Thursday, August 23, 2007

1984 by George Orwell

When I graduated from college, I decided it was time for me to read all those classics that either never ended up on my high school reading lists or I faked my way through in English class. (Yes, I did fake my way through some of those books in high school… YOU try reading Treasure Island because you have to!) I went to a used book store (back then, there was no Cracked Book, but there was something similar…) and stocked up. I must have bought 15 “classics,” from The Great Gatsby to Cry the Beloved Country to 1984. And I read… I think maybe one of them.

But! I never got rid of them. So a couple weeks ago when I had finished Harry Potter but hadn’t had a chance to get to the book store, I decided it was time for me to plow into George Orwell’s 1984. Especially because that book was probably THE most widely read and referenced of the books I bought.

Well, now at least I have some reference when people talk about the book. It was alright… but I won’t read it again. It was interesting to see the perspective of a man writing in the 1950’s predicting 30 years into the future. Jeez, talk about doomsday! 1984 tells us the story of a society where every move you make is monitored by Big Brother and the Thought Police and history is rewritten on a daily basis to conform to Big Brother’s ideology. Pretty spooky. Our antagonist, Winston, decides that he really doesn’t agree with the crap that’s being forced into his mind, and this book tells the tale of Winston’s exploration of defying Big Brother.

I think I would have enjoyed this book a little more if Orwell hadn’t launched into about 20 pages of pseudo-political commentary in the middle of the book. Psh! Who needs that crap! I just wanted to know what happened to Winston!

When I finished this book, my first thought was, “Alright, that’s over with.” My second thought was, “Jeez, it’s a good thing that’s not REALLY how things are… I think….” It is disturbing to think of a society where the government has so much power that they can literally erase and rewrite history and have people believe it. It’s disturbing to think of a society where the government is watching your every move. And yet our government is given more and more leeway every day to poke around in our private lives… I’d like to think we’ll never end up in a world like George Orwell predicted in 1984, but some days, I wouldn’t be surprised.

1 comment:

Meade Skelton said...

With Obama in office, its looking a lot more and more like 1984!