Friday, 18 September 2009

1984 ~ George Orwell

After a worldwide nuclear war in the 1950s, three different major powers have come to control the earth. These three groups have deduced that the best way to manage their acquired peoples are to be constantly at war with each other and to control every part of their citizens’ lives. Homes, jobs, clothing, food choices; all of it is restricted. Every person’s movements and actions throughout the day is watched and dictated by the authority in power. In every room, in every building, and even in the rural areas are two-way T.V. screens and microphones. You are never alone. The government suppresses and falsifies all the media to report only information that positively reflects that government; ensuring their longevity. And if you even THINK contrary thoughts about the governing body you will be tortured and killed.
Fast forward to the year 1984. Winston Smith lives in this established, negative society, and he is naturally unhappy. He works for the government in the UK, known as Big Brother, and Winston visibly sees the corruption and lies that Big Brother spews forth. Each person is taught from a young age to blindly love Big Brother and support it. Winston doesn’t. He knows that there must be others out there who feel as he does. But to be guilty of “thought crime” is lethal, and all around him are hidden “thought police” whose job is to find people like Winston and imprison them or erase their very existence. Winston is living on borrowed time.
Overall I liked this book. It was different than anything I had ever read. It was heavy in politics, which I personally didn’t mind, but it required the reader to really pay close attention to the details in the story. Negative comments: the two main characters were immoral people, and unfortunately the author describes their sinful actions. While doing research on the book I was surprised to learn that many high schools include 1984 among their required reading. I don’t feel it’s appropriate for teenagers at all, but I can understand why it’s used: the “negative utopia” that Orwell has created causes the reader to mull and compare our current society to his. But there is adult content in the book, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who isn’t a discerning grown-up.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

I just heard about this book in my government.