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If you’ve not heard of George Orwell, then you can’t really call yourself a reader (just kidding, read what you want.) George Orwell wrote books back in the 40s and 50s that predicted a future closely based on the direction that culture was headed. 1984 predicts a world where humanity is controlled by one governing body in a bureaucratic and totalitarian regime.
You know the term “Big Brother”? That came from the book 1984. It’s a large organisation that essentially runs the world in a totalitarian way. 1984 is about one man’s efforts to break free from the regime and the premise and the future that Orwell predicts is terrifyingly similar to that of our own and a world people still fear of today.
Plot – 4.5/5
This book is all about the plot. The book is written in a very passive tone – there are many pages of description and world-building to engross you into Orwell’s idea of how the world should feel. In this book Orwell predicts the rise of television in our homes and lives, he predicts the changing of languages to better suit different classes and friendship groups and the more paranoid of you would argue you he predicts the bureaucratic future we now live in too.
The plot of this book focuses around one man and his attempt sot just find a bit of normality where everybody’s day involves getting up, working for Big Brother, going home and going to sleep. He attempts to interact with people he’s not supposed to interact with, ask the questions you’re not allowed to ask and fight through the oppression everybody faces to just seek a sense of freedom. It’s a fantastically written book – it’s written in such a way that it almost feels poetic. It’s not the easiest of reads due to this but if you persevere with it, you’ll feel rewarded at the end.
Characters – 4.5/5
Giving a rating to the characters in this book is quite difficult I’d say. None of them stood out to me as being overly filled with personality – though this is very much likely down to the fact that they’ve been oppressed by the system for so long that any personality has been squeezed from them.
Our main character Winston Smith works for the Outer Party and his job is to rewrite history to bring it in line with current political thinking. However, when he receives a letter from a girl saying “I love you.” it begins a great bit of chemistry between the pair that kept me truly intrigued. Their relationship is complex and Orwell really manages to get across the feeling that these two aren’t supposed to be doing this and they both know that deep down. It’s gripping. You always want to see where their relationship will end up.
1984 summary – 5/5
1984 by George Orwell is clearly one of the greatest books ever written. If you stop and think that this book was written only a few years after the second world war finished and how relevant and similar it is to our modern-day lives (though a heightened version) you can’t help but respect Orwell. He’s written a book that will scare many into thinking this may well be the way the world ends up.
It’s not a long book but it is definitely a book you should spend your time reading. The way it’s written, the matter it’s written about and the fearlessness with how Orwell wrote it is why you should read it. Buy your copy of 1984 here.