“To read without reflecting is like eatingwithout digesting.
” By Edmund burke. I have chosen Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)as the book that I will be writing a review about. The reason that I havechosen this book is because it is a great book that I have read it since I wasin high school for my English class, but unfortunately I couldn’t finishreading it. Then I got assignment to write a review about one book, so it wasan opportunity for me to pick up this book and re-read it again. Nineteen Eighty-Four was written by an Englishauthor name George Orwell who is very famous novel criticism as well as supportingsocial justice, democratic socialist and a totalitarian opposition, GeorgeOrwell portrays his interest and disinterest through his writing. NineteenEighty-Four is about totalitarianism, a totalitarianism government is the onethat try to control every aspect of life In 1984, Orwell creates aworld with advance technology that is being used as a tool for manipulating andcontrolling individuals who do not accommodate to the political orthodoxy. Inthe attempt to educate the readers about the results of certain politicalphilosophies and the drawbacks of human nature, Orwell twists the utopiantradition and creates the opposite of it called “dystopia”, a fictional sittingin which life is extremely bad from hardship, abuse, and terror. Orwell’sdystopia is a place where humans have no control over their lives, where nearlyevery positive feeling is crushed, and where people live in misery, fear andcontrol.
Orwell wrote 1984 just after World War IIended, wanting it to serve as a warning. He wanted to be certain that the kindof future showed in the novel should never come to reality, even though thepractices that contribute to the development of such a state weresatisfactorily present in Orwell’s time.Orwell lived during a time in whichauthoritarianism was a reality in Spain, Germany, the Soviet Union, and othercountries, where government kept full control over its citizens, where therewas freedom, where hunger, forced labor, and executions were common.The society in 1984, although fictional,mirrors the political practices of the societies that existed at his time.
Orwell’s Oceania is a horrible society similar of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’sSoviet Union — complete control of the human spirit, absolute governmentalcontrol of daily life, constant hunger, and the systematic”vaporization” of individuals who do not, or will not, agree with thegovernment’s values.Orwell revel the politics of the leaders hesaw rise to power at his time, and he showcased what the politicians did to thepeople at that time. Big Brother is certainly a merge of both Stalin andHitler, both real and terrifying leaders, though both on opposite sides of thephilosophical spectrum. By combining attributes from both the Soviet Union andGermany’s totalitarian states, Orwell makes clear that he is against any formof governmental totalitarianism.By making Big Brother so easily recognizable(he is physically similar to both Hitler and Stalin, all three having heavyblack mustaches and appealing speaking styles), Orwell makes sure that thereader of 1984 does not mistake his intention — to show clearly howtotalitarianism negatively affects the human spirit and how it is impossible toremain freethinker under such government.
Orwell’s primary goal in 1984 is todemonstrate the terrifying sides of totalitarianism. The reader experiences thenightmarish world that Orwell anticipates through the eyes of the protagonist,Winston. Winston has thoughtful nature; Winston’s main attributes are hisrebelliousness and his determinism. Winston hates the Party and wants to testthe limits of its power. He commits numerous crimes throughout the novel,ranging from writing “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” in his diary, to having a loveaffair with Julia, to getting himself secretly persuading into the anti-PartyBrotherhood. Winston’s efforts to achieve freedom and independence andrebillioness are revealed to the inner party member O’Brien who then physicallyand psychologically tortures Winston into a loyal subject of Big Brother.
Julia is Winston’s lover and the only otherperson who hates the party as much as Winston does. Whereas Winston is concernabout the large-scale social issues, Julia is Exciting, realistic, andgenerally wants to live in the moments and make best out of it. Winston wishesto join the Brotherhood and reads the Emmanuel Goldstein’s manifesto; Julia is moreconcerned with enjoying and making practical plans of not getting caught by theparty. Winston sees their affair as temporary, his attributes makes him unableto imagine his relationship with Julia lasting very long. Whereas, Julia ishappy with her chosen form of revolt. Julia personality is a contrast toWinston’s: apart from their mutual sexual desire and hatred of the Party, mostof their attributes are different. O’Brien is a powerful member of the InnerParty who tricks Winston into believing that he is part of Brotherhood. O’Briendrafts Winston into the Brotherhood.
Later, he appears at Winston’s jail cellto abuse and brainwash him in the name of the Party. Winston Smith is a low-ranking member of theruling Party in London, in the nation of Oceania. Everywhere Winston goes, evenhis own home, everywhere the party is watching him through telescreens, andeverywhere he looks and sees the face of the party’s leader, a figure onlyknown as Big Brother. The party controls everything in Oceania, such aspeople’s history and language. The party is forcing the implementation of aninvented language called Newspeak, which attempts to prevent political revoltby way of eliminating all phrases associated with it. Even thinking of revoltthoughts is illegal. Such thought crime is, in fact, the worst of all crimes.
In the beginning of novel, Winston feelsfrustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the Party, which bans sex,individuality and free thoughts. Winston hates the party and has purchased adiary, which is illegal in which he writes about his criminal thoughts. He hasalso becoming center on a powerful party member named O’Brien, whom Winstonbelieves is a secret member of Brotherhood- the legendary and mysterious groupthat works to overthrow the party. Winston works in the Ministry of Truth, Wherehe manipulates historical records to fit the needs of the party. He notices acoworker, a dark-haired beautiful girl, staring at him, and thinks that she isan informant who will turn him in for the thought crime. He is troubled by theParty’s control of history: the Party claims that Oceania has always beenallied with Eastasia in a war against Eurasia, but Winston seems to recall atime when this was not true.
The Partyalso claims that Emmanuel Goldstein, the alleged leader of the Brotherhood, isthe most dangerous man alive, but this does not seems to be true to Winston.Winston spends his evenings wandering through the poorest neighborhoods inLondon, where the proletarians, or proles, live filthy lives, relatively freeof Party monitoring.One day, Winston receives a note from thedark-haired girl that reads, “I love you.” She tells him her name, Julia, andthey begin a covert affair, always on the lookout for signs of Party monitoring.Eventually they rent a room above the secondhand store in the prole districtwhere Winston bought the diary. This relationship lasts for some time. Winstonis sure that they will be caught and punished sooner or later (the fatalisticWinston knows that he has been doomed since he wrote his first diary entry),while Julia is more pragmatic and optimistic.
As Winston’s affair with Juliaprogresses, his hatred for the Party grows more and more intense. At last, hereceives the message that he has been waiting for: O’Brien wants to see him.Winston and Julia travel to O’Brien’sluxurious apartment. As a member of the powerful Inner Party (Winston belongsto the Outer Party), O’Brien lives a life of luxury that Winston can onlyimagine. O’Brien confirms to Winston and Julia that, like them, he hates theParty, and says that he works against it as a member of the Brotherhood. He convincesWinston and Julia into the Brotherhood, and gives Winston a copy of EmmanuelGoldstein’s book, the manifesto of the Brotherhood. Winston reads the book—anamalgam of several forms of class-based twentieth-century social theory—toJulia in the room above the store.
Suddenly, soldiers break in and seize them.Mr. Charrington, the proprietor of the store, is revealed as having been amember of the Thought Police all along.Thrown away from Julia and taken to a placecalled the Ministry of Love, Winston finds that O’Brien, too, is a Party spywho simply pretended to be a member of the Brotherhood in order to trap Winstoninto committing an open act of revolt against the Party. O’Brien spends monthstorturing and brainwashing Winston, who struggles to resist. At last, O’Briensends him to the dreaded Room 101, the final destination for anyone who opposesthe Party. Here, O’Brien tells Winston that he will be forced to confront hisworst fear. Throughout the novel, Winston has had recurring nightmares aboutrats; O’Brien now straps a cage full of rats onto Winston’s head and preparesto allow the rats to eat his face.
Winston snaps, pleading with O’Brien to doit to Julia, not to him.Giving up Julia is what O’Brien wanted fromWinston all along. His spirit broken, Winston is released to the outside world.He meets Julia but no longer feels anything for her. He has accepted the Partyentirely and has learned to love Big Brother.
As I have already mentioned the message of thebook above but I will explain it briefly. The message is to show the readers how the totalitarian governments areand what kind of treatment we as citizens should expect. At the time the bookwas written it was totalitarian regimes across Europe. This book shows how advance technology wouldhelp these types of regimes to oppress the people and how these advancementscould help keep iron wrist on the citizens. As we read in the book that theparty keeps an eye on your actions and how they can help the governments keepmore control over individuals. The way Winston is being torture and abuse togive up his thinking is the exact thing, which was happening at the time of thebook. People were being executed, torture and abuse if they oppose the partyand the rulers.
Furthermore, we can see the exact same thing that took placeduring World War 2, all the pervious history records and the books were changedjust to favor the ruler, elite class and the ruling party. People were givenration cards and they all had a certain limits of food so they can support menat frontlines. There are many lessons we can take from thisbook as a reader and as an individual. The main lesson that I took is theindividual thoughts and personal freedom is the basic rights of us as citizensand we should do anything to protect these rights. 1984 is a politicalstatement it does not predict the future but it showed that if we do notprotect our rights someone else would take the benefit of it. Other lesson thatI took is that while choosing our leaders and while making our choices weshould think of consequences of these decisions and how they will effect us inthe near future will it cost us our freedom of choose, will it cost us ourbasic rights such as thoughts. We should always be ready to take an appropriateaction against the leadership if we feel our basic rights are being taken awayand we are constantly being watched and monitored.
In today’s world we can seehow much of fiction of Orwell has been a reality in our world, things such aswe are being watched and monitored constantly. The governments are monitoringour messages and conversations. The other main lesson which the author talksabout is the role of media and the language, he shows how language and be usedby media and the governments to stay in power and maintain it and how thegovernments uses the media and the language to achieve their propaganda and howthey can manipulate our minds and thoughts to brainwash our thoughts and howthey can mislead us in thinking that our lives are the best and we live inperfect conditions when we are not. The author did a good job in approaching his subject; in a way hecreates a whole new society the opposite of utopia (which is living a perfectconditions). By creating this he creates an actual effect on the readers in away we can relate this and we can see how he used language and media in hiswork to show the readers how these technology can change one’s perspective. Thethemes and the symbols used by Orwell also play a vital role in his approach tothe subject and the message he is trying to deliver to the readers. Themes suchas, power, warfare, rebellion and violence. These themes just provide fullsupport to the main subject, which shows how the political party manipulatesdata and people’s minds by those means mentioned above.
Such events whereWinston got tortured and they way he use to manipulate the past records so thatit can support the party’s polices. The use of various literary techniques tosupport his idea and the purpose of his writing were the usage of symbolism andvarious other techniques but symbolism provides the best support becauseeverything involved in the book represents different things which are relevantto the main topic.There are many positives of this book because the book is written in amanner, which makes the reader involved directly to the book, and the readerscan relate to every situation in the book.
Orwell wrote this book in a waywhich while reading keeps the reader thinking and wants to know the endingwhile giving the message he is trying to convey to the readers. But there aresome negatives to the book such as the starting of the book where Orwell dragsthe story and makes it boring for the readers to give up reading and the way herepresented some of the characters such as O’Brien which makes him suspiciousbecause the reader really couldn’t figure out on which side he belongs to. Overall the book was really interesting and readable the vocabulary andthe genre, which is used, make it easier for the readers to understand thestory easily and faster.
I would recommend this book to all my friends.