1984 | George Orwell
Kindle Edition | Dystopian
326 pages | First published 8 June 1949
‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities.
Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .
Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.
I’m sure I don’t need to go into too much detail about what George Orwell’s,1984, is about. It’s one of those classics that has transcended time and is as widely known as Alice in Wonderland or McDonald’s fries.
1984 was a book I always knew about, without ever having read it. I was finally inspired to take the plunge and read it when my son needed to read it for school. There’s no real need to go into the plot or the characters. This book has become so much more than that. It’s grown into a concept that highlights the control of Government, the oppression of individuality, the twisting of truth, the erasure of truth, the manipulation of truth, the watching, the fear, the absolute control.
Each of those concepts are core to this book. And, I hate to say it, but they are core to the reality of the world today. Each item I listed is happening now, somewhere in the world, to different degrees. The underlying message of 1984 is impossible to ignore. Control is a power. And although control can ensure law and order, it can be a terrible thing if the balance tips away from the people.
When written, this book was a wakeup call for a society, which at the time probably didn’t imagine how different the future could be. It was an early warning. A possible end-state of a slow and steady transition of control by stealth. And by the time the world noticed, it would already be too late. I suggest that Orwell’s trigger to document such an oppressed society was born from the reality of the war that had ended just a few years before. The rise of a Government run by a power-hungry dictator that grew to spread its poison to conquer and control everything in sight.
The message of 1984 is just as relevant now (or even more so) than when it was written. Learn from the past, don’t hide it. We now live in a world where the rise of technology and lust for power and wealth is much stronger than ever before. Leaders (and those who wait or pull strings on the sidelines) who value self, power, and dollars above the good of mankind need to be kept in check by the people. The world should never forget the lessons of this book.
I’ve never seen the movie that was released in 1984 either. But I do intend to watch it soon. Here’s the original trailer. It looks a bit dated, so maybe it’s time for a remake.
This book is a classic that is even more relevant now than it was on 8 Jun 1949 when it was released. A must-read for anyone who values freedom.