Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday, and 1984
I recently decided to read George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. It was on my list of must-read classics. It was fascinating, yet slightly depressing. I will be reading a more light-hearted novel for my next read :).
I can see why Orwell had such a strong opinion and was able to create such a realistic story about mankind losing some of its basic human characteristics. This book was written shortly after WWII, so Orwell witnessed the Nazi regime’s power to control lives, brainwash people, remove sympathy from the hearts of so many, and incite hatred to entire races of people. There you go… summary of Oceania in 1984.
It is easier for me to compare the story with Nazi Germany, than today’s America. In Newspeak, I may be blinded by Doublethink.
The obvious theme of Orwell’s 1984 is a ruling entity’s quest for power and how that power, when unbalanced and unchallenged has the ability to control every aspect of a citizen’s life.
The underlying theme is the decline of good and wholesome traits. Again, easy to see why he had this view after the tragedies of WWII. I agree to an extent. People seem to care less and less about each other.
I was at Chevron the other day, standing in line. A young man, maybe 19, got out of line to go hold the door open for a woman. Then, after checking out, he said, “Thank you Ma’am” to the checker. I think my eyes googled out of my head and my jaw dropped. It’s not every day, once a week, or even every few months that you see manners like that! How amazing would it be if everyone had manners and selflessness like that??!! I thought, “Wow, his mom taught him right!”. Then I was instantly convicted… my son has probably never used the word ‘Ma’am’. I do think my son would happily help an old lady cross the street or open the door for someone with their arms full, but only at my urging. I don’t think the thought would occur to him on his own volition.
With all that being said; Yes, I see an epidemic of selfishness and apathy in our nation, but I do not believe that it will eventually lead to the demise of society as we know it.
For every selfish, apathetic individual, I believe there is a gracious, giving, sympathetic individual… we just need to speak up and live louder.
Orwell’s 1984 was an interesting read. I’ll admit, I had trouble following some parts. It would be interesting to pair this story with a study of human nature… maybe I’ll do that in my free time :).
I would’ve given this story a 3 out of 5, but then I decided on a 2 because of the ending. I understand Orwell was using his novel as a warning for us to wake up, but he could have ended it with a demonstration of what good could come when humans did wake up! Then again, that would have been in stark contrast to how the entire story was written. Maybe it should get 3… we’ll go with 2.5.
Conclusion: 2.5. Recommended
Until we meet again…