The second time aroundThe first time I read 1984 fifty years ago, I was 18 at the time. It had a profound impact on me, but I see now how poorly I understood it. George Orwell’s 1984 features a dystopian future society where free thought is illegal and punishable by “vaporization” which is the act of erasing someone from history. Since the government controls all thought and all information, they can change it as they please, and can therefore change reality as they please. Most of the story is based around this idea that anything perceived as reality, is reality, while also drawing many parallels to Stalin’s tendency to erase people from existence and Karl Marx’s political writings.
1984 is an amazing book. If you enjoy thinking about something for a while and having your mind blown once every few pages, read this book now. It doesn’t start blowing your mind from the beginning, but it still helps you get a grasp of these ideas, and then George Orwell decides “you’ve had enough fun now, how about I explode your brain a few times?” He takes these concepts from a one to a one-hundred in an instant and it just makes the book that much better. Orwell does this in such a fashion that after he breaks your brain, you think about everything that’s happened in the book so far, and you realize what’s been really going on under the surface all this time, and it gives you a greater appreciation for the rest of the book. Orwell’s 1984, which is about a society without free thought, gives us so much to think about, and keeps the reader thinking about it for weeks on end until they start to question their own reality and realize that maybe they’re taking the concept a little too far. In this part of my review, I would like to talk about the ending. I feel that many people didn’t like the ending because they didn’t go on some sort of grand adventure and overthrow the government and go on to live happily ever after. However, I’m happy that the ending didn’t go that way because a happy ending would have ruined the whole point of the book. The whole book is about how hopeless everything is and that everyone’s being brainwashed and there’s no way to escape. If they went on to overthrow the government, then all of that would be pointless, all of the brainwashing and themes throughout the book would become pointless and we would feel empty. We wouldn’t have had any appreciation of the entire rest of the book because it would have simply been overridden. The ending was created perfectly so that instead of nullifying the rest of the book it enforced it and gave us a much greater appreciation of what happened. It also just exploded our concept of all reality and everything we thought we knew about fact and fiction while this one man’s entire past is erased by one relatively quick succession of events. The ending really just drove the book home, and it wouldn’t be the same amazing story without it.