Last year, I started a very stubborn cause. I began reading books that society had dictated as “classics” in an attempt to see what the point was. What was I missing out on? Was there really anything to be gained by reading these books? Oh dear gods, it seems there is.
I read the book 1984 last spring or summer and it took me several months to finish because of it’s depressingly accurate portrayal of modern society. It didn’t help that current events at the time were mirroring the events in the book, so I found it difficult to purposefully expose myself to more of the same in the context of the written form. This is partly because I like to use books as a means to escape reality, not as a means to have it echo through my mind. Although the book was a tough read, it was thought provoking and I was determined to finish it no matter what. It seems that decision was not without purpose.
We come to another part of the cycle where I was unemployed for over a month. I occupied my time with crafting, creating and sending out resumes, and acting as a shuttle for my family. I finally found a job in a town not too far away (about 30 minutes one way) and the pay will help me get caught up on bills. I was excited to begin working for this company because they have strict guidelines for employee behavior and I thought I was signing up for a more professional atmosphere. I slowly began to realize that the company I work for is Communist. I am not saying this in the American fear of Communism way. I am saying this in the definition of the term. Everything belongs to the company, you do what the company wants, when it wants it, and how it wants it done. There is no room for individuality, this is considered “weird” and people are expected to conform to the behavioral standards given without any thought to deviation due to being human. It is a great environment for those who prefer to brown nose instead of actually work. I find it appalling and it has motivated me to return to school in hopes of finding work, albeit similar in environment, less damaging to the body.
This situation reminds me of “1984” and the circumstances that the characters went through. I found myself buying into the system at first, eager to make a good impression. I now find myself revolting from it and wanting to get out. I pray I do not end up loving it. I think that in this manner, art has imitated life, has imitated art, has imitated life. I think I’ll go back to crocheting at this point.
I have always wanted to read the book “1984” by George Orwell mainly because I read and liked his book, “Animal Farm“. I suppose that hearing everyone else say it was a ‘classic’ swayed me a bit too. I cannot say whether or not I like or dislike the book.. because I like it and dislike it at the same time. I found it difficult to get into, but I kept on reading. There have been books in the past that I found were difficult to get into the ‘rhythm’ of, but once I did I enjoyed them immensely. This book was beginning to be on the same lines.. until about halfway through. The writing style and tempo seemed to change. I think Mr.Orwell had a change of heart halfway through, but I soldiered on. I continued out of a sense of morbid curiousity and a panicked hope that the book would end better. It did not. It took me about a month to finally finish the whole book. I am still fidgeting over the ending. I digress.
If you have not read this book (nor seen the movie they made based on the book – which I will not be seeing), then do not read any further.
1984 is about a man living in a Totalitarian society and knows it. Not only does the main character see through and is against the teachings of the political party that are designed to keep the masses in line, but he hopes for a revolution (both personally and politically). It is unfortunate that the turn of events lead him to actually come to love the society he once hated. It would have been interesting to see where he would have gone if he and Julia had escaped. For this reason, I found the ending to be very anti-climactic. The book as a whole was obvious. It is straight forward and there is no doubting the so-called symbolism that it is trying to impart. Understanding Orwell’s past helps to put the summary of the book in line as well.
Having fought alongside two different losing revolutionary armies, Orwell was probably grappling for a way to explain why the corrupt powers stayed in .. well, power. His assumptions are correct, as we already know from countless examples throughout history. The corrupt stay in power because the masses eat up the distractions that they offer and do not question the authority of their government. I found it depressing that a man in the 1930’s could write a book about the worldwide violence and societal attitudes of today. I realize now that the depressing part is in the understanding that we haven’t changed much since then.
This book is an interesting look into what a revolutionary fighter of the 1930’s thought of the future, and of the present at that time. However, if you want to better understand Humankind today, just read a history on the wars of the past two or three centuries. It might be less depressing. Maybe.
Did I mention it took me a month to finish this book? Yeah.