Author: George Orwell
Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: Publisher Secker & Warburg
Publication Date: 8 June 1949
Cost: Rs 19 (Kindle edition)
1984: A Novel, unleashes a unique plot as per which No One is Safe or Free. No place is safe to run or even hide from a dominating party leader, Big Brother, who is considered equal to God. This is a situation where everything is owned by the State. The world was seeing the ruins of World War II. Leaders such as Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini prevailed during this phase. Big Brother is always watching your actions. He even controls everyone’s feelings of love, to live and to discover. The basic plot of this historic novel revolves around the concept that no person has freedom to live life on his or her own terms. The present day is 1984.
The whole world is gradually changing. The nations which enjoy freedom, have distorted into unpleasant and degraded places, in turn creating a powerful cartel known as Oceania. This is the world where the Big Brother controls everything. There is another character Winston Smith, who is leading a normal layman life under these harsh circumstances, though hating all of this. He works on writing the old newspaper articles in order to make history or past relevant to today’s party line.
He is efficient enough in spite of hating his bosses. Julia, a young girl who is morally very rigid comes into the fore. She too hates the system as much as Winston does. Gradually, they get into an affair but have to conceal their feelings for each other, as it will not be acceptable by Big Brother. In Big Brother’s bad world, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.
1984 is a political novel written with the purpose of warning readers in the West of the dangers of totalitarian government. Having witnessed first-hand the horrific lengths to which totalitarian governments in Spain and Russia would go in order to sustain and increase their power, Orwell portrays the perfect totalitarian society, the most extreme realization imaginable of a modern-day government with absolute power. The title of the novel was meant to indicate to its readers in 1949 that the story represented a real possibility for the near future.
As the reader comes to understand through Winston’s eyes, The Party uses a number of techniques to control its citizens, each of which is an important theme of its own in the novel.
The Party barrages its subjects with psychological stimuli designed to overwhelm the mind’s capacity for independent thought. The giant telescreen in every citizen’s room blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the failures and shortcomings of the Party appear to be triumphant successes. In addition to manipulating their minds, the Party also controls the bodies of its subjects. The Party constantly watches for any sign of disloyalty, to the point that, as Winston observes, even a tiny facial twitch could lead to an arrest.
1984 reveals that technology, which is generally perceived as working toward moral good, can also facilitate the most diabolical evil.
Milestones of the book:
- NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books
- TIME included it on its 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.
- It was placed on the Modern library’s 100 best novels, reaching No. 13 on the editors' list and No. 6 on the readers' list.
- In 2003, the novel was listed at No. 8 on The Big Read survey by the BBC.
About the Author:
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950) was an English novelist and essayist. His work is characterised by lucid prose, biting social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism. He used to write under the pen name George Orwell has authored this piece. He was also a journalist besides being a critic. He used to concentrate on subjects like social injustice, resistance to dictatorship and support towards elected communism. Orwell’s work is appreciated by the influential and political world.