After two books criticising the totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union I thought 1984 was a natural next move. George Orwell’s dark dystopian story of a complete, unweilding totalitarian state is a classic and I would say one of the most well known novels of its kind.
This must have been the first dystopian novel I ever read and I remember it sparking an interest in the concept of censorship and extreme dictatorships. I later studied it for A Level alongside Brave New World as a sort of carrot-and-stick juxtaposition. In that sense I feel like 1984 isn’t a vision of the future but more a comment on the present of George Orwell’s time; a logical extension of the USSR and the then newly-formed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. I’ve basically never liked the whole ‘big brother state’ attitude to CCTV in the UK and the confusing of the social contract with being oppressed.
That being said I do think 1984 is genuinely terrifying. The concept of language, literature and rights being stripped away to prevent people from realising the situation they’re in. I love the bleak ending; the betrayal of relationships and the message that the statewill win. I think it like it more than a happy ending; George Orwell didn’t just build up this terrifying world only to have it crack at the first sign of someone falling in love… It’s there to stay.
Can you tell I’m not a romantic?