So I was reading 1984, and because it's connected to terror in Russia and I'm from Russia, I got asked to write a whole blog post, my opinion of the book, my review. Of course, as always, I obliged. Here it is, and below is a little excerpt for your reading pleasure.
MY REVIEW OF 1984. BECAUSE YOU ASKED.
"So, to answer your questions, did I love the book? Yes, I loved it. I loved how simple the prose was, unpretentious. And powerful. I loved how cleanly the details locked into place at the end, the chestnut tree, the upcoming death that was left out but certainly came later, and the like. I loved the vivid and punch-in-the-gut descriptions. The unwavering storyline, direct, uncluttered. It was like a breath of fresh air. Complex ideas presented so elegantly and simply. But one thing I didn't like, and that's because I'm a woman and was fighting to assert my feminity since I was a little girl, being abused and reprimanded and treated like second sort in the typical Russian patriarchal manner. Gauche and pedestrian. The girls were supposed to produce children, cook, wash, clean, and darn socks. And keep their mouths shut.
I rebelled against it. For this reason I'm particularly sensitive to anything that undermines me because of my sex. The women characters in 1984 were all weak and somewhat objectified and fit to a particular purpose. Winston's wife was plain dumb. Okay, I could live with that. His mother was mostly a memory, and I understand why she needed to be shown from one side only. His neighbor's wife was a weakling. Okay. But Julia! The revolutionary! Julia was left without an intellectual ability except to protest against the Party "from waist down." She fell asleep while listening to the book, and she was shown as not interested in having any discussions, or in the case of their meeting with O'Brien, it's noted that Winston spoke on her behalf. This turned me off. I get why George did it (maybe, maybe he did it for some other reason). It seems to me he wanted to show on Julia's example the generation that spawned from this mindless state that Oceania induced in its populace. He went even further in showing a completely brain-washed 7-year-old daughter of Parsons. The 7-year-old spy.
After I read about Winston speaking for Julia, I wanted to set the book aside. It was the same old tired story. Boys against boys. Granted, I'm reading now "classics," what you have all read in your teens, and that's mostly books by white males, and therefore the worlds they portray have the stereotypical sexism of the time plus of their generation. It still rubs me wrong. Boys waging wars, shooting guns, poking sticks in holes. In other words, sticking penises in vaginas. At least Lovecraft, the sexist bastard that he was, wrote about his fear of vaginas and created creatures, the Old Ones, that wore vaginas of their faces. Hence, the octopi palpi. Just look at his drawings."