By: Amanda Pape
1984 is a nonfiction dystopian book by George Orwell about a future society where everything is monitored by the totalitarian government in place. Orwell paints a perfect picture of exactly what could go wrong in a future society reliant on certain tendencies and technologies under a totalitarian government. Although published in 1949, a time period much different and less advanced than ours, the themes and messages that Orwell depicts throughout the novel are still very much significant in our society today. Set in the year 1984, hence the name of the book, Orwell displays his own version of what society could dangerously turn into in the future. Orwell does an excellent job of exemplifying what not to do to end up in a fatalistic society like the one in 1984. The plot explores a series of eye-opening situations that touch upon issues of control, technology, self-expression, thought, and even the importance of history.
In the nation of Oceania, the government, known as the Party, under it’s leader, Big Brother, controls and forbids almost everything, especially free thought. Everyone is under constant surveillance through the advanced technology of telescreens, that watch their every move and can even detect thought. The main character, Winston Smith, leads a “normal” everyday life, working for the Ministry of Truth where he changes historical records in order for them to fit the needs of the Party. Stressed about the amount of control the Party has, Winston illegally keeps a diary, where he expresses his distasteful thoughts about the Party. Breaking one of the most important laws just by thinking may not be Winston’s only Crime. Winston believes that a secret Brotherhood exists that is working to overthrow the government. With such a strong governing force, the choice of whether or not to fall under the Party’s wrath may not be up to Winston to decide.
George Orwell, the author of 1984, had a deep interest in politics and used many of his novels to voice his strong opinions. He has a unique, lucid style of writing that is able to grab the attention of his readers through the fashion of his words. Orwell has written a number of books and among them, 1984 is one of his most popular. In one of his other famous novels, Animal Farm, he explores the theme of equality, bringing up questions of whether being equal to your peers can make you superior to them. This theme comes up throughout all of 1984 as well. With free thoughts and actions forbidden, everyone is forced to be the same, keeping anyone from being superior except for the members of the Party that enforce such equality. Orwell hints at the fact that the meaning of equality gets lost and begins to mean something else. Themes like this one can be explored throughout 1984 and through much of Orwell’s other works as well. During the course of Orwell’s career he was also recognized for a number of essays that seem like they were written for modern times. He came up with six brilliant rules for writers that are used today as a basic key for writing.
1984 is a novel that explores important issues in society that can be relevant for any time period. This book is a must-read, especially for those interested in politics, and science fiction. Orwell uses the plot of his novel to portray important messages to his readers and this book has completely changed people’s impressions of what society could be capable of in the future. Since this book involves themes and messages that people should be aware of for the development of our society, I strongly believe that everyone should read it. It can be understood and enjoyed by all readers in the high school level and above. The paperback of 1984 can be bought for about $10.00 . I strongly urge others to make this small investment for this eye-opening read.
Kearney, Anthony. “Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984.’ (George Orwell).” The Explicator 54.4 (1996): 238+. Academic OneFile. Web. 30 Mar. 2015.