Phanee's Reviews > 1984

1984 by George Orwell
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's review
Feb 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: owned, read-in-2011
Read from June 07 to 13, 2011 — I own a copy

Rating: 8/10

I have been wanting to read a book by George Orwell for a few years but decided to read one now mainly because of the fact that I am participating in the Author A-Z Challenge this month and realised I had not read any books by authors whose surname begins in O. I was definitely planning on reading one of his books this year, but the time came sooner rather than later. And, as I am obviously not the smartest crayon in the box, I started with the long and more difficult of his two books that I own, 1984 (the other being the infinitely more manageable, Animal Farm).

Regardless, I really enjoyed reading this book. It is very, very political, and, even though I am not a great one for politics (they bore me), I found myself wanting to read more and more of it, to find out what happens. The main character in this book is Winston Smith, a man in his late thirties, who works for the Ministry of Truth (also known as Mini-true). He goes to work everyday, makes all the changes to documents he is told to make (by a weird device on his desk which seems to sprout out papers) and then goes back to his house, and is constantly under the surveillance of a telescreen. The story takes place in London, which is now the biggest city on Airstrip One and a part of Oceania. (Yes, I did say Oceania.) There, he begins a little rebellion of his own, as he purchases a diary and a pen without anyone knowing (from a prole - proletarian - store) and sits in the only place in his apartment where the telescreen cannot see him.

At some point, he meets Julia. At first, he hates her, because she embodies all that he finds wrong with the system. But, gradually, things start to come to the surface, that he ends up falling in love with her. It turns out that Julia is a lot more complex than he previously thought. I have to say, while reading about her, I did experience a certain admiration towards her character, as to how she managed to live what was essentially a double life.

The most interesting part of the novel is, by far, the third one. I am not going to tell you what it's about, but it gives you a certain understanding of the order of things. People are not who they seem to be, while certain places are used to 'cure' people of ideas in any way possible. In this part, we get to find out how the system really works and why it works in such a way and I found it very interesting.

Another part of the book I really enjoyed reading (though I don't usually) was the appendix, which explained the principles of Newspeak. It was so interesting to find out exactly how the author came up with the language, how he justified all the changes. I finished reading the book at nearly 3am, but kept on reading about the principles, because once I started, I couldn't stop!

In one sentence? George Orwell is one hell of an author! Lovely prose indeed. Will definitely be reading Animal Farm soon!

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