Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 ...
Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.
This makes it sound so much more interesting than it actually was! There were around 35 pages of political commentary in the form of another book inside the book that was so dry it wasn't funny, and, I confess, I skipped some of them. They appear to have been totally unnecessary to the book's story line, as I read the rest of the book without any confusion whatsoever. The plot drags on so slowly as to seem nonexistent throughout a lot of the book, and it seems to be more of a string of random events leading up to the result than a story. I will acknowledge that the book managed to be freaky. I couldn't hear the words 'think twice' for weeks without shuddering, because doublethink weirded me out so badly, although, the whole 'Big Brother is watching you' thing wasn't so bad. Room 101 scared me, as well as the description of the man in the cell who was being dragged off to Room 101, and screaming about how he would incriminate anyone to get out of going there. Some of the different events in the book didn't sit well with me either, for example the Parsons' children who were throwing temper tantrums because they couldn't go and see the hanging; when Winston is walking along the street, a bomb goes off and then he kicks a dismembered hand aside like it was just a piece of trash, and it doesn't bother him at all; when Winston and Julia say that if it would further the rebel movement in some way that they would throw sulphuric acid in a child's face; the list just goes on.
So, in response to some of the defenses of the book that people might say:
- But it's a classic! - I really don't care that it's a classic. Just because it was something that people seem to think ought to be treasured does not make a difference in that I personally did not like the writing style, the way the book dragged on, etc. Don't get me wrong, I love me a good classic, I'll devour Tom Sawyer, Narnia, Black Beauty, books by Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, the original Sherlock Holmes, etc. Oh! And Shakespeare. I like to read Shakespeare, If the book is called a classic, I will probably try it (unless it's by the Bronte sisters. I swore them off in the fourth grade when I tried to read Jane Eyre, and only made it as far as "She worried me with her teeth sir, she worried me with her teeth!", before being freaked out enough to never want to read it again, and I plan to stick to that oath. Unless it's for school, in which case I have to. But that's besides the point.).
- It's a brilliant political commentary! - Politics are really, really boring, and I can watch the news or go read a newspaper if I want to learn about them.
- But you have to like it. You are obviously dumb, ignorant, and uneducated if you don't like it. - No, actually, I don't have to like it. I am not mute (definition of dumb, as defined by Merriam Webster: lacking the human power of speech), I am fairly up to date on world events (when I'm not too busy living under a rock built of working half the time, and reading the rest of it) and well traveled, and I take the hardest courses available to me in school.
So, yeah. I lied, I am going to apologize. Sort of. I'm sorry that I couldn't appreciate this more, but I'm not sorry that I have an opinion about it.
What did you think of this book? Were you also forced to read this for a school assignment, or did you pick it up of your own free will?
PS, as promised, here are the Ducky Momo pictures: