Number of Pages: 326
Publisher: Signet Classics
Release Date: 1949
“While 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a “negative utopia”, that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world — so powerful that it’s completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions — a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.”
I have heard so many terrific things about this classic novel, it’s not even funny. Even people who don’t normally read have recommended this book to me with incredible enthusiasm. For me, this has always been one of those books that you hear people reference a lot but you only have a vague idea of what it’s about.
But OH MY GOODNESS, I am so happy that I finally got around to reading this book!
Everything about this book was fantastic. Everything: the characters, the plot, the fascinating world that Orwell created, and on and on. This both had two things I really love in literature: an engaging and captivating story and components that will make you think hard and see things from a new perspective.
Let’s start with the story itself. Winston is an excellent narrator for this story because he is very easy to relate to. He feels as though he is an outsider in a regimented but chaotic world where everyone else fits in. And don’t we all feel that way sometimes? Standing on our tiptoes at the edge of a crowd, stretching and reaching for a way to make it to the middle. It’s Winston’s flaws and desires that make him seem so much more human than his peers, and that’s precisely why I found I could relate to him despite the utterly different world he lives in. His relationship with Julia was executed extremely well. It was refreshingly realistic, even considering their unfortunate situation. It was not perfect in a romantic sense, but how could it be when nothing in their society was? They made do with what they had and with the circumstances they were forced to live under, just as people do in real life.
In a strange way, I really loved the ending of this novel. I won’t go into detail about it, for obviously spoiler-y reasons, but I will say that is isn’t happy. But with a story like this, could there ever be a true happy ending? Of course not, not if Orwell wished to maintain any semblance of realistic and logical progression of the plot. The conclusion, while heart-wrenching and not at all pleasant to read, is blatantly honest. Orwell isn’t trying to make the reader smile- he’s trying to send the reader a message, to teach the reader a lesson. When I say I love the ending of this novel it’s not because of the way it happens, but rather the fact that it does happen, if that makes any sort of sense. I appreciate the honesty and frankness which with Orwell tells this story, and it is these specific qualities that I love.
The entire concept of this novel was extraordinarily fascinating. The fact that Orwell set this book only four decades in the future from when he wrote it says a lot about the state he thought the world was in at the time. Of course, his view is most likely exaggerated in the extreme setting of the novel, but the underlying implications still exist. Also, looking at this novel from a modern-day perspective is also incredibly interesting. Many aspects of the society of 1984 are relevant today, such as the way we often choose to ignore the poverty that is plaguing much of the globe. Although it was written over half a century ago, there are nevertheless several connections to be made between Winston’s world and ours.
Overall, 1984 was just as amazing as everyone promised me it would be. It evoked emotion while simultaneously promoting thought, which is my favorite type of story. If you have never read anything by George Orwell, this novel is a great place to start!
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely!
Have you ever read this book? What were your thoughts on it? What other writing by Orwell would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!