propaganda of Oceanias regime, only misjudging their motives, projecting her own onto them and breaking immeadiatly under Miniluv torture. The conspiracy theory that the Inner Party is able to exert enough power to simulate a war falls into this, as does nearly everything else she does.
     
  17. Uniquelyequal Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    And just to answer OP also: I think that that specific quote is mostly there to showcase the Proles dismissal by both the Party as a whole and Winston Smith in particular. There might well be religion in Oceania; the Party just does not care enough to find out, and prefers to project their own attitude of atheism/ the Inner Party as effectivley God.
     
  18. V-J Not a Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Location:
    NorĂľanhymbra
    This is probably exactly right as the explanation behind Orwell's thinking in that sentence.

    (I'm less confident about Orwell's time, but certainly today in this country there is a class bias amongst regular church attenders. I grew up in a very irreligious 'prole' household, not because of anyone's policy/antagonism to religion, but just because religion was 'other' and not really of particular concern to anyone.)
     
  19. Baron Bizarre Is probably thinking about his next meal...

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Location:
    Earth-44
    I always wondered if the Party's dismissal of the proles was a sample of (perhaps unconscious) classism on Orwell's part.
     
  20. H.Flashman(VC) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Location:
    Vijfherenlanden, Netherlands
    Certainly not unconcious. But this is a dystopia by someone who saw communism as propagated by the communist parties of his time for what is was:"Some are more equal than others." He put the classes on purpose there as a double criticism on his own country and on the false pretensions of Communism to get rid of that.