It seems rather strange to compose a review of a book that many have probably already read, and one that I should have previously read. But to keep with the theme of reading and reviewing books that I read, here it goes…
George Orwell’s 1984 depicts a state of the world in the year 1984 (if that is actually the date). Written in 1944, Orwell tells the tale of a single citizen 40 years into the future based on what Orwell thinks the political landscape of the world will be like. Orwell separates the novel into three acts. The first of which describes everyday life in which the citizens of Oceania endure. The reader becomes instantly aware of the overwhelming “Big Brother”, that is always watching you. Further reading introduces the reader to the Thought Police, as well as the different divisions of the party which include: The Ministry of Love, The Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Peace, and the Ministry of Plenty.
The entire story revolves around Winston Smith, who works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. Winston’s job is to make “corrections” to the records that are available in The Times, thereby rewriting history along the way. We learn that Winston isn’t the only clerk that performs these types of tasks, and that each of these clerks do not look a these “corrections” as forgeries, because history has become so eroded that no one is actually aware of what the real history is anymore. These “corrections” may actually be “corrections”.
Without giving anything away, I have to say that I am really glad I took the time to read this novel. It certainly puts things in perspective as far as the current political landscape. Even though the events in 1984 are somewhat extreme and exaggerated, with a minute change here and there, the state of the world in 1984 isn’t really that far off from where we are now. I certainly see things being different now than they were when I was a child, and even though the changes in 1984 were quick and abrupt, things are certainly changing now.
I think this is a novel that everyone should read. The more people that can read what Orwell foresaw about our society, the better chance we have of preventing it from actually happening.