Tuesday, June 02, 2009

1984, George Orwell

I read a LOT of books in high school. I was in AP English and I think we read one per week. Somehow, I didn't read 1984. Every now and then I get the urge to read a book I missed back then, to see if it lives up to the hype it is given. Sometimes they disappoint on the "entertaining" scale, even if they prove to be thought-provoking but that isn't the case with 1984.

I was surprised how quickly I was invested in the story of a futuristic dystopian society. This novel makes the reader wonder how society got to the point that they would allow their every waking moment to be captured by camera, to be viewed by authorities, to allow their thoughts to be censored. It is certainly pertinent in current times as we deal with things such as the Patriot Act. This is certainly a bit extreme of that, but it makes sense that people fear something like that happening.

I felt a lack of hope in reading this story similar to the feeling I had when reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road. There was a little more hope as anyone reading this novel would expect each individual to have an internal struggle with such circumstances that would thus lead to an eventual uprising. Of course Orwell explains why that would be so unlikely.

Now that i Have given this the badge of hopelessness, I am sure everyone will be inspired to read it. But if this is one you managed to miss in high school or college, consider reading it now. It is especially interesting and captivating.

1 comment:

Emily said...

1984 was one of my favorite "required readings" in high school. The whole "Big Brother is watching you" thing really stuck with me. The song "Runaway" by Real McCoy (popular in the mid-90s) included the phrase in its lyrics, and I remember being impressed that a pop song was making a literary reference. I liked 1984 better than Brave New World.