1984 by George Orwell- A Review

Rather late in life, I read a classic that I had missed out on. I would rate it as a masterpiece- can't find a more suitable word to describe it. A few countries in the world probably practice what Orwell has described as fiction even today. A few have stopped doing so recently, particularly the communist bloc of countries, and countless must have done so in different forms of oppression and colonialism.

What is important is to remember that Orwell was unhappy with British imperialism when he wrote it (around 1948), and not with some unknown dark force. He conjures up a great humdinger of a tale, which is about a ruthless, brutal and completely power-mad state operating out of London, the capital of a fictional State called Oceania, the other two being Eurasia and Eastasia. These three states are perpetually at war, or so the citizens are told. The hero works in a department which alters the truth by rewriting all newspapers, books, so that whatever the state says, appears to have been the only truth.

There is also a ministry of Love which tortures people brutally, and a ministry of Plenty which makes sure no one gets much to eat. All these are great parodies, and together with telescreens operated by the Big Brother (the head of this enterprise or govt.) placed in homes and elsewhere, make for a controlled existence (or extermination) for every citizen. Kids are taught to spy on and report their parents to the govt., there is a Hate Week where public indulges in rants of Hatred against the other two countries and their people.

There is a brilliant manifesto and slogans (and words like doublethink and Newspeak) through which propaganda is carried out to obliterate facts, and perpetuate the myth of an immortal and invincible Big Brother. A stupendous concoction of a tale about Bad Governance. Reminded me about the movie V for Vengeance, where a crusader battles a similar govt., surprisingly, again in England. Maybe it was inspired by Orwell.


Harimohan said…
Super book. Orwell's ideas for books were brilliant. 'Animal Farm' being the other one.

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