Friday, April 13, 2012

1984: A book review

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"Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past".

Not many of you might know that famous television shows ‘The Big Brother’ and its Indian version ‘Big Boss’ are vaguely conceptualized on the theme of this novel. There are two ways you can read 1984-First, to read it word by word as a spectator to the novel or second, to live it through the eyes of the narrator, Winston Smith. George Orwell’s 1984 is a gripping satire, a warning for human society and sheer storytelling brilliance. If  Nazis' history has shades of barbarism,then the extreme nature of totalitarian regime can be absolutely chilling.1984 is all about imagining existence of such a world .

(Spoiler alert for this paragraph; not much revealed though)
A mystical figure, ‘The Big Brother’ is believed to be keeping track of each of your activity. The past is mutable. A totalitarian party exists, which can choose to rewrite the history the way it wants. The history, to put in simple words, has been arrested. Any sort of evidence that might prove the party weak is altered, and any wrong prediction altered.  A thought rebellion is criminal and it is caught by the telescreen that watches you all the time.People are vaporized from society not for committing any crime, but based on their eccentric thought process which might have made them to commit a crime against the party in future. They don’t die, they will never have existed.. The party believes that killing people in the open will glorify the victim and shame them. So, they don't punish the heretic overtly but annihilate them from all records of past and future. The system is moulded to safeguard the infallibility of the party. War is a continuous process yet people are indifferent to it. “In the eyes of the party there were no distinctions between the thought and the deed”.
In such savage conditions, what happens to a man called Winston Smith, who nurtures a thoughtcrime: a rebellion against Party in his own mind by falling in love, is central to the story.

The lines
"Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me—"
are somehow gut-wrenching and  apt.

Also At one point of time, Winston contemplates while writing-

“How could you communicate with the future? It was impossible. Either the future would resemble the present in which case it would not listen to him, or it would be different from it, and his predicament would be meaningless."

George Orwell as a storywriter engrosses you throughout with his lucid and thought-provoking story astonishingly written in 1949 with a foresight of the world in 1984.Thoughtcrime, doublethink, crimestop, newspeak, the thought police-Orwell’s jargons force us to think of the relevancy of his vision in some subtle ways. It’s not only engrossing, but at times frightening when you imagine your own existence in such a world!
This is a must-read book and I have no qualms on why it is rated as one of the best books ever written. 1984: A book review

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