My thoughts still wander after reading this book. I put a conscious effort to avoid exaggerations, however I will make a bright exception this time, 1984 is the most powerful, astonishing and life-changing book that I have read so far. I dare to say it, not with pride but with a deep emotion of self-retrospect and humility. I had seen the film in my late childhood, what can you expect though from an teenager? As Orwell states it, a text is meaningful insofar you already know what is entails. It was too early to appreciate the concepts, to understand the characters, to connect the reality around with the events described. It’s okay, the seed was planted and given the right moment, I would search for it again.
I distinctly recall claiming that I adore dystopian scenarios. I thought it is kind of fun to foresee a pessimistic outcome of humanity in the distant future. Some of the terms Orwell used have become ingrained in our language, eg. Orwellian, Big Brother, telescreens. Unforgivably, I took this heritage for granted, like museum art which no one honestly believes it’s alive or has an effect in today’s society. It didn’t take the words of the book as cryptic prophecies. I view it than as a touching allegory which includes a great deal of contemporary aspects. Surely, I despise the rhetoric that projects we live in a totalitarian regime, helpless with no voice whatsoever. I didn’t perceive Orwell’s creation as one perfectly isolated political system which controls every individual. The magic for me lays on the relationships people develop and how they evolve through them.
Admittedly, Winston Smith’s, the hero, condition intensely resonated with me. His isolated, monotonous working environment, his reclusive thoughts and forbidden diary, his views about the neediest of the world and the need for change, his contemplation of his mother and beloved partner, even the Victory coffee constitute a persona not foreign to me. I can readily relate to him on multiple levels through the breathtaking depiction of Orwell. One of my favorite instances, which also made me realize the everlasting impact of literature, was the metaphor created in Winston’s mind of a crystal paperweight he would have wanted to contain his cherished loved one, Julia, the secret room they rented, his whole existence.
I am dead serious, 1984 is a love story in 3 acts, although not in the traditional manner with trivial conflicts and petty problems. It is the kind of romance which makes you question not if there is glorious, eternal, unique love in general, but if you are capable of such big ideals. The plot of the romantic relationship develops strangely in the first chapter, builds a momentum in the second and culminates in the very end. It’s now a happy end of course nevertheless it is an inevitable one which pushed me, the reader, to doubt my own contentiousness, my behavior as an adult person. It might sound surprising that this narrated dismay didn’t yield a flare of pessimism. My feeling consists of genuine shaking of well-established beliefs along with a sorrow of relief.
One final remark is ingenious idea of the new language, Newspeak, Orwell invented. The terminology he came up with, such as thoughtcrime, Thought Police, Ingsoc, Ministries of Love, Peace Plenty and Truth, oldspeak, never ceases to amaze me. He explained the notion that vocabulary was gradually changing and decreasing in order to facilitate less independent thought, move as far prevent divergence from the mental state. If all the above possibly don’t make too much sense, then you just need to doublethink it.