maandag 28 september 2015

George Orwell: 1984


This must be my third time reading 1984 by George Orwell.
The book has 342 pages story, 21 pages introduction by Thomas Pynchon, a 5-page note by Peter Davison and 13 pages appendix. And I read all of them since it’s been a long time.

“Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.”

Obviously, I love this novel or this wouldn’t be my third time reading it.

1984 is a very political novel. Big Brother is maybe not seen the whole time but he is felt throughout the novel. Every page screams fear of BB.
The novel feels uncomfortable, nervous and even panicky. You almost feel breathless while reading it. It’s frightening, very intense, bleak and utterly depressing. 1984 is such a powerful novel.

The society in general is very well constructed. Every detail is thought off and worked out to enhance the people’s beliefs and trust.
Orwell is an amazing world builder.

The whole system of spies and child spies especially is utterly terrifying. The idea that your own child could deliver you to the Thought Police just because he/she truly believes you are a traitor.

Winston starts with a small act of defiance, but even this act could mean death. And as the story goes on, he takes greater and greater risks.
Some might find Winston’s relationship with Julia unbelievable but I like to see it as two very, very lonely people who at long last find someone with the same beliefs.

The novel does slow down though in the second half of the book and that’s a bit of a shame. It’s still thrilling and engrossing and horrifying (the torture!) but it’s definitely slower and that’s mostly because of the book. And then the last 30 or so pages were too fast because I wanted more of them!

My heart bleeds every time Winston becomes a traitorous bastard. And I hate him for it every time. But I understand it too and that makes it so amazing.

Unless we watch out, we will become soulless, thoughtless robots.
Media changes the way we see things.
Think for yourself and don’t just accept.

Remember the past and remember your past.

Happy reading.