George Orwell’s 1984

September 13, 2008 at 7:32 pm (Review) (, , , )

I have a confession to make.  I had never read 1984.  I felt it was something I needed to read, if I wanted to continue participate in culture.  Although it was definitely a response to the social conditions in July of 1950, I think it has much to speak about the importance of privacy and ultimately what it means to be human.

One of the first things that Orwell shocks us with is that Winston Smith is being watched.  This is not completely  foreign with our society and its love of reality tv.  You find through the book that not only is everyday relationships with people effected by this constant surveillance, but also family relationships, love interests, and ultimately thought itself is controlled by the ever watching “Big Brother.”  This loss of privacy seems to had been given away both consciously and sub-consciously by the prevailing masses.

The Party attempts (and I feel suceeds) in controlling the memories of its people.  People cling to memory and experience as what defines their reality.  If memory can be made untrust-worthy, then reality is changed.  This reminds me of the replicants in Blade Runner clinging to their photographs.  Memory is part of what makes us human.  Learning and growning, and not stagnating as beings or as a society.

I enjoyed 1984.  If you haven’t read it I recommend that you do and apologize for giving so much away.

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