Summary and Info
1984 is one of those rare books that really affected me right down to my very core. I was actually a little shaken up after reading it. Going in I knew this wasn't going to be a happy story but I didn't realize the lasting impact it would have on me.
1984 is a book about totalitarian control over a society. Big Brother is always watching. Always.
This story follows Winston Smith. He works for the Ministry of Truth. The Ministry of Truth is hardly as truthful as the name implies. His job is to fabricate history and rewrite it. History has been rewritten so many times that nobody seems to know true history - Winston perpetuates these "truths" so that the party is always correct.
In Oceana there are no real freedoms. You don't even have the freedom to think. Right from the beginning Winston shows signs of going against the party. He covertly writes in his journal, which is not allowed but at the same time he blends in, he does his job and he does his best to keep the spotlight off of him. Soon enough he meets a young energetic (and oblivious) girl named Julia who is also going behind the back of Big Brother.
I'm not going to go much further into the story, this is something you just have to read yourself. This book hooked me right from the beginning and I charged through it in just 2 sittings (something a bit abnormal for me, I'm a little bit of a slow reader). I just couldn't put this book down.
I'll try to leave the story be, but I do want to bring up one of the more disturbing aspects of this book - newspeak. Newspeak is a language (or dumbing down of the English language) that is being developed throughout the book and its the only language in the world where words are being stripped away from the lexicon, rather then added. The new language strips away the feeling of words, for example the phrase "All men are equal" doesn't make sense in newspeak because "equal" would only mean equal in size, not equal in freedoms. The greatly simplified language is being developed to dumb down society, to control thought.
1984 hit me like a ton of bricks. I was actually quite emotionally drained after reading it. I'm typically not too much of a softy with these types of things but 1984 successfully made my eyes well up a bit and may be the only book that has done this to me. At times I almost wanted to tear this book apart, only because I didn't want it to even exist in my imagination - not because it's a bad book. Yes 1984 is frightening. Very frightening.
I'm currently playing catch-up, trying to read all of the books I should have read in my younger days. If I ever read a better book I will update this review, until then I must say 1984 is the best book I have ever read.
More About the Author
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), who used the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic.
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