1984 is more relevant today than it was when it released almost seventy years ago. Written by George Orwell, this political fantasy is set in what Orwell thought would be 1980’s London. The book focuses on 39-year-old Winston Smith’s silent revolution against the enormous abstract known as Big Brother, and his relationships with other people when he feels like he is alone in his thoughts and memories. This book is a warning against totalitarian governments, but more importantly, it’s a caution sign that separates the road between freedom and intellectual/emotional slavery; our world, Orwell says, is traveling on that road in surprising speed, and, soon, we won’t be able to save ourselves.
The main character in the book, Winston Smith, is … an interesting character. He is a middle-aged man who fancies himself more intellectually power than the Party in terms of his ongoing resistance against their anti-individuality laws. He is a very likable fellow, surely, for his passionate conflict with the Party showcases his feelings for other people and the position they are all in, and it is also obvious that Orwell shaped Smith up to be an identifiable character. From his hatred of group exercise to his daily morning coughing fits, he is an average Joe in every shape or form. These characteristics also make him pretty believable — he faces problems like the rest of us, and reacts to psychological and intellectual stimulus in plausible manners. Now, I don’t know if I would want to be friends with him, because he is a pretty daring and set-in-his-ways guy (exposed by Julia, another character in the story — read the book to find out about her) but, in terms of the story, he will become one of your favorite and intellectual thought-provoking character. “How do we know that two and two make four?”
The main conflict in the story is that of character vs. society, more specifically, Winston Smith vs. the Party. Smith does not believe in the Party’s anti-individuality montra, and goes out of his way to pursue pro-individuality accolades such as having love affairs (illegal, yes), writing in a diary (also illegal), and remembering the past (WAY illegal). The plot develops in this way, at the beginning explaining Winston Smith’s character and his position in, well, life (exposition); then beginning to show him making separate tiny acts to rebel against the Party. The Party, meanwhile, expresses their anti-individual ideas through a rather creative manner. They attempt to, and succeed in, supplying their citizens with a lot of psychological stimuli, or in short, things that make the citizens look away from the Party’s inconsistencies.
The book suddenly shifts its hopeful tempo when Winston Smith is caught committing an illegal act, and is taken to a “prison.” Now, if you want to find what happens next you’ll have to read the book, but I can tell you something I took away from this book. I learned that we can not let governments take control of our actions mentally, as they did in 1984, by overriding us with psychological stimuli. In 1984, the citizens were bombed with stimulus like a never-turning-off television, multiple leagues, and more. Basically, what I learned was that you MUST take control of your life or someone else will take care of it for you.
I think the intended audience for 1984 is anyone who wants to know more about the world around us, because 1980’s London IS in resemblance to our present society. That’s why I liked it so much, because it really made me think about our world today. It really did.