“War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. “
It’s quite difficult to find someone who dislikes George Orwell’s dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four. The novel promotes individual strength, depicts a lustful affair, a government mole, and above all is anti-authoritarian. Pinning my Dead Kennedy’s “Kill the Poor” button to my ripped jean jacket, I promoted the book around my middle school years like a religious fanatic would pass around the Bible.
1984 tells the story of Winston Smith and his questioning and eventual rebellion of the omniprescent Big Brother. Living in Oceania, one of the three post-war superstates, our protagonist’s country is in perpetual war with the remaining two powers, Eurasia and Eastasia(I’m sure you can guess who they are.) Winston’s immediate world is also divided into a three tier system of social classes: The Inner Party, made up of 2% of the population, The Outer Party(Winston’s) 13%, and The Proles which encompass the remaining 85%.
Winston works as a “historical revisionist” at the Minitrue. When he starts reading the infamous Emmauel Goldstein, a known enemy to the party, our main character begins to question and revolt against his government. Becoming wrapped up in a romance with a fellow party member named Julia and the Inner Party correspondent O’Brien, Winston eventually becomes the the enemy of the state.
So how does Orwell’s 1984(1949) rank up in 2011? As you can tell, 1984 has many facets that take some time getting used to, but being one of Britain’s greatest authors, Orwell introduces the overbearing world with ease. Surviving both World Wars only to live in the Cold War, it’s obvious to see the author’s inspiration. Though the book becomes a tad over-zealous and frankly a bit ridiculous, it makes up with suspense and fantastic political ideology. You’ll only want to put the novel down when you’re ready to start a revolution.