Hey readers! I’m sorry to say but indolence has got the better of me. Or maybe lack of time? I really don’t know. I reread 1984 last month and I haven’t been able to post its review till now! Anyways, I suddenly find myself enthralled by dystopian novels. Even right now I’m reading a dystopia—The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Feel free to suggest some good dystopias in the comments section below!
Nineteen eighty-four by George Orwell can be marked as the source of all dystopian novels. I have never read any book that has had such a profound impact on its readers. George Orwell actually managed to coin terms in this book which are used today; like ‘big brother’, ‘thoughtcrime’ and the most frequently used term, ‘doublethink’. Yes, you read it right! George Orwell was well ahead of his time and almost infallibly predicted the future. It was more of a premonition than a prediction, keeping in mind the plot of the book and the current world situation.
The book exists in a totalitarian world where human beings merely exist as screws and parts of a well-oiled machine and one part of this machinery is Winston Smith. Thirty-nine year old Winston Smith is a particle of dust and goes wherever the wind takes him. He has no control over his choices and his thoughts. To put in a simpler way, he has no control over his being. Lets learn more about it. The country of Air Strip One (present day United Kingdom), Winston’s birthplace, can be visualised in the form of a pyramid. At the apex of this imperious pyramid, Big Brother is perched and mind you, Big Brother watches EVERYTHING. Just below BB, sits the Inner Party. The middle comprises of the Outer Party and the rock bottom is occupied by the proles—the common folk. This pyramid is so rigid that the bottom is made to believe everything the apex believes and the original thought is thus annihilated and replaced with a more orthodox one.
Even though the book is utterly fictional, it enriched my knowledge of world politics and helped me gain a new outlook on life under dictatorship. Despite all this, empathy surges through me everytime I flip through the pages of this book. The condition in which Winston and myriads of other Party officials live in London is pitiful. They are inconsiderately provided insatiable rations of food such that their stomachs are always left grumbling. Their decrepit homes merely serve the purpose of providing a roof over their heads. Their thoughts are manipulated. False promises are made which are fulfilled by showing false records. A world where your every movement is recorded and observed. A world where one wrong word can get you vaporised. In a situation like this, Winston can’t help but desire a world where he can do as he pleases. His hopes are renewed when O’Brien catches his eye and he becomes desperate to find a way into the rumoured underground Brotherhood. But there’s someone else. Does this someone mean good or just harm? Who is this girl with dark hair?….
These slaves of dictatorship have been coyly taught to blindly follow three Party slogans:
- WAR IS PEACE
- FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
- IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
These slogans hold a deeper meaning than you see and as you’ll read the book you’ll marvel at how brilliantly the Inner Party managed to contain its harsh ideals in these three slogans and you’ll also realise how easy it is for someone to make life hell for millions using three short sentences.
I have this old habit of closely scrutinising the writing style of every book I read (which can be exasperating sometimes as it reduces my reading speed). What I enjoyed the most in this book was the writing. It is one of the best literary works I’ve ever read. It’s so stupefying that I can’t help but caress the cover of this book as if I’ve just stumbled upon a treasure. George Orwell was one of the finest and most proficient writers of all times. He adeptly created some of the best works in fiction.
Some of my favourite quotes from this book are:
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two is four”
“If there’s any hope, it lies in the proles.”
With that this review comes to an end. If you want to know more about George Orwell books don’t miss my Animal Farm review. I recommend this book to everyone and remember BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU…
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️