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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book more valid today than ever, 14 Jun. 2001
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This review is from: 1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four (Paperback)
One of the things that make 1984 such an important work of political fiction is the fact that it was written during a period of unprecedented political instability. It was the end of the world's great imperial powers and the rise of a new age of politics. Democracy, Fascism and Communism were vying for dominance and the outcome of this struggle could not be predicted. 1984 looks towards a future where the world, (so far as the central character can see), has been consumed by a totalitarian regime, a form of total communism that controls all aspects of life, including the past. This book is about control; the central argument being that whosoever controls the present also controls the past . This is the fundamental theme of the book and as such is represented in several forms, the most notable being that of the ubiquitous "Big Brother". Big Brother, is the pillar upon which the entire system rests, for the party to maintain control over the people, he must been seen as being above error, above judgement and above criticism. In a system that has disposed of a conventional religion, God (the symbol of moral purity) must be replaced.
"If there were no God, then God must be created" -Voltaire
The moment Winston opens his diary begins a spiral of events that he knows will effectively destroy him. "A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act." (Pg 9) Orwell makes it clear that this seemingly innocuous act is a fundamental turning point in the book, and from this point onward Winston is effectively dead. Winston's refusal to submit to "doublethink", to let go of his memories of the past lead him to increasingly extreme violations of the unwritten rules of the party. "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted all else follows."(Pg 84) In order to counteract the rigid system Winston begins a love affair, this allows him to experience extremes of emotions, to partake in the impurity so despised by the party, and to allow him to believe that his mind is free to look beyond that which is presented to him. This results in, as he always knew, incarceration in the Ministry of Love. Even though Winston knew that he would be subjected to torture and eventually confess to anything, he believed that his mind would always be his own. But as in any culture, individualism is determined and limited by society. When everything in the society is controlled and sterile, individualism is confined accordingly. When the only information available to you is that 2+2=5, then that can be the only truth.
1984 is the definitive work of political fiction for the modern age, it can be interpreted in many ways but whatever your viewpoint this is a book that will alter your very perception of the world in which you live. I would implore anyone to take the time to read this at least once.
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Location: London, UK

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