Book #37 – Nineteen Eighty-Four (final thoughts)
Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed – no escape. Nothing was you own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull. p. 29
The year is 1984. The Party is in power and Oceania is at war with Eurasia. In fact, the Party has always been in power and Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. From the voice on the telescreen to the newspapers and radio to children’s history books, this is the truth. However, Winston remembers things differently. He’s sure that 20 years ago, when he was a boy, the world around him was different, that the government didn’t control everything. He also knows, without a doubt, that as recently as four years ago, Oceania was not at war with Eurasia, but with Eastasia. But with only the memories in his head, what can he prove? With the Party watching his every move and listening to his every word, how can he attempt to learn the truth? Do his conflicting memories mean he is crazy, or is the world around him that has gone mad?
1984 is a book that I really wanted to love, however, it wasn’t a very consistent read for me. Some parts of it I thought were pretty interesting, and during others I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. But some parts were so boring that I thought my eyes were going to dry up and pop out of my head.
Don’t get me wrong, I really did enjoy reading this, I just didn’t love it.
The premise of the book is creepy and I found the society, not to mention the state of the world, fascinating. Can you imagine having to just take everything that’s told to you at face value and not even being allowed to question it? Especially when you were told something contradictory not even five minutes before? And that whatever evidence of the past is available is what the government has decided to make available? The most frightening part to me was how the government could make people who might be a threat vanish. Not just kill them or take them out of society, but erase them from history, so that they never existed at all.
One reason why I like reading classics like this is because so many elements from it are so engrained in our culture that we don’t even think of where they came from. Unfortunately I’m part of a generation that knows Big Brother as a silly reality show rather than as a sinister, but still comforting, public figure. I think it’s important to read about these references in their original context and be able form an idea of what they’re really supposed to represent. I mean, this isn’t Orwell’s 1984. We have all this literature available to us, we should be taking advantage of it (which is the argument I will use when the discussion of a bigger bookcase comes up with the hubby again).
My rating: 8/10
Back to School Challenge: 2/4 complete