For years I purposefully avoided George Orwell, having built an image of him as a Dystopian writer with a tad too much futurism and sci-fi-y nonsense in there for my liking. Who knows where I got this from, probably some passing comment on 1984 many moons ago, but I am almost glad that I waited until now to discover him. I read Animal Farm over Christmas and absolutely loved it, got to love talking animals, but I was a tad dubious about 1984, because of my dislike of futuristic style literature, but I do like to be proved wrong. I find Orwell’s writing thought provoking and easy to read; he makes me want to research his novels as well as just reading them. This has been extra helpful as I am teaching a unit on the ‘Big Brother’ society and wanted to use 1984 and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the thought of teaching books I can’t stand is not the most inspiring, so I will have plenty of opportunities to look at 1984 in more detail and really get to grips with the novel.
1984 follows the life of Winston Smith in a world where there are three superpowers constantly at war with one another and where BIG BROTHER is always watching YOU! unsurprisingly it is a very bleak world; there is little frivolity, no privacy, and perhaps the worst thing in my opinion, little access to books, and those there are have been rewritten so many times in order to fit the Party’s philosophy that they can hardly be called literature. Winston attempts to rebel against Big Brother, falling in ‘love’ with Julia and joining the Brotherhood, a group leading a secret revolution. But this doesn’t last long and he is soon imprisoned, ready to face his fears in the dreaded Room 101. Sadly not the Room 101 that has been created for BBC; although I did see an episode where Katie Price was put in Room 101 and the thought of bumping in to her in there is pretty terrifying if you ask me.