In George Orwell’s disturbing novel 1984, The Party, a totalitarian government, maintains power over the people by eliminating all forms of individualism, including ownership, love, freedom, joy, and goals; essentially everything that makes a person human. O’Brien, one of the main characters of the story, openly states, “The Party only wants power”; it survives by crushing humanity.
1984 is mainly about a man named Winston who couldn’t stand to live according to The Party’s demands, so he rebelled in small ways. For example, although The Party watches everyone through telescreens, which are televisions that see into people’s homes to provide constant supervision and instruction, but Winston found a tiny corner in his apartment that was invisible to the telescreens, and there he started keeping a journal. While this was a small act, it was an act of personal privacy and was thus considered a “thought-crime.”
Winston has a strong passion to know the truth about history. He is troubled by the fact that he knows The Party lies about the past and the present, but all proof of their lies is systematically eliminated. In fact, it is Winston’s daily job to re-write history, so that it always matches whatever The Party is currently claiming. In his journal, Winston wrote down his thoughts about the work he does, a revolutionary act in the world of 1984, and he paid a high price for his actions.
Winston met a woman named Julia, and together they tried to create a space just for themselves. This is also a revolutionary act, because The Party does not allow its people to feel more loyalty for each other than they do toward the government.
George Orwell is a skilled writer who captured me in the dark world of this novel. His descriptions, although sometimes repetitive, were so clear it was as though I was there, hearing the sounds, smelling the smells, and seeing the sights.
1984 presents a view of the future, which is also an analysis of the present. While the world in which we live is not exactly like the world of the novel, Orwell is making the point that losing our ability to determine what is true and what is made up about the past will ultimately make us unable to know anything about the present. In that world, we no longer care, and simply accept what we are told.

Readers of 1984 should make up their own minds, but in my opinion, that last point is something I think is actually happening in the world today.

One Response to Book Review: 1984 by Jonny C.

  1. Yes, Jonny, it is alarmingly similar – the book and now I mean. I have actually never read the book, but your account makes me know that I should definitely read it. Thanks for sharing.

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