BOOK REVIEW: 1984 – by George Orwell

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Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Genre: Classics, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: 1949
Finished reading: July 6th 2014
Pages: 326
Rating 5

“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

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How to begin describing this little masterpiece… As you read 1984 it becomes clear George Orwell was way ahead of his time when he wrote his novel back in 1948. The vision of his negative utopia is easily to be called brilliant: a world set in the nearby future where personal identity doesn’t exist, collectivism is the key and war is used as a way to suppress the masses. Reading about the lives of the two main characters Winston and Julia in this dystopian world where ‘Big Brother is watching you’  is both interesting and disturbing. Orwell definitely hit the mark with certain points in his book… Examples include the mass media trying to control life, politicians preferring people to be ignorant and politicians using the continuous war as an excuse to keep peace and order. A definite must read!

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Life in 1984 is made into a routine where individualism is a crime and everyone should live exactly as the Party orders. The world in 1984 can be seen as an aftermath of the Second World War and is divided into three states: Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. The three states are in continuous state of war and all governments use the war as an excuse to suppress their population. Every single movement people make is controlled by the state and disobedience detected by the Tought Police, by the telescreens placed in every home and public space and even by their own children who will betray them within a heartbeat to the authorities. Punishment? Getting arrested by the Tought Police and a almost certain one-way trip to the Ministry Of Love. And trust me, things inside that ministry aren’t that rosy at all; you can say things get pretty ugly inside.

Winston works for the Ministery Of Truth where he is one of the workers in charge of revising and changing past newspapers and any other messages so they don’t contradict the current situation in Oceania nor the authorities. The Party with Big Brother as their leader believes that ‘he who controls the past controls the future.’ And that ‘he who controls the present controls the past’ . In short, they are falsifying history and people are behaving like brainwashed zombies and don’t even seem to realize it. Unfortunately for Winston, he is different. He does notice something is off, but even only thinking about that is a crime (thoughtcrime) in Oceania and he knows it. The authorities are doing everything in their power to make people ignorant, even altering the language into one where there are no words left to express yourself.

Even when he knows it will be his end, Winston tries to defy the Party anyway and starts a diary. Things become even more dangerous when a co-worker called Julia expresses her love for him and soon start a love affair… They have to hide their every move since love for the sake of love is forbidden in Oceania and can get them arrested. People aren’t suppost to have physical interest in each other and only state approved marriages are allowed to ‘fulfill their duty’ and create the next generation. Winston and Julia also get involved in an underground organization against Big Brother and manage to hide their relationship for quite some time. But no good things can last forever, and soon the day they dreaded arrives at last…

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 I think this novel by George Orwell was one of my favorite reads of this year. Or at least one of my favorite classics. If you haven’t read 1984 yet, I strongly suggest you do. Trust me, it’s worth it. And if you already have, you probably know why I am lost for words describing this story…

16 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: 1984 – by George Orwell

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  4. This was an incredible book. I’d agree with you that Orwell was way ahead of his time,he obviously saw televisions as the start of something sinister. It had so many ideological points in it. It made me think a lot about government and how should politicians rule in order for a better society. Good review, I enjoyed it.

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    • I totally agree, Orwell definitely made you think about how society works nowadays and what influences the different governments have… A great vision and way ahead of his time. And thanks! 🙂

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  5. Ooooh I am so glad that you read this book and that you have liked it! Definitely would recommend reading Zamyatin’s “We” or/and “Brave New World” if you haven’t already. It would be really nice to hear someone’s comparison of that group. I have read all three but with a long gap so the plots are no longer as sharp in my mind, not allowing me to make astute comparisons.

    I would also love to hear your opinion of some of the parts of the book? Any characters your liked or disliked? Any passages that stood out for you? Anyway, sorry about the ramble. Great review!

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    • I’ve actually read Brave New World various times, although the last time was last year. It’s one of my favorites! I haven’t read We yet but since everybody keeps mentioning it, I will probably read it soon. It might be interesting to compare all three, although I will have to re-read Brave New World.

      I actually enjoyed the overall story more than the characters… I found moat characters to be a bit flat, although that is also partly because of the society they live in. Winston was the one character I could relate to; him having a conscience, not wanting to accept the brainwashing made him vulnerable and I actually felt sorry for him. Julia for example I didn’t relate to at all and I actually found her annoying most of the time.

      Parts of the book I most enjoyed were the ones with ideological explanations of the new world with Winston either explaining or finding out more about what is really going on in Oceania. I also really enjoyed the parts with New Speak and the explanation of its use was fascinating, but that might just be because I’m a philologist. 😉

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  6. Glad you enjoyed it! It seems to me it gets more relevant with each passing year – doublespeak seems to have become second nature to so many of those in power all over the world. The mark of a classic, it always seems to me, is when a book passes into the consciousness of people who’ve never read it – and all the terms that we use from the book tell me this one is a timeless classic…Big Brother, Thought Police, doublespeak, Room 101…

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    • 1984 definitely is timeless, and I totally agree with you its content becomes more and more relevant. It almost seems like some authorities took the book as a hand guide and not as the warning it was suppost to be…

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  8. I loved this book, its one of my all time favourites. I’ve just been reading through your blog too which is why this comment is so far down… sorry!
    I’ve just started a book reviewing blog of my own over at phoebesbooks.wordpress.com and would really appreciate it if you could have a look and give feedback if you want seeing as you’re such a distinguished blogger! Love your blog,

    Thanks! Phoebe xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thanks for the kind words, I don’t really see myself as a distinguished blogger and mostly just ramble away about what I’ve read. 😉 I guess the key part of starting a book blog is to make sure to put your own personal mark on it and make sure to interact plenty with other bloggers in the book blog community so people get to know your blog. It took me some time realizing that myself, and I’ve only been active blogging for the last eight months or so. So welcome to the community! I will be checking out your blog shortly. 🙂

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