Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

A few of my friends and relatives recommended me to read this novel. I wasn't so sure about it. But the moment my eyes fell on the title of Part 1:


I thought, I must read it. I have seen this line being used in many places on the internet. It's a very famous line.

Ever since I started reading, it made me realize the effects of oppressive rule. Imagine the world ruled by a dictator so cruel that there is no freedom to do anything - not to utter a word, not to hear, not even for me to write this review, not to express anything in anyway. Then it would take enormous amount of courage to thrive inside my guts to place a dot on this post. Just think for a moment. Every breath you take is sniffed, every whisper is unmistakably noticed and to make matters worse, your thoughts are read by the so called "Thought Police". Do you think you would have lived your life? I guess not! You would have merely survived cursing your birth. This is the core theme of the novel.

It's a science fiction novel of dytopian setting. A great story - this feat by George Orwell narrates the life of Winston Smith. The loss of his family which he can't clearly recollect, his delirious mind that can't decide what's right or wrong, his confusion resulting out of madness during the "Hate Speech", all very well explained in detail so eloquently that it touched my mind and soul at many layers. It's incredible to see George Orwell could capture and describe every painful emotion plainly as though it is normal. It takes you down the staircase one step at a time thereby making the heart heavier at every step. The agony is merely out of sheer hopelessness. The depth of emotions exhibited in writing and to be able to feel it at different levels when read shows the mark of a true genius.

Some quotes and passages are so thought provoking that I went over them again and again. I believe that emotions are best expressed in words if the writer gets absorbed in that feeling or he has experienced it. I could clearly relate to this statement particularly in this novel, Because the words are aptly used in order to explain the characters' vibes throughout the story. I wrote this review until this point when I finished reading just twelve percent of the book. It overwhelmed me completely by surprise considering the setting, the plot and the characters.

Every aspect of oppressive rule is astutely covered. The fact that an all new language: Newspeak is made the official language of Oceania. This is such a language where most of words from the English dictionary are removed. This is to make sure citizens are disabled to think or express anything - a measure to prevent "Thought Crime". Thought Crime is a criminal offense by citizens who do not conform to the principles of Ingsoc.

One of the most fascinating concepts written in the novel is about DOUBLETHINK. In English, it means "Reality Control". By definition, it means:
DOUBLETHINK means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
To confuse you even more, here is the intent of DOUBLETHINK:
To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.
All right! So to understand DOUBLETHINK, read the novel. It is very interesting. Talking about the style of language, Orwell has extensively made use of double negatives and strong adjectives to describe the predicaments, that intensify the situation to the core and gives the readers the feeling of wrenching of guts.

On the positive side of things, this great novel, a magnum opus as a matter of fact, has helped me to introspect about my life. After reading this novel I told myself, "Live your life to the fullest. Because you never know what thoughts get cooked-up inside the minds of the people who are ruling the nation!" Because my heart sank seeing the story meeting a very sad end. I thought that the story may end describing the dawn of a revolution. Anyways, hope you guys enjoy reading the novel.

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