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< Back to question Which books should you read while self-isolating from coronavirus? Show more Show less

Books can be life-changing. They can be a form of escapism that give a unique perspective into lives, times, places and ideas we will never experience ourselves. Or, a way of learning new ways of thinking, being and approaching the world. With all this time now spare, what are the key texts we should be reading?

Science Fiction Show more Show less

Feels like we're living in it. Might as well read it.
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1984

Big Brother is watching. Since French citizens are under virtual house arrest, and elderly people face prolonged isolation, was there ever a more apt time to dive into George Orwell's classic novel?
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Proponents


The Argument

You should read 1984 while self-isolating because it provides a much-needed escape from reality. An oppressive, totalitarian government forces citizens to comply with its every whim. Any form of individualism has been stripped away. Following the narrative of Winston, the reader falls into a world of absolute hopelessness. By escaping into the world of dark fiction, readers give themselves a chance to escape their own less than ideal circumstances. In a time of self-isolation, readers can find comfort in remembering that Winston is powerless in his situation, but they can control their circumstances by choosing to stay home. It reminds readers that 1984's dystopian world is far worse than the situation readers currently face. Dystopian novels such as 1984 encourage escapism into an elaborate world of hyper surveillance where citizens are powerless over what they are allowed to say or even think. In dark fiction, readers can glean a better outlook on their own situation. They can rejoice in their ability to think freely, even in self-isolation. While enjoying 1984, readers can have a reprieve from the anxieties of current events. [1]

Counter arguments

All readers do not prefer escaping into a dark world. While reading this dystopian novel, readers might find more anxiety and worries about their own world. Although it was published in 1949, readers still find eerie connections to the world, media, and mass surveillance in the 21st century [2]. Therefore, this novel is not a distraction from reality. It rather magnifies negative possibilities in the coming years.

Premises

[P1] People can escape into a world darker than their own by reading dystopias. [P2] 1984 is a classic dystopian novel. [P3] While self-isolating, people should read 1984 to escape their current situation.

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/why-getting-lost-book-so-good-you-according-science-ncna893256
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2019/05/06/as-orwells-1984-turns-70-it-predicted-much-of-todays-surveillance-society/#5437e86311de

This page was last edited on Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 21:00 UTC

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