Thursday, March 16, 2017

1984 by George Orwell

(Source: Kelsey Darling)
This is my second time reading 1984. The first time was my senior year of high school for my term paper. At the time, I was in love with the book; I thought it was one of the greatest books ever written. When it was listed on my 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list, I was excited to read it again. This time, I wasn't as impressed. The writing is great, the plot is strong, but it didn't hold the magic it did all that time ago.

(Source: Google Image)
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, Minitru in Oceania, "correcting" documents so that they reflect the "truth." He goes through his day without thinking about much, he doesn't have to; Big Brother does all of the thinking. But Winston has vague memories of his childhood, and stories that his mother told him, it hasn't always been this way, and occasionally, he thinks of that and wonders what is was like before everything was decided for them. When Winston meets Julia, he slowly begins to rebel. But Big Brother sees all and knows all, and nothing gets past them for long, and they will make you conform. 

(Source: Other 98%)
1984 is pretty much what Kellyanne Conway is referring to when she says that our microwaves are watching us. Big Brother monitors everyone through telescreen's that are conveniently placed throughout buildings, homes, offices, and streets so that it is almost impossible for a person to do anything without Big Brother knowing. George Orwell is the creator of dystopia. 

Mind control is a big part of society. Big Brother is always watching you. Children are taught to turn in their parents. The past is edited to fit what Big Brother wants it to say. 

(Source: Giphy)
Winston and Julia rebel for a time being, meeting up at random locations to engage in pleasurable sex (because in 1984, a woman should not receive pleasure from sex, or in laments terms, no orgasm) and fantasize about running away to Eurasia or Eastasia. But they are eventually captured. Instead of Big Brother killing them though, they are tortured. We don't know what Julia went through, but Winston was left to starve for stars knows how long, then taken to a room, beaten, other forms of torture, and then coddled and taken care of, only to be tortured again. In the end, he confesses to things he didn't do, believes that two plus two equals five, and turns on Julia. And then he is returned to the real world.

It's a very unique, and scary, idea. When the book was written in 1949, the ideas in these books seemed possible, but unlikely. With today's technologies, some of the things that happen in the book are plausible to a degree. 

I'm not sure why I didn't find the book as great this time around. Maybe reading a dystopia novel that is so realistic during the Trump administration was too much.

(Source: Other 98%)

Rating: 6/10
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Classics

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