Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101…
After spending his whole life under the watchful eye of Big Brother and going about his mundane life in accordance with the Party, Winston Smith has grown tired of the totalitarian rule in Oceania. It’s a place where individualism, even in the mind, is not tolerated. Against all the rules, Winston starts a diary intended for an inner Party Member, O’Brian, who Winston believes is also against the Party. Soon after he meets Julia, an equally rebellious individual, and they embark on a secret relationship, dreaming of a day when they can be free. When Winston and Julia meet with O’Brian they believe they’ve finally found a reason to live, as they have the opportunity to be part of the Brotherhood intent on ending Big Brother’s reign over Oceania. However O’Brian isn’t all he appears to be, and soon Winston and Julie and captured by the Thought Police…
Considering 1984 was first published in 1949, it is an exceptionally clever novel that represents Orwell’s view of a future dystopian society. For a novel written 63 years ago to use themes and ideas from that time (such as Communism in Soviet Russia at the time of Lenin and Trotsky and wartime Britain) and it still be relevant today is the mark of a good book.
I found 1984 to be an interesting read and a great insight into what life is like in such a society. I have studied and always had an interest in history, so it was especially interesting to me to see all the links between the society in Oceania and society in Communist Russia in the same period of time. Having said that, I did find the book a little slow in places which was quite a disappointment – there were times when there really wasn’t anything happening except the day to day happenings of Winston, which seemed to make the story drag a little.
While I fully appreciate what Orwell achieved with 1984 and I admire the fact that some of the themes and concepts are still relevant, it just didn’t completely blow me away. The slower parts of the novel were a real let down, and apart from my interest in the historical ideas within the book, I felt it wasn’t quite for me.