I haven’t read this book since high school. I always enjoy comparing my thoughts on books when there is that much time in between reads. Then, I was seeing proof that the totalitarian government like in this novel was going to come about at anytime. Now, I don’t believe it as prophetic. The benefit of the novel is to show us what the political ideas of the early 1900s would be like taken to their extreme. What would Nazi Germany or Communist Russia be like if they had complete control over the world, the people, and to an extent, the thoughts of the people?
1984 follows Winston Smith, a member of the government party that isn’t sold on ingsoc, English Socialism. His antigovernment thoughts becomes little rebellious actions (buying a journal, for example). With telescreens in every room and Thought Police in every crowd to watch and listen to you, Smith can only go so long like this. He already considers himself a dead man. Then he finds love.
As for the world of 1984, there is now 3 countries: Oceania, Euraisa, and Eastaisa. The are perpetually at war with one another. Big Brother is the leader of Oceania and his posters are everywhere with the caption, “Big Brother is Watching.” The motto of Oceania is “WAR IS PEACE, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.” Winstom Smith lives in London, Oceania, and works for the Ministry of Truth. His job: change historic records to fit the needs of the government. Somebody is “disappeared?” They need to be erased from any records, newspapers, everything. Telescreens are in every room and can see and hear everything that you’re doing. Anybody could be an informant of questionable behaviour. Sounds pretty nice, eh? Utopia…
I’m a huge fan of George Orwell’s writing. No matter what topic he is covering, humorous or otherwise, he writes in such a clear, crisp language. He can say so much in so little. He can drag you into any scene with the fewest descriptive words. Whether he’s telling you about the Spanish civil war in Homage to Catalonia or being incredibly poor in Down and Out in London and Paris, he has a powerful ability of storytelling with all the wit, humor, and emotion needed. I recommend picking up any of his books.
1984 is number 13 in the 100 greatest novels. Next, I’m reading I, Claudius by Robert Graves.