Orwell creates a world under the rule of a totalitarian government -very soviet like- with a big and strong leader called “Big Brother” watching every movement, attitude, action or gesture of the members of “the party”.
Our main character, Mr. Winston Smith, born before “the revolution” works at the ministry of truth creating stories to replace those of the past that may expose inconsistencies between the lies on the current news or speeches from party officials. Then again, as it is read in the book “he who controls the past controls the present, and he who controls the present controls the future”. If you are Venezuelan, try to look up for the events of April 11th , 2002 and something might just ring a bell.
Slowly, Winston gets tired of government control and being undersurveillance 24/7, in his own home, work and even at sleep, by the “telescreens” and decides to start a diary trying to remember a past that he could only retrieve from his memory.
He then starts a quest among “the proles”, humble people left relatively unwatched by the government under the believe that they did not have the power nor the mind to pose a threat to them, in search of small testimonies of a long away forgotten past. He would never get far in his quest but his own personal and secret rebellion would grow ever more.
At some point, Winston meets Julia –another party member- and they start an affair that would lead them to capture and torture until eventually giving in the only things they had for themselves: their dignity and their minds.
What I think about it
Although I liked 1984, I expected something different due to all the things people said about it.
The finishing was absolutely brilliant and leaves you thinking a lot. Its admirable the way Orwell describes a lot of what was going to happen in the USSR and several other countries; the exposure of “doublethink” and how every actor in the society ends believing government propaganda and acting even against their own instincts for a misconception of “the greater good” is very well presented and also, unfortunately, very accurate. I wished Orwell would go a little more around Julia’s thoughts and even more with how the proles felt and thought and, maybe, involved a little more on Winston’s thought.
1984 will always be a novel that will never be obsolete, a classic, and a must if you have at least the slightest doubt of your government being completely democratic.
I fully recommend 1984. I think that, combined with the reading of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and the watching of V for Vendetta, its something everyone should go through before forming an opinion on what should be the intervention of governments in society.