Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
The novel 1984 is a dystopian novel written by Eric Arthur Blair under the pen name George Orwell. Most of Eric Arthur Blair’s other works were political works such as Animal farm referencing communism. This book was a warning about totalitarian society, as well as a classic that everyone should read.
The main character in this novel is a man named Winston. He is a member of “the party” which collectively controls Oceania, with Oceania being super county that makes up a third of the world. Winston works at the ministry of truth which is one of four ministries including the ministry of love, the ministry of peace, and the ministry of plenty. Every day Winston goes to work and is given a list of items to “fix”. All day he goes down the lists and changes items in recorded history to coincide with whatever the party is currently saying. While he is constantly being told that everything is fine, Winston knows something isn’t. Although all records before the party have been erased, he somehow feels like things weren't always that way as he expresses in the his diary when he says “To the past, or to the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from the Age of the Thought Police, from a dead man... greetings.”
One of the main themes in 1984 is the thought of “big brother” always watching. With telescreens at every corner that can record your every movement and word, as well as the thought police who could and are constantly watching without anyone ever knowing. At the time it seems impossible to be under constant surveillance in the way described in the novel. However with all of the surveillance technology and cameras everywhere its now becoming a significant possibility. For example: the laptop that I am typing this on has a camera on it as well as microphones, and so does the thirty other laptops in this room with me. So if someone really wanted to they could see this whole room. Also I own a drone that has a camera on it that I could use to see almost anywhere. If an average civilian has access to this technology, what could the government do. One common misconception about 1984 is that it was written about the past. One thing that is very important to understanding the novel is knowing that it was written in 1949. This makes the setting of 1984 is in the near future rather than past. At that time surveillance to this extent seemed impossible.
The structure of this book had a few things significant about it. While most of the book has pretty basic structure there was a large section where Winston is reading a book that has more of a textbook like format. This section can be pretty monotonous although it does have lots of really interesting information on the politics of the book such as their wars and the other super continents. These provide lots of insight into the inner workings of the party that you would not be able to find otherwise, even if it is pretty boring. None of the information in that section is vital to the story, so it could be skipped if it seemed too boring. Also as time goes on it becomes more and more applicable especially with more and more surveillance technology and laws to regulate them.