1984 | Teen Ink


January 7, 2019
By Anonymous

1984 - A Letter to Goodreads

Written by English author George Orwell in 1949, 1984 is a dystopian novel. The novel is set in the year 1984 when the majority of the world’s population has become victims of war, an omnipresent government, and propaganda. The novel’s protagonist, Winston, is a quiet 39-year-old man living in Oceania. A Party member, Winston works at the Ministry of Truth correcting "errors" in past documented publications. He seems like an average man, but he keeps a secret that, if found out, would not only lead to his death, but his history being earased from all records.

1984 demonstrates the frightening possibilities of totalitarianism and stresses expansion of what should be considered rational. Many times throughout the novel, these beliefs are challenged by the rebellious and forbidden mental exploration of our main man, Winston. He keeps a journal filled with prohibited thoughts that would surely lead to his death; he explores hidden truths such as, “Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one” (Orwell 102) and “Sanity is not statistical” (Orwell 274).

This story takes place in a repressive society with few comforts or freedoms. One could speculate that Orwell feared the world was heading towards this extreme direction of omnipotent governments and unending injustices as a result of events prior to 1949. Winston paints a puzzling picture of the setting when he writes, “Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull” (Orwell 34). In this, Winston alludes to the mysterious malpractice of the government and society in that every action was monitored so the last safe place was in one’s own thoughts.

1984 is an iconic piece of literature with many internal and external conflicts that seem to not have a solution. The external conflict begins when Winston begins to illegally journal his most dangerously creative thoughts; if he is caught, Winston will be erased from existence. The internal conflict between Winston’s fundamental humanity and the dehumanizing practices of the Party advances when Winston’s co-worker and loyal Party member, Julia, hands Winston a slip of paper. He expects this paper to be the Party catching him for thinking outside of their guidelines but opens it up to find it surprisingly says, “I love you”. It only gets more complex from there.

Readers must endure a whirlwind of emotions as they hope for an impossibly elegant ending to a mystifying problem. I especially connected with the main character until the end of the book. I did not enjoy or appreciate the ending as it was not happy, but Orwell does not waste time entertaning his readers with the idea that storying have fairtale endings. I truly believe I got something worthwhile out of it. Although the story is quite old, the setting was new, mysterious, and different.

Orwell tells this story in a way like no other as he encapsulates his audience with perplexing delemas and secretive reflections. 1984 is easily one of the most heart-wrenching, eye-grabbing book I have read. Each chapter demands reader’s undivided attention to tell the bitter sweet tale of a man doing his best. Orwell does not bother to sugar coat any melancholy moments; rather, his writing almost seems to encourage readers to feel every bit of sadness a character does.

The type of reader who would enjoy this book are those who search for an explanation of seemingly impossible events or situations carried out by the government or other powerful forces without credible evidence. 1984 invokes the inner conspiracy theorist hidden within us all.

Not only does this, but is also a stable in modern culture references. The infamous “Big Brother” phrase is universally known and to understand, one must read this book.

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