“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past” – George Orwell, 1984
George Orwell is a very well known writer, many students go through the grueling task of reading his book Animal Farm in high school, with no real interest. Then there’s those of us who read his books because we love reading…and just between you and me, it’s on the Rory Gilmore Book Challenge (here’s a link to the blog post if you’re interested).
I fell in love with 1984, not right out of the gate, but eventually. It was a process. It started slowly, with very elaborate and detailed descriptions of Oceania, the people of Oceania, the government, where Winston Smith (the main character) works, his thoughts and feelings, but as it went on I came to understand why the descriptions were so elaborate and how these details played into the plot. The ultimate goal of Big Brother was complete control over not only actions but thoughts, and these detailed thoughts and looks into Winston’s head are what made him different. When I realized that and how I was sucked into this alternate reality is when I fell in love with it. I was reading a book like nothing I had ever read before. I’ve read The Hunger Games and Divergent, this was on a different level. This was control over the mind and body rather than forceful control over humans.
As it continues, thoughts turn into actions. The actions are the best part, especially when combined with Orwell’s use of Winston’s thoughts. It’s beautifully written, his extensive knowledge of language and ability to build the dystopian society adds to its reality. This novel is haunting and you can’t help but hope and pray for a happy ending but can’t figure out how that ending could come to fruition. Orwell makes you think there are ways for it to end the way you want it to, then rips the blindfold off and makes you see reality. Not everything is unicorns and rainbows.
Warning: This book can make you paranoid. It can make you feel as if some of the things that happen in this book could actually happen. Is social media put in place for the government to use as some sort of thought control? Don’t advertisements attempt to control what we do, and want on a daily basis? Orwell thrusts you into an alternate reality, one where you fight Big Brother alongside Winston, but how can you win against such a force?