A lot of the books that I read in high school are some of my favorite books but I don't actually remember very much about them. This one is 1984.
This book had made a huge resurgence recently because of the current state of the media. A lot of conversation right now draws into question what is truth and how do we know what truth is.
This book takes that idea really, really far but it's very interesting. George Orwell, the author, was a deep thinker from the 1940s. This book was published in 1949.
He really was writing about the Soviet Union and how something like that could happen to any of us. Something that Stalin did— that is very reminiscent of what's in this book— is he took people that he didn't like or that were enemies of the state (or the party as it’s referred to in 1984) and would erase them completely.
He would take them out of photos. He would take them out of references. He would change books instead of burning books like Nazis did (like they do in Fahrenheit 451 which is another great dystopian warning of the future that could potentially come). In 1984 they don't burn books and in Stalin’s Russia they did not burn books (always).
They change what the books said. That's actually what Winston, the main character in this book, does as a job. He works for something called the Ministry of Truth which is kind of ironic. He goes back through and he changes the references to things that don't exist anymore.
He starts to question what is truth and realizes there is certainly something more true than what is written. How
do you prove that outside of your own head?
The book starts off a little dry. It's very interesting though. The world that he sets up feels very real. About a third of the way through the book, it starts getting really interesting. Then it starts to slow down and get a little boring again. Then it gets really interesting. It really depends what you’re interested in. The romance portion (which I felt was slow) might actually be what interests you the most. Almost everyone says the start is slow though, so push through that before you give up on it.
If you haven’t ever read 1984, You should totally check this out. Even if you read it in high school and you think you know what it's about… you probably don't remember it very well.
Read it again with your new understanding of what's going on in the world. It’s just going to blow your mind.
The concept of double-think (where you know something is not true and you tell yourself it is true and then you forget that you told yourself it was true) is a cycle where you start to believe in the reality that is easier to believe. It’s the narrative “the party” is telling you to believe.
It kind of reminds me of how there's this anti-intellectual movement going on around the world and the idea that ignorance is bliss in a very real way. People think “Oh learning is stupid.”
Obviously there's different people but this is just a really interesting thought about how easy it could be to manipulate the past. How would we even know? S
So check it out and don't fall in love with Big Brother.