June 26, 2008


George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four
Reviewed by Grady

1984 is highly thought provoking and is still relevant and inspirational today after almost sixty years in print. Orwell's dystopian nightmare centers on Winston Smith, a man who has become critical of his government but can not protest or even be seen writing his complaints in a journal without risking being executed by the authorities. In this world opening a journal is Thought Crime and would result in the Thought Police stepping in and killing him. The government has found ways to suppress every kind of dissent down to the removal of rebellious language. Within this dark environment, Winston tries to express his true beliefs in his diary, work for the underground rebellion, and form relationships with people in ways that his government doesn't approve of. This novel shifted the way I viewed government. Through 1984 I saw the ways that modern government is subtly oppressing its citizens and the potential for things to get worse. More than anything 1984 shows the psychology of oppression. Winston must categorize not only his actions but his thoughts into what he is allowed to think and what is Thought Crime. His personality is shifted by the oppression and it becomes the central force in his life. The paranoia of the characters is also very powerful. The children join a Boy Scout-like organization called the Spies and inform on any adult that they suspect of thought crime. This makes home a scary place to be for any parent as the government enforces its power on them through their children. Orwell breathes life into this story through its melancholy tone. Everything seems to be in a state of decay, most people are devoid of hope and those with any hope left devote it to advancing the power of their government. However cold it may be, 1984 is a brilliant novel and is necessary in its negativity.

Librarian's notes:

An online comic version of 1984
List of online Orwell resources
Grady's review of Animal Farm

For the ordinary man is passive. Within a narrow circle (home life, and perhaps the trade unions or local politics) he feels himself master of his fate, but against major events he is as helpless as against the elements. So far from endeavouring to influence the future, he simply lies down and lets things happen to him.
George Orwell (1903–1950), "Inside the Whale", Inside the Whale and Other Essays, 1940.
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
George Orwell (1903–1950), Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949.
Posted by library at June 26, 2008 03:04 PM
Recent Entries
The Donovan Effect
Dirty Water
The Lifeboat
Escaping the Hollowgasts
Teleporting with George
Return to Pemberley
In den Alpen
Jeeves and Bertie
In the Calais Coach
Other Web Logs
Children's Room
Teen Book Buzz
August 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
April 2014
February 2014
January 2014
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
May 2013
March 2013
January 2013
November 2012
October 2012
August 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
February 2012
January 2012
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
February 2011
January 2011
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
April 2009
March 2009
December 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
July 2004
June 2004
April 2004
Call the desk at 301-891-7259
Contact the director by e-mail