"Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell
Essential dataAuthor: George Orwell
Genres: Dystopian fiction, political fiction, social science fiction
Reading started: April 19th, 2016
Current progress: Page 297 of 297 (100%)
Reading ended: May 17th, 2016. "Nineteen Eighty-Four" was successfully finished in 28 days.
Review score: 3.5 of 5
Wikipedia: Winston Smith is a man who lives in Airstrip One, the remnants of an England broken down by war, civil conflict, and revolution. A member of the middle class Outer Party, Winston lives in a one-room London apartment and eats black bread, synthetic meals and "Victory"-branded gin. Telescreens in every building, accompanied by secret microphones and cameras, allow the Thought Police to identify anyone who might compromise the Party's regime. Children are told to inform the officials about potential thought criminals, including their parents.
Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, or "Minitrue," as an editor. He is responsible for historical revisionism, meaning that he rewrites, records and alters photographs to conform to the state's ever-changing version of history itself, rendering the deleted people "unpersons"; the original documents are burned up in a "memory hole". Winston becomes mesmerized by the true past and tries to get more information about it. In a place beside his flat's telescreen where he believes he cannot be seen, he begins writing a journal criticizing the Party and its enigmatic leader, Big Brother. He commits a crime that, if discovered by the Thought Police, warrants certain death. Julia, a young woman who maintains the novel-writing machines at the ministry and whom Winston loathes, surreptitiously hands Winston a note confessing her love. Winston and Julia begin a love affair after Winston realizes she shares his loathing of the Party, at first meeting in the country, and eventually in a rented room at the top of an antiques shop. They believe that the shop, being located in a proletarian neighbourhood of London, is safe, as the room has no telescreen. At the antiques shop, Winston approaches an Inner Party member by the name, O'Brien, whom Winston believes is an agent of a secret underground society that intends to destroy the Party known as the Brotherhood. After talking ends, O'Brien gives Winston "The Book," The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, the publicly reviled leader of the Brotherhood. The Book explains the concept of perpetual war, the true meanings of the slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, and how the Party can be overthrown through means of the political awareness of the proles.