1984, By George Orwell


Personal Rating: 9.4
Technical Rating 9.6

Excerpt of the Back Cover of 1984,
“The world of 1984 is one in which eternal warfare us the price of bleak prosperity, in which the Party keeps itself in power by complete control over man’s actions and his thoughts. As the lovers Wintson Smith and Julia learn when they try to evade the Thought Police, and then join the underground opposition, the Party can smash the last impulse of lover, the last flicker of individuality.”

(I say excerpt because the WHOLE back cover reads with extra reviews that do not pertain to the actual summarization of the plot. I have a re-print version of this book)

Personal Review
This has to be one of the freakiest, scariest things I’ve ever read. EVER. To think that such a society could ever be conceived and make so much sense is frightening. What’s even creepier is that the term used in the book, doublethink, is actually used, even if most people don’t realize it.
Doublethink is a Newspeak word that signifies believing with all your heart in a lie, yet also unconsciously knowing that that truth you hold so dear IS a lie. You would have to be oh-so-vaguely aware it IS a lie to maintain the illusion.
Throughout the book, the ideology of Ingsoc (aka English Socialism) is portrayed as both a good and a bad thing. For example, the main slogans of Ingsoc are:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

The War is Peace signifies the eternal war that the three super states, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia maintain to keep their people with just enough to get by while using up their surplus goods. The only way for the High to stay High is to keep everyone ignorant by deleting any other trace that might prove otherwise. Thus, the three states war with each other to maintain this balance, aka peace. So War is Peace.
This leads into the Freedom is Slavery. Since there are ways to monitor every person everywhere, showing anything resembling freedom or independent feeling is immediately squashed. If you’re lucky, you get sent to a labor camp. Also, independent feeling is what nowadays contributes to most decision making. Thus, you are a slave to your independence. And so Freedom is Slavery.
And the last, Ignorance is Strength. This I think is one of the most simple concepts of the Ingsoc thinking. It also involves doublethink, since the less you know, the higher you can climb. Also, the less you know, the less likely you’d be caught by the Thought Police.
And so Ignorance is Strength.
It’s such a fantastically perfect lie, one which can only be achieved by completely forcing one will over the others.
In this world, the Party controls life, they control your mind, and forever seek power. In my opinion, power for the sake of power is kind of pointless and stupid, but the method of taking it and maintaining it written here is nothing short of genius. However, I hated the ending. I suppose it DID kind of suit the theme, but I still didn’t like it. Other than that, Kudos to you George Orwell. (Not sure if he’s still alive or not. Probably not though.)

Technical Review

Narrative Pace: Rather uneven. It starts slow, then speeds up, then slows, and near the end, makes a very long time skip, and then slows, and then speeds.

Writing Style: Verbose, crisscrossing between points and thoughts to make a bigger point. Not very clever descriptions, although you do find a few gems here and there.

Twist Quality: Scary and frustrating.

Beginning: A little slow, but the length helps to integrate all the new terms such as the telescreens, Newspeak, etc.

End: It was suitable from an objective point of view.

In a few ways this book reminded me of V for Vendetta. Although in comparison, the London under the Ear, Eye, Voice and Finger pales in severity under the Ingsoc of Oceania.
So there you have it, a late book review by yours truly. And it was more rambling than anything oh my…

Till the Next Review,
(or random list I put up to procrastinate)
PenMaster

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