Imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

"It's a classic! It was way ahead of it's time!" Clamoured the masses. I couldn't ignore them any longer (and a friend bought it for me), so I read it. It was great.

 

The thing that surprised me the most about 1984 was how human the story was. I'd already read Orwell’s Animal Farm, and enjoyed it, but it felt to me like an elaborate metaphor. It was, and it was clever, but I felt a certain emotional disconnect reading it.

 

The moment that really hooked me was the moment Winston read the message

"I love you"

(show spoiler)

 on Julia's note. I, like Winston, was expecting something from the thought police, or an underground resistance, but I was surprised, and it was brilliantly done.

 

Winston is a fantastic lead character, fitting into his world perfectly. His thoughts are brutally honest, and sometimes shocking, but we forgive him for it, because we understand him.

 

The book delves deeply into the idea of what a world might be like where the pursuit of power over others has been led to it’s ultimate conclusion; a world where power is sought and maintained merely for it’s own sake.

 

The book gave me lots to mull over afterwards, which is a good sign. Happy or contented people are unlikely to seek power, and those who seek power will often end up as the ones who obtain it, regardless of their moral standpoint. The psychological questions raised by this book concerning morals, perceived sanity, and the very nature of organised society are fascinating, and ones that will resound deeply with anyone even slightly politically minded.

 

Is 1984 the future? Often the book echoes our own society in uncomfortable ways, a testament the the forward-thinking of the Author. Who knows, perhaps the Ministry of Records will change the title to have always been 2084, and with a little doublethink, we’ll believe it too.