The fifth book I read from my Summer Reading List was Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It was first published in 1949, and surprisingly, still very relevant to modern times. As far as the “story” goes, I was so very disappointed. It is well written, and has more than enough drama, intrigue, betrayal and love. But being the eternal optimist reader that I am, I was hoping for a better ending.
The author tells the tale of the plight that the world finds itself in, in 1984. In a nutshell, the world has been divided into three super nations, all run by similar totalitarian states, with the menacing omnipresent dictator (Big Brother) who controls his people through fear, lies, arbitrary violence, phantom enemies, giving the citizens no freedom, physical nor mental. Even their minds are controlled, manipulated and censored. They have no privacy, are constantly being watched, monitored and spied upon. If one dares make a mistake in the opinion of the Thought Police, they would simply disappear from the face of the earth without a trace, and no memory of them remaining. All evidence of their existence would be simply eradicated, as if they were never there. And this is widely accepted by the population without even a second thought. Which is exactly what Big Brother demands of his state. As the book’s protagonist, Winston Smith simply cannot accept this reality. Thoughts of rebellion and defection come to mind, but ultimately, is not in his power. His internal struggle for the truth, for reality, is truly heartbreaking and frightening.
This book still resonates today, with many “shocking” acts commited by the government in the book, being an accepted truth and part of life for us in this day and age. I’d rather not go too deeply into that, but I found a very interesting article explaining these things here.
As a side note, this was the first time I read this book, and I was quite shocked to find that a few of the very popular Young Adult novels in the past couple of years, closely resembles the themes of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Sure, their stories are different, but alas, the general idea is the same.