1984 Book Review

georgeorwellxobeygiantprintset-1984coverbyshepardfaireyThe story of 1984 is a very dark and depressing look at the future. The main character, Winston, is a man that works for the Ministry of Truth, a government branch that alters the news to fit to their agenda. Winston lives in a futuristic England named Oceania in a small room above a man named Mr. Charrington’s store. The government is headed by The Party and controlled by the Thought Police. Their symbol is Big Brother. Big Brother is a scorn looking man with dark hair and a thick mustache who’s posted on the walls of buildings. Probably the most memorable or popular quote of the book is:

“Big Brother is watching you”(Orwell 1).

This quote goes along with the picture of Big Brother giving him an even more dominant and omnipotent tone. This man is a symbol for the Party. The Party is the main government and their agenda is enforced by the Thought Police. The Thought Police is a group that controls and monitors citizen’s thoughts and feelings. Things illegal in the Thought Police’s eyes are: intellectual individuality, free thought, and sex.  *SPOILERS* The story begins with Winston writing about a fellow Ministry worker named O’Brien in a journal he bought (illegal). Winston believes he is a secret member of the Brotherhood, an underground rebellion group. While at work he notices a female coworker that he believes to be following him and worries she will turn him into the Thought Police for his crimes he has admitted to in his journal. However, he is mistaken. The woman gives Winston a note at work that reads, ” I love you”. And this is where the story really begins. The woman, Julia, and Winston begin a secretive love affair that goes on for some time. Their love for each other grows as their hatred for the Party does the same. While this relationship is going Winston receives a message from a long awaited O’Brien. He directs him and Julia to meet him. They arrive at O’Brien’s apartment where he tells the couple of his hatred of the party and his involvement with the Brotherhood. Once Julia and Winston agrees with him he initiates them into the Brotherhood, giving Winston a book by the leader of the Brotherhood, Emmanuel Goldstein. Winston and Julia return to his room above the store where he reads the book to her. After reading for a minute or two, the Thought Police rush through Winston’s door, lead by an unknown informant, Mr.Charrington, who had been letting Winston use the room above his store. They couple is separated and each taken to The Ministry of Love. At the ministry, Winston, is tortured. The beginning of his torture began when a man came into the room, O’Brien, another secret member of the Thought Police. The brainwashing and torture sessions go on for months with Winston, these come to a climax when O’Brien exploits Winston’s worst fear, rats. He places Winston’s head in a cage of rats. Once the process begins, Winston is overwhelmed with fear and eventually gives up the woman he loved, Julia. This is exactly what the Party wanted and they release him out into the world. The love he once had for Julia is now felt towards Big Brother and the Party.*END SPOILERS*

I greatly enjoyed this book with it’s incredibly descriptive and dark writing. The author, George Orwell, is known for this style of work. He engaged in this form of dystopian writing so much that stories resembling his are referred to as “Orwellian”. This form of storytelling that Orwell displays in this story is a very pessimistic one of the future. Orwell wrote this book in the 1940’s, a time where the future of England didn’t seem so bright. *SPOILERS* The story starts where it finishes, it is a closed loop storyline. Winston starts at the same place he ends, in a hopeless, thoughtless life. He is a a broken man with no love in his heart.*END SPOILERS* All in all I would highly recommend this book if you are a fan of politics, dystopian futures, or Orwell’s other works.

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It’s Tuesday

After finishing “the Sun Also Rises ” I decided to pick up another book from a familiar author. This was “1984” by George Orwell. I remember this was an assigned book to read in my Senior English 4 class. Despite this being the case, I never really read it. I was more of a sparknotes type of guy back then and I have to say it worked out ( I ended with an A in the class). However I felt somewhat guilty that I never did actually read the book. So I decided to revisit it. So far I’m a few chapters in and the events all come back to me as they’re happening. I remembered it being a dark, distopian future ruled by a force called Big Brother and enforced by the Thought Police. My memory was correct and the more I read the more the story returns to my memory. It is interesting to go back and see things I didn’t remember or small details that weren’t present in the summaries I read. I’m really looking forward to finishing this book off and hopefully when I finish I will have a different interpretation or perspective on the story.

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In other news, I returned home this weekend to Tampa for Gasparilla. For those of you who aren’t aware, Gasparilla is one of the largest parades in the country ( I believe it’s right behind the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, Mardi Gras, and the St. Patrick’s day parade in Boston). It’s a crazy time to say the least. It’s a day of beads, pirates, and public intoxication. If you’re from Tampa it’s most likely your favorite holiday of the year ( at least if your a high school/ college aged kid). It was great to be back in Tampa. I saw kids I haven’t seen in months and some in years. The day of fun didn’t come without a cost however. At some point during the day I lost both my sunglasses and car keys. Thank god I had a spare set in my car. But honestly that small price was definitely worth it. I wouldn’t trade that parade for anything.