A book report on the world of Orwellian political horror
For a long time I have avoided reading books that others, especially the mainstream, find to be, for lack of a better word, popular. Some titles include the Harry Potter, Twilight, and 50 Shades series. If it is gaining mass appeal, I simply don’t engage.
But what about those books that people rave about? You know the ones, they get you in such a way that you are compelled to tell others of their importance to society at large or the deeper implications they have on life. Do I lump those books into the same category as popular, mass-appeal, titles? The answer is, sometimes. Let me explain using this book report on 1984.
How I got started reading this book
For years I have avoided 1984 because of how boring it seemed to me to read about a society where is always watching you. I was born in an era where this is not only a reality, it is accepted as fact. If often all myself, ehy would I be interested in reading a book almost entirely about the world I already live in? I read fiction to entertain myself with a world unlike my own. So I avoided this book.
That is until I put a question out there:
I was surprised by how many people wanted me to read this book. And since I had never read it, it made sense to at the very least consider giving it a go for the fb crowd. So I picked up a copy of the book and started reading in a very different way than I normally do: I read to fb live every week day night for over two months until it was finished.
This book report is meant to go over what I read.
What this book is about
To put it bluntly, 1984 is about a loser in a crappy situation.
Old, worn out, and a cynical cog in the political machine, Winston Smith is a man who yearns for the world around him to be different than the drab, hate-filled, war torn, one he finds himself unable to change. And although he had no real memories of how the world used to be, or how he would want it to be, he loathes the world as it is now: gripped by the authoritarian might of The Party (IngSoc) and it’s personified visage known as Big Brother.
The story follows Winston on his aimless journey of self discovery. I say aimless because Winston, and the readers, have no idea what he is looking to accomplish with his life. We (Winston included) follow a journey wherein the protagonist falls in love with a rather promiscuous girl, becomes nostalgic for a history he had no part in, aligns himself with the infamous counter-movement known as the Brotherhood, teams about the true nature of the world political theatre, and is caught by the clutches of the terrible Thought Police.
The ending is, without a doubt, memorable. To have become completely engrossed with the horribly vicious world and times of 1984 and then to watch a relatable character suffer their inevitably fate is wretchedly frustrating. A similar story could be seen, felt, or even personally experienced today, and probably for the rest of human history.
What this book is not about
This book, 1984, gets touted as a lot of things: instructions for oligarchs, prophetic visions from the past, a dystopian novel. It really isn’t any of those things.
I wouldn’t say it is instructions for oligarchs because what oligarchs we have are so we’ll played out that this text fails to take into account the debth by which they must exercise control.
It really isn’t prophetic because it didn’t go far enough. George Orwell had no idea that the internet would be a thing and he had no understanding that the telescreens would be put in our pockets, along with mics and speakwrites.
This book is in no way dystopian because the end of the book is actually a happy one. Where the party is the good guy and Big Brother a lovable personification of it. And what’s more, in the end, are we sure of what we just read to be true?
But the one thing that I wanted to say about this book was that it is not a very exciting book for it’s content. Enlightening maybe, but not very exciting.What made this book enjoyable was I got to read it live and others found similarities between reality and fiction. So, this book is fun for how relatable it is. It’s not fun for how long it is.
What you might gain reading
With all that being said, readers round the world have enjoyed 1984 over and over again for its applicability to the modern world. This is what makes some books more equal then other books in that they carry the uncanny ability to educate, elucidate, and disseminate information about the real world in a novel way.
If you’ve never read 1984, you might be intrigued by the antagonist and his views on the party. You may even like, or even relate, with the love interest in the story. You might find yourself entirely enthralled with the idea of the Brotherhood and their seminal work, Oligarchival Collectivism.
But if there was anything for which you would gain for reading this book it would be a newfound appreciation for the past in the importance of the written word and artifacts that we use to remind ourselves of the past, for good or for ill.
Now I turn the time over to you, have you read 1984? Have you become enthralled by Big Brother or no people who have? Have you seen instances where the past was removed from plain sight and the memories and stories beginning to disintegrate? Let me know in the comments below!