Following hype around the novel 1984, which followed Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States, I decided to pick up my first Orwell book and give it a read. I was surprised at how timeless this classic remains. It is a novel that still resonates in present times due to its comment on a ‘big brother’ society and collective automation.
Winston tries to resist a larger power that enforces a heavy regime upon society. Having always felt like an outsider, as someone attempting to keep his own individuality amongst those happy to lose themselves to mindless submission, Winston tries to revolt against the rule of Big Brother. However, it is not Winston’s revolt that I enjoyed so much as his capture, and a lack of an exit that is presented to him within this novel’s world.
As the main character is tortured in his arrest he is beaten, both physically and mentally, in order to enforce the collective mentality that has been chosen to represent the society of Airstrip One. When Winston is left with no way to reflect his differing beliefs back unto himself he becomes trapped, only reinforcing all that the reader has come to know about Airstrip One so far; all information inclusive of written news is adapted to portray only what Big Brother wishes everyone to think. The lengths that the rulers of this society will go to are limitless and become, for the people living within, normative. Even Winston’s job was to enforce and secure a changing truth constructed by Big Brother.
The totalitarian leadership within Winston’s world is reflected in Orwell’s writing. No detail is meaningless; everything within the novel is constructed to make comment on the danger of a Big Brother society. I think this is what makes 1984 a classic novel. It is still pertinent due to Orwell’s attention to detail and his ability to establish the elements of a Big Brother character which will remain in human nature, and therefore within societies for many years to come.