I decided to try a classic novel this time. I’d read this book when I was in high school and I didn’t remember much about it. After reading it again, I think I know why. It’s a very difficult book to read, kind of depressing, and filled with long passages of propaganda. I probably skipped a lot of it back then, only enough for a book report. By the way, the book is on the best seller list after all these years. It was first published in 1949.
The story centers around the life of Winston Smith. He works in the Ministry of Truth and his job is to change the past to fit the present. In other words, if the Ministry of Plenty had predicted that 100 million shoelaces would be produced this year and only 50 million were actually produced, Winston would change all the articles relating to the original prediction of 50 million. People may recall the original but when they went to look it up to confirm it, they would find out their recall was flawed. His job was boring and mundane, but it was a steady job with a good income for a Party member. At home, his small apartment was dominated by a telescreen that not only projected the latest propaganda, but also watched his every move, except one. He could move his chair far enough out of the way so he could write in a diary, an illegal and illicit move. He lives alone and has few friends, Party members do not have these relationships, until he meets Julia. At first, he believes she may be a member of the thoughtpolice, but learns that she’s not and they become lovers, until they’re caught and sent to the Ministry of Love. Like all the ministries, the title doesn’t reflect its true nature and the result isn’t happy or filled with love.
The book was written as a warning to us about what could happen in our society. There is a lot to be concerned about. Although the year, 1984, has come and gone, similar issues remain and the power of the government must not get out of hand. Big Brother is watching and it’s up to us ‘Proles’ to keep it in check.