Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thoughts on 1984

It's difficult to summarise one's thoughts about a book like 1984. It has influenced generations and has been interpreted by each differently. There have been scores of novels and movies (and even video games, remember Half Life?) which have drawn inspiration directly or indirectly from it.

At the outset, it must be said that this dystopian novel is a fantastic read. Even when you ignore the philosophy of it all, simply as a novel this is pretty amazing. Of course, once one delves deeper, there is a thoroughly intriguing and might I add, highly thought provoking, take on modern societies and power regimes and where they're headed. One may not agree with every conclusion the author comes up with but few can dispute the relevance of the book even to this day (the picture of the North Korean defector with a copy of 1984 in the streets of South Korea, "Nothing to Envy" by Barbara Demick, immediately comes to mind). Rulers, regimes and governments have since time immemorial been ruthless against the proletariat. And what's extremely uncomfortable and perplexing is the fact that even to this day, around the world, the exploitation of the poorest of the poor is continuing. Somehow we are still stuck with the medieval notions of the higher, middle and lower classes, in one form or the other. And therefore, much to my personal dismay, Orwell's books, especially Animal Farm and 1984 continue to be relevant rather than simply being important works of literature.

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