Graphic by Christy Knudson
With the newfound boredom that the shelter-in-place order has brought, new books have been difficult to get ahold of. While modern technology allows for ebooks, kindle versions, and audiobooks, nothing beats the feeling of a real book. So while libraries are closed, the cheapest option is to browse the options at home. What a better book to brave a shelf than a classic? George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the most relevant, suspenseful, and entertaining classics. Many students read it as part of their school curriculum, including myself, but it’s by far one of the most engaging options amongst the drags.
Published in 1949, Orwell wrote of a futuristic, nightmarish world of 1984 United Kingdom, under totalitarianism rule. It was relevant at the time period it was written, and still relevant today, as ideals such as communism and totalitarianism are still being discussed.
Imagine a dystopia where the ruler is always watching, and always listening. One wrong move and you are “vaporized.” All traces of you disappear and people are expected to forget your existence entirely. Big Brother rules over Oceania, where any hint of disobedience to him can be detected by various regulators, such as the Thought Police.
One poor man, Winston Smith, struggles to find himself in a world where there is no such thing as identity. He has little memory of his family, but he does know this: Big Brother is not as perfect as he seems. Working in his government job, he is ordered to delete evidence of vaporized people and create cover-up stories of the past, where he discovers some secrets behind Big Brother.
There’s controversy surrounding whether this book deserves its high praises. As a fan of suspense, mystery, and a good dystopia, this book could not better fit my liking. Since reading Orwell’s Animal Farm my freshman year, I’ve wanted to read this book – and I shouldn’t have waited so long! While the book can be slow at times, the climax and ending of the novel make up for the boring aspects. I physically squirmed in my seat at times, but couldn’t put the book down.