1984 by George Orwell was my January To-Be-Read Jar book and it is a book that I have wanted to read for years now. Many people read it in school but I simply did not and then i just never go around to it. Luckily my New Years Challenge has given me the excuse I need!
1984 was written in 1948 and is the vision of the dystopian future Orwell imagined for our world. It was a world of constant surveillance, and warfare, and fear. It was a world of Thought Police, and Newspeak, a world where history is altered and books are destroyed.
Where do I begin? More importantly, what do i say that hasn’t already been said before, and better?
I guess i should just begin at the beginning and keep going until I come to the end; then stop. The first thing, in that case, would be what I thought of it as a book. I loved it. This book was an emotional roller-coaster; the political activist in me fell in love, the fan-girl in my wanted to cry, the reader in me was a bit confused, and the citizen of a country that looks an awful lot like the state he describes was saddened.
One thing I did not like about the book was the sequence of events; that’s right, i don’t like what happened. Not because it did or didn’t go the way i expected but because it don’t make sense. They don’t explain anything, things happen and you don’t know why. And sometimes you don’t know how either. And most of the time it’s hard to even think of a logical reason why or how. Granted I think that was the point, the main character is also just as confused so I think it’s to give us the feeling of terror but ugh. I want to know the why’s.
I was, however, satisfied with the ending. I understood why it needed to end the way it did, i understood that there was no other ending. The last sentence of the book had to have been the last sentence. No other outcome would have concluded the story.
With all that said let’s talk about what this book means.
I have already resigned myself to the knowledge that I will never be able to write an adequate review drawing all of the wonderful parallels between the society of 1984 and our own. I am not talented enough. But I can try.
In 1984 the world powers are all at war, constantly. The enemy changes, history changes, but the war is always there.
“…the consciousnesses of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.“
Who are we (the United States, where I’m from) at war with right now? I’ll give you a second.
. . .
Terrorism is the answer to that question. Where does “terror” live? What country must we bomb to kill “terror”? Where must we send our troops and their $800+ billion worth of death machines?
I’ll give you a second.
The answer to those is where every the fuck we want. We may or may not be fighting in Afghanistan, Iran, we financially support Israels military actions, we have troops still in Germany, we are Japans military, we have anywhere between 700-1700 military bases around the world, we are increasingly militarizing our police here at home, and no one seems to care. It’s doublethink. I know many people in this country who can KNOW all of these things and still convince themselves that either we are not war mongers or that war isn’t even happening (unless the media needs them all riled up and angry at – someone).
In 1984 language is being mutilated. A new form is being created called Newspeak (the English we speak is OldSpeak) it is the language of the future, a highly restricted form of English that is supposed to limit thought by limiting the words needed to express thought. A character in the book boasts that it’s the only language that get’s smaller every year, “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.” That hit me right in the gut.
Bc y wud some1 do tht o.O
I’ve never been one to ‘hate on’ new words that express or describe new things but I don’t like shortcuts in language, they only blunt the meaning and effect of the words. I like the word ‘selfie’ because until recently a photograph you take of yourself wasn’t really a thing and ‘self-portrait’ doesn’t accurately describe what is happening when one takes a ‘selfie’. I hate terms like ‘YOLO’ because ‘YOLO’ and ‘You only live once’ evoke vastly different meanings. “I’m going to this party because YOLO” isn’t the same as “I’m going to this party because I only have one life to live and I might as well get as much joy and excitement as i can from it” YOLO is Newspeak and with Newspeak comes compliance, ignorance, and the destruction of language as we know it.
Excuse me for being a bit cynical. I can get a bit heated on topics such as these. I actually might just go ahead and make a separate post regarding my thoughts and feelings on the society in the book, it will contain more spoilers and I will go more in depth 🙂 Be on the look out.
Book 3 of 36: 1984 by George Orwell
- 1- Plusungood
- 2- Ungood
- 3- Good
- 4- Plusgood
- 5- Doubleplusgood
You simply must read this book. I can not express what this book is and what it means because you have to read it for yourself. in writing this review i found myself wanting to quote long passages, whole pages even, because my summary of the text will never compare to the original. It is a great addition to any library and a good read for everyone from middle school up I think.