Jason's Reviews > 1984

1984 by George Orwell
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Aug 23, 07

Read in January, 2006

Any book or movie that has created a cultural point of reference is worth a look, by my estimation anyway.

For those of you who've heard the phrase "Orwellian" and never knew what it means, this book is a good place to start.

Before there was "The Matrix", "V for Vendetta", or virtually any other dreary view of a totalitarian future, there was 1984, George Orwell's bleak vision of a world under the thumb of a brutal, oppressive regime.

The setting is London, which is now a part of Oceania, a large and poweful new empire under the myterious, watchful eye of it's ruler, Big Brother (yes, this is where that phrase comes from as well).


Oceania is perpetually at war with Eurasia or Eastasia, though which is a confusing blur of details at times. That's where Winston comes in. Our protagonist works for the "Ministry of Truth", and his job is to correct details in offical records as to who exactly Oceania is at war with, and how long it's been going on.

The story follows Winston on his journey to discover the truth about the society in which he lives and his hopes to make things right by attempting to join the Brotherhood, an organization dedicated to the destruction of the Party.

1984 is as relevant today as it was when it was written, in the shadow of Communism and the Cold War. Not only because we find ourselves today involved in controversial, unpopular and polarizing conflicts, but because at it's core, this book is about propaganda, and how powerful a tool it is at the base of our society.

The reason this book is a classic and why young people still read it in school today is that it should make you think, about who and where you are in your own society, about your society and it's place in the world at large. And hopefully, someday, future generations will read this book, not because it is the way we were but was rather the way we could have been.
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message 1: by J K (new) - rated it 5 stars

J K Great summary of this important book, as much a cultural touchstone as Alice in Wonderland (I guess that explains the Death Match going on on the forum!) it's a book that stayed with me when I read it aged about 14 or 15. Really chilling. I've just read E M Forster's The Machine Stops, which is also terrifying for totally different but even more relevant reasons. 1984 is a warning. and while some leaders may still use 1984 as a guidebook to population control, I feel we're actually *living* in the 'Machine'. 1984 is still amazing.


Erica I really like your point about iconic books and movies at least being worth checking out. I couldn't agree more.


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