‘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.
※ The following contains some spoilers.
First and foremost, it was so much fun reading this book; it was a great reading experience and I really enjoyed it. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
The draw and gravity that this book possesses were so strong; this is such an immersive read that I just couldn’t put it down once I picked it up last Friday intending only for a brief skimming.
At first, I was a bit nervous if I’d get to wrap my mind around this dystopian novel. As is the case with reading fantasy books which has got a lot of world settings/ world building , I was not quite sure if I was ready to tackle this dystopian world and policies and everything.
However, it ended up a needless fear; the ideology of the world was easy enough to follow and well spelled out. The more I got to knew about the world, the more captivated I was.
The writing is absolutely gorgeous and magnificent. It was simply enchanting. But I would say what really grabbed me was the ideology of The Party and what coercion and duress – in particular, ‘fear’ – can do to you. I also found it an interesting idea to continuously wage a war to use up the surplus generated from production so as not to raise the general standard of living. So long as the general population, particularly the mass categorized as ‘the proles’ which accounts for 85% of the total population, are left in constant poverty, they wouldn’t conceive any intellectual or independent idea which conflicts The Party’s ideology and policies.
It also struck me that the proles, a class where I’d be most likely to belong to if I were to put in this world, are treated as though they were animals or some kind of mindless disposable machines or expendables. They’re regarded as just a mere labor force, not worthy of education. This aspect disturbed me quite a bit.
The world in which Winston lives is simply unimaginable and bleak; people are put under a constant surveillance with telescreens which can also pick up even the smallest, subtlest hints/noise such as palpitations and neurotic eye movements in the flicker of a moment. They literally and invariably need to watch their deeds and words even in their sleep. History, past, even facts are subject to constant modifications and amendments to make it look like The Party has, and always will be correct and the government itself is in fact in charge of the tasks.
People are also hand-fed all the information that they need to know by the government and nothing else is allowed to enter one’s mind. Once discovered, one’s future is doomed – one will be on the road to vaporization and death at the exact moment one has committed the first-degree crime.
Now, I am not a kind of reader to superimpose or reflect my own world onto this dystopian world which is rigidly regimented with an ironclad system, but I still find it rather disturbing. In particular, the fear what Winston experienced in Room 101 was just beyond imagination; the description of it literally blew me out of the water. It was spectacularly described and was hard-hitting – you definitely should read it. It was simply fantastic.
Compared to ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ which I read two months ago and is another highly-acclaimed dystopian novel, I personally think this 1984 hit home for me way closer because of the element of ‘fear’ being described more in detail. It is really descriptive and feels realistic; it almost made me believe something like this could be actually happening in this world I’m living in. I absolutely loved it.
The ending, the very last sentence left me in awe, in a weird sense. I was a bit overwhelmed by the power of brainwash and what the ruling organizations/ powers can do to you. My gosh, I wouldn’t want to go through that!!
This is an amazing, captivating read although there are scenes that I felt a bit redundant somewhere in the latter half.
None the less, this is THE BOOK all readers should pick up at least once in a lifetime.
I will definitely come back to this book. I am certain of it.