Author: George Orwell
Genre: Negative Utopian
While 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia", that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world — so powerful that it's completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions — a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time
So I've done it. I've finally read the book which answers my question: "Where does the Big Brother reference stem from?" (Not that I was forced to read this book or anything *wink wink nudge nudge cough cough school* But all silliness aside, this book honestly wasn't exactly wasn't what I expected--it wasn't bad (surprisingly easy to read), the plot and characters just wasn't what I was expecting.
Set in a "negative utopia" (clearly this book was written before the whole "dystopian" phase of 2012-13--not that I have anything against the genre--in fact, it's one of my favorites,) Orwell paints a very grim and futuristic America (well, not futuristic any more consider 1984 passed 30 years ago.)
And here's the thing: I found the setting quite interesting and terrifying and I liked how the main character was an outlier compared to the rest of the people. There were a lot of quotable quotes as well. But that ending. That ending. Utter disappointment.
Let me backtrack a bit.
I was rooting for Winston, the protagonist, from the beginning to fight the system. I was so happy when he met 2 other people who were also against the system, one who happens to induct him into the Brotherhood, the underground movement against the Party (aka the bad guys.) But then he gets betrayed and gets thrown into prison. And this is where everything goes downhill.
Winston gets brainwashed into loving Big Brother and the Party. Quite literally the last sentence--"He loved big brother" (Orwell, last page of the 1984). How depressing is that? (By the way, be sure to check out my Why Are High School Reading Books Depressing? discussion.) I mean, you spend the past 200+ pages cheering along the character to stay strong and not breakdown--but he gets defeated by the Party anyways and even betrays the love of his life.
If there was a sequel to this book, I might have been okay with that because there is hope for Winston to redeem himself--but there is no sequel (unless somebody wants to write one? Any takers?) and I closed the book with a bitter taste in my mouth.
Guess I am a happily-ever-after person.
I would recommend this book if you want something that discusses a serious/grim topic (definitely do not read this if you want a light hearted read!) It's still an interesting book and I'm glad I've read it.