Before I read 1984, whenever I heard something described as Orwellian I thought it nothing more than a substitute for grim or dark. Now that I have read 1984, I have revised my definition completely: I now picture a black hole, among the darkest points in the universe where no light can escape nor can hope persist.
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
I have to admit, I felt out of my element reading this. There were so many layers that I felt overwhelmed and a little disappointed because I knew that there are a lot of things that would go over my head. What did click, however, certainly painted a clear enough picture of the nightmare of living in that world.
“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
I found that character certainly took a backseat to the themes. I predict I will quickly forget the names of the central cast of characters within the month. But now that I think about it, Orwell probably wrote this way by design given the nature of the explorations (and accusations) he was making. He is saying we could all be Winston, we could all be Julia.
While I still prefer Animal Farm over 1984, I can see why this book has lasted as long as it has. It just hits so close to home, especially with the onset of the technology age. The questions raised are timely and will probably remain so for perpetuity. I very easily forget that Orwell wrote this in 1949, given the name of the book, and it astounds me the accuracy of some of his predictions.
Recommended. I would be hard-pressed to say this comes close to some of my favourite reads ever, but it certainly would be in my top-tier of reads that I consider essential for any individual.