‘1984’ is a dystopian political fiction novel published and written by George Orwell in the year 1949, which garnered universal acclaim, this is one of the few novels that every literature fanatic has read both within the United Kingdom and across the continent, and has been analysed in academic institutions – by historians, politicians, philosophers, bibliophiles, professors, bloggers, reviewers, and businessmen.
‘1984’ has never gone out of print since then, only the demand for its copies has increased profusely especially amidst the epoch when Donald Trump was elected as a President of The United States, all over the world the copies went out of print due to high sales and even higher demand, its perpetual popularity and production has been enhanced by its multiple controversies, and this novel has aged very well, in fact new meanings and representations and even allegories prop up at the most uncertain of the times.
George Orwell is not simply famous for this novel but is also massively revered and followed for his novella known as ‘Animal Farm’ which is famously described by Orwell as a fairy tale.
The gothic genre was constantly vilified and patronised and also romanticised as the passing of epochs, the dystopian genre is something different entirely, it is a view of the world as absolutely hellish, nightmarish, and satanic.
Perhaps George Orwell was the precursor of the dystopian genre, no other writer was as savage and accurately terrifying whilst portraying and exploring the dystopian, historical and political faculties of the world and the human ecosystem.
In 1984, the story revolves around Winston Smith, a man living under the reign of the party and Big Brother. Winston is writing a book of his meditations on the current political society and its ways of dealing with the world but inside in the deepest corners of his conscience, he feels, the party is killing the soul of humanity, by limiting the options of freedom and liberty, by denouncing faith and love, by killing the sexual appetite of people, by reducing mirth and joy to a brow beaten reddish pulp and then positivity into nothing but ashes, in a nutshell, promoting the advent of the destruction of the soul of mankind.
The Big Brother is one of the most enigmatic characters ever written in literature, his devastating eyes and calm smile lingers over the head of everyone living and the dead, no one has ever escaped his eyes, and no one ever will, the party believes that to be the truest principle of ethics and morality.
The language is modified, altered and the words are limited with every new edition, intended to reduce the options for mankind to think about freedom and equality, to blindfold and fracture the human ability of contemplation.
Winston Smith, is trapped inside himself to make a decision and fight to crack his cocoon, and hence, he begins an affair with a young girl, named Julia. In a society which condemns love and reveres hate, they are constantly under the threat of being killed, or worse, being tortured to a degree which could make them forget their humanity in their human bodies.
I can’t go on further and reveal more about the plot, because there is so much going on in this small novel, so many themes occur and re occur, build up and get deconstructed, twists and turns, questions of faith, morality, freedom, and intellectual faculties.
It is unbelievable and is terrifying, the most horrifying novel I have read till date. Imaging perfect bleakness and desolation, ‘1984’ epitomises that and asks this basic question : is perfect darkness and bleak desolation a way to achieve dystopia, if not, is their any other way?
And there the novel abandons us and gives us a hell of a roller coaster ride, which will leave you in nightmares for days and days. Even though, the novel lacks any sympathy, any sort of redemption is invisible in this slow torturous journey, but George Orwell reminds us of how worse can things be, if we let go of the time that lies in our hands, the world is yet to see the worst.
It also strongly showcases the reality of totalitarian and authoritarian governments, and how many layers are constructed to give an illusory sense of the word to the proletarians, the bourgeoisie, aristocracy, and the vast disparity between the inner party leaders and the rest of the unfortunate ones.
The novel is not only dystopian, it is also an accurate and depressive portrayal of what a nightmare Utopia can be, because there can never be a Utopia without bloodshed, and ignorance of human faculties, a perfect world is denounced by Orwell as the bleakest of the worlds.
It is unbelievable and is terrifying, the most horrifying and savage novel I have read till date. Imaging perfect bleakness and desolation, ‘1984’ epitomises that and asks this basic question : is perfect darkness and bleak desolation a way to achieve utopia, if not, is their any other way?
“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
-George Orwell, 1984