1984

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1984.gif

George Orwell

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Dytopian

SUMMARY:
This novel takes place in London in 1984, also known as the largest city of Airstrip One. Airstrip One is itself a part of a massive political area called Oceania. Oceania is constantly oscillating between war and alliance with the other two huge political entities of the world, Eurasia and Eastasia.

Winston Smith, a worker at the Ministry of Truth in London, essentially corrects history so it seems like the current political situation has always been the status quo. For example, even if Oceania was at war with Eastasia last year, if they are now allies, they have always been allies.

In a society where privacy is nonexistent and Big Brother is always watching you, Winston finds himself in danger because he knows the truth and questions the propaganda fed to him by the government. While the rest of society is kept in a daze of ignorance and obedience, Winston sees through the Newspeak and risks being apprehended by the Thought Police when he embarks on his illicit and unapproved affair with Julia.

Through her, he discovers the underground movement called the Brotherhood, a group of freedom advocates dedicated to abolishing the totalitarian dystopian society in which they live.

RESPONSE:
I finished this book with a chill, and remarked to my dad that it was one of scariest books I had ever read. Odd comment for a sci-fi book, but still very true nonetheless. In a culture that prizes privacy and individuality, the Big Brother concept is a frightening possibility that seems all the more realistic with the advent of sophisticated recording technology and 'protective' laws that impinge on civil liberty.

I read it as a young teenager before I knew what totalitarian meant, but I had heard that 1984 was essentially about this concept. Orwell's book embodies the obsessive control and conformity that could destroy a society yet let it live forever.

POINT BLANK:
Read it.