Reflecting on: 1984

I took another stab at a ‘classic’ book. I haven’t given up on them yet. Perhaps I can use the enlightenment. This is another book on most of the “must read” lists. I’m starting to think the creators of these lists need to get out more.

That being said, 1984 was much better than Fahrenheit 451 and miles (and miles and miles) ahead of Don Quixote. But this is more of a high school ‘forced’ read than a pleasure read. It wasn’t dull, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I was pretty engrossed in it for 100 pages or so, but then it started lagging. I did like how Orwell didn’t allow the story to lag for too long – he was adept at catching the lags after a few pages and skip ahead in the timeline. But he also spent an inordinate amount of time describing people’s faces. Even someone unimportant just walking by. Which struck me as strange because he’d then spend half that time on an important conversation, or describing one of the rare action sequences.

The second half of the book did move the needle a little bit on my emotional state, so I suppose it had some hold on me. But in the end I couldn’t buy the logic. It would have been better to just tell me “this is how it is” and then proceed from there, rather than provide explanation and justification to the way things work and the reasons for Big Brother governing the way he (they?) does. When I am given the weak logic I just shake my head and the book loses me. If I don’t believe the Inner Party would buy into and believe the logic, then it all falls apart. So if the logic isn’t sound – even a little bit – then don’t bother providing it.

But the logic is there, and so I believe that it would force young minds to think and reflect. Which brings me back to my “high school” statement. That’s the age group that a book like this needs to reach. Not my age group. Or perhaps my logical mind, my political beliefs and my experience with being on an open platform makes 1984 impossible to truly enjoy.




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