Great Books #1: 1984

Introduction:

Maybe it’s an obvious choice but whatever. I hadn’t read that many books yet but this one was awesome, it totally resonated with me. Plus I actually finished it. It’s nice recording these thoughts. Feel like they actually contribute to some kind of inner portrait. What I thought of things. Before I became some amazing artist in my own right 🙂

1984

This could be one of the books that I read the fastest. Having said that, I’m extremely slow normally. So the fact that I think I read this within a couple of weeks or so is impressive for me. I read it online. Very exciting. I felt like I was actively trying to learn, open my mind. Delve into literature when I’d hated it my whole life. High school English had destroyed my interest in books. I couldn’t start a book. All the describing, the weird style of writing. The way they wasted so much time on irrelevant details. But this book made sense. It got straight to the point. It was immediately interesting, engaging. Its influence is huge. But I liked it for things that perhaps not everyone would notice straight away.

I liked the various themes involved and the way they weren’t hand-fed to you. The meaning of power. The loss of childhood’s innocence. The way we lie to ourselves and eachother. Paranoia about the future and other people and ourselves. Trying to control things to have some kind of perfect society. All a way to take a closer look at some of the simpler things about humans. And of course, way ahead of its time. Possibly far more relevant now than ever before. Unattached to any time or place. Will never date, says I.

The taboo, the guilt about love. The freedom and life it gives you. The power of a book to suggest all these things without showing any of them. Those unique images I remember that are completely different from anything anyone else pictured. The disturbing implications as the story unfolded. The darkest ending. The dystopian world in which it takes place. So calm and casual. Again, an exaggerated version of our current world. The way we change history. Eventually deceive even ourselves. Erase the past. Don’t allow ourselves to think straight. Conditioned to give in to society’s demands upon us.

The rush of breaking the rules. The terror of being found. The glimpses of humanity and weakness within the system. Our neverending struggle to have some kind of privacy. Some sense of self and freedom to express it. From childhood we learn how to behave. Getting in trouble before we had a chance to learn the rules and, God forbid, question them.

Obviously, it can be interpreted literally or as some kind of abstract portrait of humanity. It works either way, like all the best stuff. It’s a summary of all our fears, desires, our eternal loneliness as humans. Stuck in a world we go along with but never feel fully comfortable in.

Some of the things towards the end are legitimately frightening, or at least memorable in a dark way. So often I find movies and books will take an example of something which is meant to be clearly a certain thing except that the creators are unaware that not everyone will see it that way. This book works because it doesn’t try to go over the top. It doesn’t assume that you’re disturbed. It dares you not to be. It’s the calm and calculated way things take place that gives it its power. It isn’t vague. It’s clear and simple. Forces you to fill in the details. You’re the human, you bring the emotion. Most artists don’t seem to understand that. Characters don’t have to cry to make the audience cry.

Throughout the whole book, there is a lot of tension. About how things will turn out, about what’s really going on, how much we will find out, is Winston a hero or just some guy, will he give in. I like the whole atmosphere. It’s all about the mind, the spirit. It’s not some stupid, colourful book with vampires and “clever” dialogue. It’s just a guy in an uptight society, like all of us. What chance does he have? It’s a giant mirror for us to bounce things off of. A stark, powerful vision of not just the future but the present, of all times. Our inherent struggle for freedom. A personal sense of meaning in life. It doesn’t back down. And it asks you whether you agree with its conclusions. Is this what you expected? Does it really matter?

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About karnok

A legendary ninja.
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