1984:Big Brother::We:The Benefactor

How original is Orwell’s 1984?

We is set in a dystopian society, where our protagonist is introduced to Freedom by the local Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Both are eventually caught and everything returns, more or less, to how it was. Sound familliar? The plot to 1984 seems to have been lifted, almost entirely it seems, from this Russian novel written twenty-five years earlier. And yes, Orwell had read it, although it would not have been an easy book to find.  The question is, does it really matter? Shakespeare stole most of his plots. There is much more to literature than plot and setting, and some critics have said that 1984‘s similarity to We is entirely superficial.

More here at Of Exceptional Promise, and yet more on the similarities at The Guardian here.

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