A LOVE SUPREME

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Chastity and Political Orthodoxy in 1984

Unlike Winston, she had grasped the inner meaning of the Party’s sexual Puritanism. It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own which was outside the Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war fever and leader worship. The way she put it was:

“When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour….”

That was very true, he thought. There was a direct, intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy.

From next month's novel of the month, 1984 by George Orwell

8 comments:

john doyle said...

This book was assigned reading for our daughter's high school freshman English class. Too racy? Now a junior, she regards 1984 as the most personally influential book she's ever read (not counting Harry Potter, which had a more formative influence on her earlier years).

amy frances said...

Damn, I love that book.

Jonathan Erdman said...

John,

It is surprising to me that 1984 would be so influential on a high school student. In what way was it influential?

Perhaps it shouldn't surprise me.....but it did.

john doyle said...

Kenzie says that 1984 is what first got her interested in politics. The dystopian, totalitarian world that Orwell presents had a powerful impact. Also, the story is unusual in that it's less about the characters as individuals and more about the world's effects on them.

Jonathan Erdman said...

That's an insightful response. I can see that now that I am further along in the book, almost near the end. The novel becomes very intense.

Enjoying the b-ball games, John?

john doyle said...

Go Green!

tamie said...

Hm. I see here that I'm not all that far behind, if I start reading the book right now. When, oh when, am I going to find time to read this book?????

Jonathan Erdman said...

Thanks. I appreciate the heartfelt compliment....and if I ever need to a pill for ed, I'll be sure to consider viagra as an option.