My Personal Challenge – 1984, George Orwell

1984 – George Orwell


Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

My Thoughts

1984 is written as a futuristic, dystopian society. The dictatorship of this society is so ingrained in the population, that very few are able to question it. When they try, they vanish without a trace. Winston doesn’t start off as a sympathetic character. I found him to be a little pathetic, however this was very much so due to the situation in which he was placed. Oceania in 1984 is a terrifying place. The slightest slip of the tongue, the slightest mis-thought, the slightest movement and you’re plucked out of existence.

This is the world that Winston Smith faces and tries to fight. And fight he does! He engages in a love affair with a woman who is, according to the Party, off limits. He begins writing in a diary in defiance. He attempts to find counter-parts to his plight, to oppose everything the Party is and the Party stands for. The Party controls everything. The Party rules by fear, and ingrains fear into the learning doctrine of the citizens. If you fear Big Brother enough, you will survive. Maybe.

This book absolutely terrifies me. The entire concept is close to unbelievable, and yet how far is it from the truth? How many different ways do people have of spying on us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week? This terrifies me.

1984 is completely devastating. The result of Winston’s capture, imprisonment, and torture saddens me. All of his resolve vanishes. His thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions are made to completely evaporate. All of this is done by a man he trusted, a man he believed was fighting against the Party with him. Most devastating of all, Winston is forced to betray his love, while simultaneously being forced to love everything he hates.

1984 is a hugely emotional ride. It is intense, devastating, and heart breaking. Shakespeare couldn’t even conceive of a tragedy as calamitous as the one George Orwell spun so exquisitely.


~ by Aubrey Smith on January 10, 2012.

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