John Wiswell's Reviews > 1984
John Wiswell's review
Aug 12, 2007
Recommended for: Classics readers, political readers concerned with overreaches
1984 is not a particularly good novel, but it is a very good essay. On the novel front, the characters are bland and you only care about them because of the awful things they live through. As a novel all the political exposition is heavyhanded, and the message completely overrides any sense of storytelling. As an essay, the points it makes can be earthshaking. It seems everyone who has so much as gotten a parking ticket thinks he lives in a 1984-dystopia. Every administration that reaches for power, injures civil liberties or collaborates too much with media is accused of playing Big Brother. These are the successes of 1984's paranoia, far outliving its original intent as a battery against where Communism was going (Orwell was a severely disappointed Marxist), and while people who compare their leaders to Big Brother are usually overreaching themselves and speak far away from Orwell's intent and vision, it is a useful catchcloth for dissent. Like so many immortalized books with a social vision, 1984's actual substance is so thin that its ideologies and fear-mongering aspects can be stretched and skewed to suit the readers. If you'd like a better sense of the real world and Orwell's intents, rather than third-hand interpretations of his fiction, then his Homage to Catalonia is highly recommended.
Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read 1984.Sign In »
January 1, 2005 – Finished Reading
August 12, 2007 – Shelved