Friday, April 05, 2013

Struggle to Love Big Brother

by George Orwell

This is another of the great novels that I first tasted as a teenager in high school. It was then, almost two decades before the title year of this novel, that I first realized part of what made it great -- the ability of Orwell to create a nightmarish world that literally brought the pages of the book to life was evident to me even in my first youthful read. The closest experience that I can recall from about the same time in my life was my first viewing of Orson Welles' film "Citizen Kane" which had the same effect on me, even though I saw it on television. This is the classic text for the will of the individual to maintain his privacy and free will, and how easy it is at the end of it all to just try to blend in and go with the flow to avoid making things even worse by speaking out.
“Thought police, Big Brother, Disinformation, Orwellian” are all words which have entered our vocabulary from the publication of 1984. One purpose of this novel was to warn against a future where the government spies on the people, where independent thought is forbidden and where people are forbidden to love. While Orwell initially was writing about the Communist and Socialist regimes that have since fallen, the novel’s issues and ideas are pertinent today throughout the world.
Orwell has a brilliant imaginative mind and the result is a book written in 1949 that maintains its ability to scare you with the terror of Big Brother. Winston is everyman and his fears mirror those of millions who have suffered under the tyranny of absolute despotism. But if that all there was it would be merely a good book. Only in later readings have I found this to be more of an allegory than a tale of the future, especially as I have now lived more than two decades past 1984. A novel for anyone concerned about his world today.
“But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

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