I started reading 1984 in December 2016, but I could not finish reading in until February 2017, I had some adulting to do so =))… anyway I eventually finished reading it and my God, how the book spoke to me.
Winston Smith is a normal human like you, he wanted to live, fall in love, feel, and not live a routine life of admiring the Big Brother all his like, he wanted to be able to make choices without fear of being watched or monitored by anybody etc. he had so much hope, but he was just one person against the collective strength of Big Brother.
On a broader note, I in so many instances felt like the book was speaking to me about the present world/society/community we live in. At first I felt like this is just like it happens in countries like China and Russia, Saudi Arabia etc. but as I kept on reading I realised that the concept of Big Brother is not limited to countries where Human Rights and Free Speech are not allowed, even in countries with booming Democracy we still have cases of government spying on it citizens and also shutting such citizens down when they say things that may go against the agenda of the government… even America the poster child for democracy and “right to privacy” spies on its citizens.
I felt sad that the love between Winston and Julia had to be destroyed because Big Brother is the only thing to be loved in Oceania…For a moment I was also sold that O’Brien was part of a resistance against Big Brother but alas, just like Winston I was wrong in thinking he could not have been playing Winston all along, but immediately Winston and Julia were caught and taken to the “Ministry of Love” to be tortured and punished; I finally realised that O’Brien elaborately played Winston all along.
My best quote (which I am paraphrasing below by the way) in the book was:
there are three groups of people in this society, The High(elites), The Middle(the middle class) and The Low (the lower class called ‘Proles’ in the book). Whenever there is a revolution, The Middle will always get The Low to support the struggle in order to successfully dethrone The High from power, however whenever there is a change in power with The Middle in power as the new High and the former Highs as the new Middle, The Lows is the only group whose position does not change… and the Middle never does anything to improve the position of the Low even though without them they would never get to power…
This quote resonated with me in so many ways because in ‘most cases’, this is exactly how democracy ‘works’, and a recent example of this is the 2016 US election where those who have been used to kick out the Democrats from the White House are starting to see that Trump used them to get to power, and he is not going to do what will benefit them but what will benefit his own fellow rich one percent.
We have different systems of government operated everywhere. We have Democracy, what look like Democracy and we also have communism which is not as common as it was between the 40s and 70s, but we do have these systems of government and this book in a subtle way showed me that no matter the nomenclature or terminology those in power (in most societies, the politicians or political elites) may decide to call the system they run, and fall over one another to tell us their system is better than the other, they are deeply the same with the same goal of getting political power and holding on to this same power for as long as they wish. But of course, the system that brought a political party into power is invariably used to kick it out the same political party from power in a democracy, which is kind of like the selling point of the democratic tenets.
In any case, this book was a good read for me. I must confess that this book has a similarity to one of my favourite movies ‘V for Vendetta’, except in this movie, the party was challenged and taken down by an ‘idea’ as opposed to a person.
I have been looking forward to reading it for a long time, and now that I have done so, I can cross it off my “Books to Read Bucket list!”.