Besides Movies #1: 1984 – George Orwell
#1 : 1984 – George Orwell
Hello everyone and welcome to the first “Besides Movies”. Today I will reveal my thoughts after reading the amazing “1984” by George Orwell. A novel about a terrifying reality in which a society is controlled by a “totalitarian” party. Be careful, because Big Brother might be watching you…
WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
A powerful, shocking and frightening story that is a warning about government control. In “1984” you will find a terrifying world controlled by a government with a huge wish of power and control. A government divided into 4 ministries that control Oceania (one of the three superstates): the Ministry of Love (associated with torture and brainwashing), the Ministry of Plenty (associated with shortage and famine), the Ministry of Peace (associated with war and atrocity) and the Ministry of Truth that oversees propaganda and historical revisionism.
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
The protagonist of the novel is a man named Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth. He re-writes past newspaper articles in order to support the current party line. Despite being and obedient and skilful worker, Winston hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother (the Party leader who may not exist). With is life under control of the Party (in fact everyone’s life was under control), Winston has to be very careful in order to save him from death.
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.”
A classic novel in the genre of political and dystopian fiction, “1984” is full of terms related to Ingsoc (English Socialism) such as Big Brother, Newspeak, doublethink and thoughtcrime. A novel that looks a bit like an essay since the ideals for the Party are well-described in some frightening paragraphs.
“The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
One of the most controversial topics in the novel is the historical revision, where the members of the Outer Party like Winston are re-writing past newspaper articles to protect the Party’s integrity. Newspek (the official language of Ingsoc) is also useful to eliminate some words that might influence feelings. In this hierarchical divided society, there are the Proles (85% of the population), the members of the Outer Party and the members of the Inner Party. Posters like the one presented on the left were present in almost every place in Oceania. The purpose was to warn the population that the Party was watching every action of every single citizen. This control over the population was possible with the telescreens. The Thought Police was capable of detecting almost every treason against Big Brother. And if it wasn’t possible to detect the treason through the telescreens, people still had to protect themselves against kids. Because most of the children were part of the Spies and were educated to honor and respect all the ideals of the Party. In the book we are introduced to several cases where children denounce their own parents for thoughtcrime. But the most frightening thing about the book is the way that the Party controls the ones that are against Big Brother. It’s really hard to read how did the agents tortured the people inside the cells of the Ministry of Love.
“The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”
It’s also amazing to witness the result of the re-education process that happens inside the Ministry of Love, when Winston and Julia are finally face to face after being captured by the Thought Police:
“I betrayed you,” she said baldly.
“I betrayed you,” he said.
She gave him another quick look of dislike.
“Sometimes,” she said, “they threaten you with something you can’t stand up to, can’t even think about. And then you say, ‘Don’t do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to So-and-so.’ And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn’t really mean it. But that isn’t true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there’s no other way of saving yourself, and you’re quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don’t give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.”
“All you care about is yourself,” he echoed.
“And after that, you don’t feel the same towards the other person any longer.”
“No,” he said, “you don’t feel the same.”
While attempting do discover the Past, Winston will learn things that are beyond his comprehension and whether you like this fascinating story or not, there is one thing that you’ll always remember from “1984”:
WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
Overall, “1984” is a wonderful novel with a shocking and terrible reality that captured my attention in this past days. I enjoyed it so badly and I was amazed with the way that the facts were told. Orwell’s writing skills turn this great novel into an essay about the dangers of an oligarchy. A must-read for those who enjoy dystopian fiction novels and for those who are looking for an impressive story.
“We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.”
4.5 out of 5 stars