Tuesday, 1 August 2017

REVIEW: Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

George Orwell is one of those authors whose reputation precedes him. His iconic novels have garnered him a cult following, who ensure that his legacy is maintained. The British author may not have known it at the time, but when he penned Nineteen Eighty Four, he wrote a masterpiece that would be relevant for every time period.

Orwell wrote the book in 1949, but it could easily have been published yesterday. In fact, in the wake of the U.S Presidential election, it is easy to believe that the politically fuelled novel was released only recently. 

It is the dystopian novel that inspired some of today's biggest franchises, such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. Orwell introduced a world we are all familiar with, but fearful of, as what he describes is alarmingly possible.

Nineteen Eighty-Four introduces the world as we know it, but as we would never like to see it. The world Orwell has conjured up is eternally at war. Written in the wake of World War I and WWII it is easy to see where Orwell got his inspiration from. Eerily, the citizens of the world are clueless as to what is really happening. They believe what they are told, but it is never clear if the information they are being force fed is true. The oppressive world doesn't allow for any creativity or deviation from the society norms, which are drastically different to what we know now, unless you live in North Korea. Citizens are always watched by 'big brother' (not the reality TV series, but the novel did inspire it, unfortunately). They cannot breathe or move without the government being aware of it. Technology has the ultimate power, and rules everyone and everything.

As you get deeper and deeper into the book you begin to become increasingly paranoid. Spotting a CCTV camera triggers your fear that maybe the book isn't so far away from the truth. Every time you log in to your computer you question if you are safe, despite the fact that what you are doing online is perfectly conventional. 

But, we are being watched and monitored. Cookies online now track our online movement and target us with specific advertisements which bait us in to making purchases. Our passports are tracked so that the government can always pinpoint your rough location. CCTV can connect your day, tracking you as you move. Whilst some of this is comforting, a lot of it is alarming. Reading Nineteen Eighty-Four is the wake-up cool to modern life that you didn't know you needed.

The book is a turbulent twisting tempest of emotion, but the most prominent one is fear. The hectic novel is enough to induce an anxiety attack, as the protagonist, Winston Smith defies all the laws and challenges those who set them. His gripping journey is what makes the book a fantastic and memorable read. 

Nineteen Eighty-Four will grip you and will scare you. It certainly will make you reconsider your daily actions and you will never quite trust anyone ever again.

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