A couple of days ago I was looking at the list and I realised that there was a number that I could just get done and dusted pretty easily and reading ones are really good for me as I’ve been so ill, and recovering in bed I’ve needed something to do! Now this book has a lot of significance but I’m not really sure why. I’ve wanted to read it for many years and have always regarded it as a classic, but after someone (I can’t remember who,) told me it would change my life it has slipped into the ‘to be read pile.’ This isn’t unusual as this is my worst reading habit; if I really want to read something I will wait for the perfect time, and in the time that takes for me to finally pick it up, I will build the book up to an astonishing level so when I finally read it, that’s it, I’m just so consumed. This can lead to two options, I love it because I’ve waited so damn long and it totally lives up to all expectations, or, it fails on some level for me, because I’ve put it on a platform so high it could never deliver. It’s taken a while to decide whether 1984 exceeded expectations, but I loved it all the same.
If you haven’t read the book, 1984 describes a type of Utopia, except not the stereotypical view but instead the complete opposite. The book describes a society, or more realistically a controlling, dystopia, complete with a totalitarian system, watching and listening to its citizens constantly and without let up. Working, drinking, eating, thinking, talking and procreating are all controlled by the state and disobedience against the system or ‘Big Brother,’ detected through a number of methods include the telescreen, the Thought Police and even the children taught to spy on individuals, is forbidden. To further eradicate individualism, which is a crime, even the language is modified, whilst the past is constantly re-written to strengthen the control of the state. The ‘truth’ is what the state says it is, so if the state were to say blue is red, this would be so.
Winston is not so easily taken by this and rebels, writing his thoughts in a notebook, and turning his back on the telescreen wanting instead to have his own thoughts. He finds the idea of losing the past both humiliating and terrifying and strengthens his resolve to remember and to disobey Big Brother. He starts a love affair with a delightful young woman and together they disobey the party with the relationship they create and the thoughts they discuss. The story follows the life of Winston as he tries to out think the society that is so desperate to silence him. I was very tempted to review this book more thoroughly but I know there will be readers out there who have not read it! If you haven’t off you go and enjoy it! It’s a wonderful tale that should have been a warning that society seems to have taken as a how-to-guide.