George Orwell, 1984 Review

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Dutchcourage's review of George Orwell, 1984

★★★★★

“Novels depicting an individual staving off an...”

Written on: 08/04/2008 by Dutchcourage (7 reviews written)

Good Points
Perhaps the greatest thesis on the human condition of all time - the most brutal and hauntingly beautiful revelation of human potential both heroic and monstrous. Will remind you of what truly matters in life and the importance of liberties that the west takes for granted every day.

Bad Points
The end is so genuinely harrowing that it could prevent a small fraction of readers ever picking up a book again.

General Comments
Novels depicting an individual staving off an infinitely more powerful foe are often, while enjoyable, set in fantasy universes that ultimately have no relevance to real life and leave no lasting impression on the reader. However; the primary reason that THIS book is so effective at gripping the reader is because every event is actually feasible. Written in the aftermath of world war two; when it seemed more than likely that nationalism and tyranny would grip the entire planet, this book provides an insight into the anatomy of a distopia. The reader is perpetually aware that most of the horrific details of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia are based on real regimes; each is a sickening amalgamation of every totalitarian government from the Nazis to the USSR. Joy, love and friendship are long dead in this world; and all that remains for the people of Oceania are blind obedience and hatred. Only Winston Smith can remember when things were not so; the new generation is transfixed by the opportunities for cruelty granted by the omnipresent Big Brother and "doublethink" prevents the intellectuals of the world from rebelling. Winston's world lacks everything that we hold dear; it doesn't even have a history. Every event is rigorously scrutinized and altered to conform to the needs of the present; from rationing details to allegiances in war. Winston lives without a past, without a future and without any possibility of escape. If you do not read this book at least once you will have missed out on a major personal development.

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Degbert's Response to Dutchcourage's Review

Written on: 11/04/2008

I agree with this review because it is an absolute classic - probably THE dystopian nightmare of them all. That said, I would also suggest Huxley's Brave New World and Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury as excellent examples of the genre, not to mention Orwell's other masterpiece Animal Farm (though admittedly that used a metaphorical fable as the vehicle). Any of these will set you thinking, but 1984 could be regarded as the darkest of them all.

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