Book Review 1984

george orwell was really, really against totalitarianism.that’s why he wrote animal farm in 1946 and, just three years later, when he thought thatpeople still weren’t paying attention, why he wrote his novel, 1984. let’s take a lookat orwell’s second outcry against totalitarian rule … right after this. if you’d lived in orwell’s time, you mighthave looked at communism very differently. without the benefit of history, or firsthandexperience like orwell’s, you might have seen it as a promising moral experiment. not so much. now, in orwell’s day, 1984 was just 35 yearsaway. so the point of his title (and of the

book itself) is to be a warning—a warningthat without a dramatic change of course, a society ruled by a government with absolutecontrol might be just a few decades away. and that, orwell wanted his readers to see,would be a nightmare. in his story, the government doesn’t just control things like the mediaand commodities. it controls truth. it controls your thoughts. it owns you. that’s the danger of totalitarianism: groupthinkinstead of free thought. the good of the party instead of the good of the individual. andpower, absolute power, is to be maintained at any cost. that’s why orwell’s main message about totalitarianismis short … and ominous: watch out.

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