Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Review: 1984

by Layla Link

Having read George Orwell’s 1984 previously at the age of around thirteen, I decided it was worth a re-read, especially considering that I am now studying the Russian Revolution. 

It being one of the most famous dystopian satires in the English language, I expected great things. And great things I got! 

The book tells the story of Winston Smith, a government worker, and his lover, Julia as they explore the themes of freedom, doom and control in a world of the all-powerful, all-watching Big Brother. To me, the book has a slow start, and I felt tempted to give up after finding a somewhat dull, descriptive and barely-there plot in the first few chapters. 

However by the middle, I was captivated by the stories of Winston and Julia and I too was trapped in a world of Big Brother, being unable to put the book down. I was intrigued the most however, by the book inside the book: while most young readers (including myself at age thirteen) yearn to skip at least some of the treatise by Emmanuel Goldstein, the Trotsky-esque dissident and public enemy whose forbidden work comes into Winston's hands, I longed for it. 

The ideas and infinitely precise narrative of this “book” fascinated me, as I was now able to make parallels between communism, specifically in Russia, and this new dystopian world. Essentially, everyone should read this book at some point: it is unconventionally gripping, endlessly fascinating and beautifully detailed. So, if like me, you read this book at a young age, I recommend you to re-read it and see where it takes you.

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