War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
Can I just say that 1984 is BRILLIANT. I’m not just saying that it’s brilliant because I’m a crazy “The government is out to get us!” weirdo (although I am exactly that on various occasions). I’m saying that it’s brilliant because it is BRILLIANT!
Okay, so we start out with Winston. He’s our main character. We’re meant to relate to his plight & care about him… and we do. His character arc is wonderfully satisfying, and although I very strongly disagreed with parts of who he was, I didn’t think less of him for being those things. I was okay with him being occasionally immoral (agreeing that he would “commit murder… commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people… cheat… blackmail… corrupt the minds of children… distribute habit-forming drugs, encourage prostitution, disseminate venereal diseases — do anything which is likely to cause demoralization… throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face…” Part 2 Chapter 8), and it should be noted that he doesn’t actually do these things. But I was okay with this being a part of his identity because I knew what he was up against – because he’s doing better than those around him just to maintain any sense of individual identity… which brings us to the world of 1984.
As a fantasy writer, I’m SO interested in world building. The worlds of C.S. Lewis, Tokien, Rowling, etc… are so wonderfully expansive, that the reader can’t help but be drawn in. The worlds work. They not only give you the information that you need in order to understand the story, but they give you enough that you see how the world extends beyond the story you’re reading. There are characters walking about in these worlds who readers never meet, but they exist on the periphery of the stories we are exposed to. That’s how Oceania is. It’s written in such a way, that the reader is drawn in and can suspend his disbelief long enough to journey with Winston. Brilliant.
As far as I’m concerned, everyone in the world (but in particular, the U.S.) should read 1984, not just because it’s a classic or because it reteaches us to take caution against all-powerful governments, but because it engages the emotions and entertains… and does everything that a book ought to do. So if you haven’t learned about Doublethink, Big Brother, Ingsoc, and the thought-police, I suggest you get reading… just make sure you stay away from telescreens.
*Heads up – this will probably be my last Wednesday entry for awhile because I have to go back to being a working grown-up soon. I will still read books & write reviews on them on Wednesdays, but I no longer promise a mid-week entry at all. I know that you’re all crushed.
Vote below on the next classic piece Katie will read… Also, you should be able to add your own answers, so if you have a burning desire to share a treasured book with someone (me), but have been unable to convince others to read it with you, go ahead and add it. It will give me an excuse to go to Borders.