Saturday, 5 October 2013

Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Totalitarian Future Society

ISBN: 978-0-452-28423-4 
GENRE: Dystopian, Political Fiction, Social Science Fiction


Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals: 

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength.

Published in 1949 and set in the imaginary future, Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of the most brilliant satires on totalitarianism and the power-hungry. The world is divided into three countries: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.

The story is set in London, Oceania an illusory world that is far from the best. It is one of the three intercontinental super-states formed after the global war. The state of Oceania is run by a Party led by Big Brother, where privacy is a long lost cause and not only an individual’s behavior but also thoughts censored.
Several struggled against the pervasive Big Brother who dictated the lives of people but none were ever successful under the rightful eye of the Party.

The story unfolds depicting the life of Winston Smith the main protagonist, a member of the outer party who is repulsed with the oppressed and controlled life in Oceania and longs to join the Brotherhood, a supposed group of rebels with a basic intent of overthrowing the Party. Winston is quiet a thinker who hopes for the Party’s downfall and maintains a diary that holds his thoughts and ideas yet living a slow and safe life working as an editor in the Ministry of Truth. During this course of time, he meets and falls in love with Julia and an illicit affair brews in the background. O’Brien is the final protagonist, a faithful member of the inner party who poses as one amongst the Brotherhood luring Winston to join in, indirectly setting a trap for him and Julia to fall and give into the government.

The book focuses on the journey of Winston Smith, his belief and his dreams in an attempt to escape the clutches of Big Brother and the Party and also from a society that has robbed one’s free will.

On a whole the book is descriptive and informative and warns of the horrifying dangers that man himself may create in his quest for power.

Orwell's main goal in writing this novel was to warn of the serious dangers totalitarianism poses to society and the startling degree to which such an authoritarian reign can acquire and maintain.

At the end, we are left with a feeling that freedom comes with a price, though it is not always achieved. Although the plot is a terrifying and disturbing at times, it is one of the best portrayals of a dystopian world. Nineteen Eighty-Four rightly deserves accolade, not only for its diverse outlook and thinking that makes one seek and question not just the government but also oneself.

RATING: 10/10

PRICE: Rs. 134
BINDING: Paperback

P.S: This is one of my favorite novel and so the very first review. Also the opinion at the end is what I felt about the novel.