Author: George Orwell
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: July 1950
Publisher: Signet Classics
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from October 13 to 19, 2011
Summary: Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.
Prior to this book by George Orwell, I read Animal Farm in 2009 and loved it. I still can't decide how exactly I feel about this novel. It's not really the kind of books that I enjoy reading, but I decided to give it a try anyway.
1984 is a story that takes place in Oceania, which represents a dystopia. The Party that rules the nation has a way of manipulating its people, watching their every move with the presence of the "telescreen", and picking up sounds by hidden microphones. It's impossible to be completely alone in this country. When looking out the window, one will most likely see a big poster with a picture of a man with a mustache, and the caption will read "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU". The people are supposed to love Big Brother. Those who don't are guilty of "thoughtcrime" and will have to undergo a long process which will "fix" them. The Party slogan runs like this:
WAR IS PEACE.
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
The party is in the position to alter the past, and whatever they say is truth, is truth. They also have a language of their own, which is being perfected by the Ministry of Truth. Newspeak is a means used to make it impossible for people to commit "thoughtcrime".
The protagonist, Winston Smith, hates Big Brother and the party. He hates everything that has to do with them. The way they control lives. The way he has to live. The way they feed people with lies after lies. The way they make people "vaporize" so easily, and name them "unpersons" and that's it, these "unpersons" never existed. The way today Oceania is at war with Eastasia, not Eurasia, and always has been, while Yesterday Oceania was at war with Eurasia, not Eastasia, and always had been. The sitting through "Two Minutes Hate". The Newspeak. Everything. So he decides to do something. And in the end he is betrayed, and pays greatly for his "crime".
As for me, I find this book interesting, sure. But it just doesn't do it for me like it does to a lot of people. It didn't floor me. This 3-part book is depressing. Most part of part 1 was boring to me. I had a hard time trying to concentrate. Part two was a bit more exciting. Part three was gold. It was in part three that I felt something. I clenched my eyes shut. I moaned. I felt horrified. I felt disgusted. My heart raced. My palms became sweaty. I wish the human race will never have to go through anything like that. But that's it. When I finished the book, I didn't get a lingering feeling or sensation like I usually do with other great books.However, I have no regrets. 1984 is definitely worth reading. Maybe when I'm older, I might appreciate it more than I do now when I decide to visit it again.
This review is also posted on Goodreads.