Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Book 144: 1984 by George Orwell

Most people read this book in high school, but not me. I'm not sure why.

1984 is a novel that provides a view of the human experience in extreme circumstances. Certain aspects of this book seem eerily prophetic and deal with government dictatorships, censorship, surveillance, and tactics of coercion and intimidation. Really, these things are nothing new to the human race. We've witnessed it or had a taste of it in some way or another, and it scares the hell out of most of us.

Imagine a society where you're never alone but you're always alone. Big Brother is always watching you through a telescreen in your living room or bedroom, with an open channel. The telescreen is always on, and can detect the smallest variations in body language. Many books are outlawed, and those that do exist are censored. Even thinking the wrong way is illegal, and those that are caught are tortured and even killed. History is changed to be what the government needs it to be from one moment to the other, and nothing exists except the present state of things.

George Orwell put a lot of work into this book. For all intents and purposes, he designed a society from soup to nuts and dropped Winston and Julia and the other characters directly into the middle of it. I was both amazed and aggravated at the level of detail he provided, especially when it came to describing the history of the Party... sometimes it just got to be too much.

I certainly understand why this book is a classic and I'm glad I read it, but I probably won't pick it up again. Once was quite enough.

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