1984, George Orwell, Harcourt Brace & Co, 1949, 279 pp
I reread this apocalyptic novel for one of my reading groups. I forgot how bleak it is. It makes The Handmaid's Tale seem benign in comparison.
I am glad I reread it though because 12 years have passed since my first reading and I got a new perspective on how much more the world has moved toward the concepts that Orwell harps on as to the ways that personal freedom can be eroded and taken away from citizens. "Total War" "Newspeak" "Big Brother Is Watching You" The rewriting of history, the alteration of definitions of words, the deletion of words entirely from a nation's vocabulary.
If one is aware of these things one can spot them as they happen. Though our political system is far from perfect, it does have checks and balances that still work. Though our media and journalism contains seeds of all those above mentioned concepts, it is still relatively free.
In times like these, the responsibility of being a citizen feels like a crushing burden but what other choice do we have? It is such an oxymoron that freedom is something that must be fought for.
Have you read 1984? In school? Recently? If so, what are your thoughts on it? It makes a great book for group discussion.
(1984 is almost always available on the classics shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)