Nineteen-Eighty Four (1984) by Lawrence Cheng

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Book Review- 1984

1984 (Nineteen-Eighty Four)

By: George Orwell



“War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” (Orwell) These apparently contradictory phrases may seem very wrong at a first glance, but in the “perfect” utopian world dreamt up by George Orwell of 1984, they are the ideals and slogans of a futuristic society where their leader, Big Brother, keeps constant watch over them all. Orwell’s masterpiece is a book unlike any other, a powerful and stimulating novel that has provoked thought and insight for the past 70 years. Included in Time’s 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923, it is a book that challenges, a book that dares people to think outside the box and to consider things that would have previously been deemed unimaginable. Set in a universe where a single party has complete control over an entire society and where personal privacy is virtually non-existent, the author uses the truly courageous beings that are Winston Smith and Julia to truly capture the excitement and feeling of this amazing yet subtle book.
The protagonist, Winston Smith, is simply a pawn of society, working at the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) with the job of rewriting past occurrences and changing facts for their own benefit, leaving the real event just a distant fog that never was. Despite this, Smith has no love for his country and secretly holds grudges against the Party, but with no real way to rebel or retaliate, he is silent. Then, during a fortuitous encounter, he meets Julia, a mysterious lady who slips him a love letter and changes his life forever. As the two quickly develop a relationship, they hide against the always-knowing Big Brother and secretly rebel against the Party, with even the slightest action symbolizing a stone raised against their oppressors.

The many interesting and unique concepts in this Sci-Fi book are what gives this novel its deep and thought-provoking characteristics, including its uncanny ability to plant the seeds of an idea into the mind. With the ever-constant surveillance of Big Brother and the Party, there is nothing that escapes their sight. And with Thought Police rounding up all those who even DARE to think of rebelling, the entire society is stunned into silence, into a cold, deadly obedience, setting the stage for one concept that definitely sticks out: The possibility of a dystopian utopia and the frightening reality of what it could become. A cold and impersonal society of unswerving obedience and harsh punishments makes the story of Winston and Julia even more astonishing, an exciting and carefully woven tale filled with action, subtle insurrections, and a nightmarish society living in a thick fog of gray and never-ending night.
The unique society that is Oceania provides a setting full of surprises, one that perfectly complements the mood that the book gives, allowing a perfect and intriguing medium that will captivate any reader’s attention, leaving them eagerly turning page after page for the next exciting part. Filled with tension, every page, every line is filled with an aura of anticipation thick enough to be cut. As Winston and Julia take big risks just to meet up with each other, the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) is preparing Room 101 for the dramatic climax of the story, a climax that will blow your mind away. Orwell successfully emphasizes the control that Big Brother has over the inhabitants through the control over the past, present, and future that the Party has. Newspeak is yet another creative example of the mindless obedience that the Party wants to have. Specifically designed to inhibit as little thought as possible, this language was created with the intent of replacing the current English language with a language that limited thought, preventing any rebellions and promoting obedience throughout all of Oceania.

For those who like to look for deeper meaning in a work of literature, 1984 is the mother-load. With esoteric allusions and references galore, they careful examiner will be more than satisfied. An example of this is the language of Newspeak. The knowledgeable reader would immediately relate to the Soviet Union’s preference for combining words, a fact that partially influenced the novel. For example, the Communist International would be referred to as the Comintern. Another place in the book where there are also many hidden meanings is when Winston and Julia were discovered and sent to the Ministry of Love(Miniluv) to be tortured. The method of torture was not-so-coincidentally the method that the NKVD(a secret organization of the Soviet Union) used during interrogations. Even the phrase 2+2=5, one that was used to torture Winston during his interrogation, was borrowed from a slogan of the Communist Party during the second five-year plan, a slogan that urged completion of a five-year project in four years. As you can see, the deeply layered and rooted story is intellectually stimulating and satisfying to all who are seeking a fresh challenge.
To conclude, this book is unlike anything that you have ever read before. With the story of Winston and Julia guiding the way, there is an interesting effect as you go along this strange world, beset with secrets, mysteries, and a strange leader named Big Brother. With Orwell’s seemingly effortless mastery of the words evident in the book, one can only believe that it is all too real. So, although 1984 has come and gone, the epic story still withstands the test of time. How? Read it and let it blow your mind away.
But remember:










Big Brother is watching you.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

1234Dew said...
Apr. 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm
Awsome x 3 !!!
 
ConstipatedPanda said...
Apr. 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm
Good review. You might also note the irony of the Ministry of Love dealing with torture and hate, the Ministry of Peace dealing with war. The climax of the story is very unexpected indeed. Also, I would suggest less of the extravagant positive words.
 
Dew1234 replied...
May 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm
In the original drafts of this review, I created an entire paragraph devoted to the Ministries of Oceania( especially the irony). However, in an effort to make it shorter due to some suggestions that a teacher gave me, I was forced to cut that part out to make it shorter. Don't worry though. I am fully aware of the irony in it.
 
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