George Orwell’s Dystopian Universes
Chris Earley’s Book of the Month
Everyone can remember having to read a piece of George Orwell’s writing when they were in high school. These readings involved deciphering his coded stances on life and tyranny, and each held a message for bettering society. A few months ago, I decided to dive back into the writing of Orwell, and after finishing “1984,” I was glad I did. “1984” was actually published in 1949, and as it aged, it has become hauntingly pertinent to each time period that passes. Orwell’s main character ventures to become an individual in a world that is completely totalitarian and bureaucratic. Everyone wears the same thing, works at the same job, and does the same tasks day after day after day. Everything is controlled by Big Brother. (Fun fact: This is where the phrase “Big Brother” as a reference to government originated.) Orwell’s ideas about total control and lack of individuality have been applied repeatedly in discussions of society, politics, and technology over the past 70 years, and “1984” continues to be a mainstay of school reading lists. Goodreads also classifies it as one of “the most terrifying novels ever written.”
would follow. Orwell was a major critic of mid-20th-century America, and his poignant writing style resonates with each generation. So, why did I put myself through this terror? Sometimes perspective can go a long way
in helping us to gain some understanding of the world around us. “1984” helped me see my problems in a different light, and it was a break from my traditional self-development books. This was a reality check for me, and it offered me a perspective I don’t usually get from the books I read. But it is a perspective we all need to experience. I would highly recommend moving outside of your regular reading list and picking up “1984.” It’s a quick read, but it’s one every person should have reverberating in their mind.
Dystopia was a common theme for Orwell, whose other classic novels also offer statements on the society they were written for and the fate of societies that
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