George Orwell’s 1984 is a classic, terrifying novel about what would happen when the everyday person starts giving up more and more freedoms for the unknown threat of war. This novel could have been written today and called 2084, so timely is the topic when the NSA is accused of spying on other country’s prime ministers and people are having text and phone calls recorded without a warrant. All for the greater good.

The most brilliant part is that Orwell uses language as a type of mind control. How the slow elimination of words limits how one can think of any given circumstance. If there’s no word “bad”, the only way to describe the feeling is “ungood” which changes the sentiment. Even the different ministries whose role is the opposite of what we understand the meaning of the words: Ministry of Peace deals with war, Ministry of Truth deals with lying, the Ministry of Love which tortures the citizens, and the Ministry of Plenty whose role seems to be to limit goods so everyone is on the brink of starvation at most times.

War is the common enemy of the people and no one must notice that the enemy keeps changing yet the circumstances never do. Hate is cultivated by having daily sessions of group hatings. People don’t disappear, they miraculously never existed. All this can be accomplished when the mind is controlled. When the individual stops the ability to think and just regurgitates.

Orwell’s character Winston is doomed because he cannot forget. He doesn’t have the ability to doublethink and he has a fondness for truth and accuracy that he is unable to change. Through Winston’s eyes we see how destructive a society like this it. How the younger generation innately knows that something is wrong, but they follow the motions because they know nothing else. When there’s no one to trust, what happens? When there’s no history to learn from, how can there be a rebellion?

Great novel! I was surprised that it was such an easy read for something written 50+ years ago and how relevant it is to our complex world today. Even with the futuristic technologies from Orwell’s mind weren’t outdated. It felt like a contemporary piece written on the current world’s situation.

Read November 2013


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