1984 Book Review
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
We’ve loved this classic for the longest time and just had to read it for school. We figured we would write a review for it while it was fresh in our minds!
Winston Smith is a member of the Outer Party in Air Strip One, Oceania. The Inner Party, which makes up 2% of the population, runs the country through fear. They control everything, your thoughts, job, and family. The Inner Party uses telescreens and peoples own children to bring in information about anyone who may be against them.
Winston begins to write in a diary, which is considered thoughtcrime and is punishable by death. As he writes, he realizes how much he dislikes the Party and wants to rebel, he keeps these feelings to himself as he attempts to find out who is on his side. By interacting with his coworkers and neighbors, Winston tries to get a read on who might want to join his imaginary revolution.
When a girl starts to follow Winston, he assumes the worst. He concludes that she is, in fact, a spy and is following him to turn him into the Party. Winston debates taking his own life in order to preserve his dignity, but quickly decides against it. One day, the girl trips and Winston goes to help her up. While he was helping her up, she hands him a note that will force him to make a dangerous choice.
(Skip to the last section to avoid spoilers.)
Winston Smith is the main protagonist in 1984 and the novel revolves around him and his thoughts. Winston works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to rewrite documents such as newspapers, articles, or even photos to fit the facts that are provided to the people by the Inner Party. Since Winston is the one changing history and facts, he begins to question the Party and begins to imagine what could happen if there was a revolution. Winston is a unique character for many reasons, the most important reason being his age. Unlike most modern dystopian books, Winston is not a teenager or even in his 20’s, he is 39. Orwell uses Winston's age to his advantage because he makes Winston mature and rebel through his thoughts rather than his actions. Winston is intelligent and thinks things through before he follows through with anything.
Julia is the opposite of Winston. Julia is a younger girl, early 20’s, who rebels from the Party through her actions. One of the most influential parts of the whole novel is Julia and Winston's romance. Julia is considered a wild and free spirit, her purpose in the book is to inspire Winston and help make his dreams a reality. Although things don’t entirely work out, (we’ll get to that later…) Julia embodies the youth that Orwell was trying to warn us about. Through Julia, we are able to see the difference between thinking before you act. Julia is impulsive, bold, and passionate, she says things even if they could get her and the people she loves into trouble.
Our Favorite Parts
One of the most terrifying moments of the book is when they were caught by the Thought Police. That being said, it is still one of our favorite parts. Reading this part of the book is equally chilling and suspenseful. Even if you were able to guess that Mr. Charrington was a spy, or that the telescreen was behind the painting, nothing would have been able to prepare you for the dramatic scene that would follow. The best part of the scene is when they hear the “iron voice” talk back to them. This part is just written so well!
Another part that we loved was when Winston and Julia meet after their time in the Ministry of Love. Everyone enjoys a good happy ending, but this is not what you will get from this book! When Winston and Julia confess that they betrayed each other and no longer feel the same, our hearts shattered. It is heartbreaking to hear these two people, who seemed so in love in the beginning of the book, essentially be brainwashed into forgetting their feelings towards one another. Although it is depressing and upsetting to read, it makes the book more realistic and dramatic, which allows for Orwell to get his point across effectively.
What Would We Want Improved
It is extremely hard to choose something that we would like improved about this book because it is AMAZING. We have no complaints. The book had fantastic plot twists that we didn’t see coming and the characters had realistic quality that allowed us to perfectly envision everyone and everything. Even though the book starts a little slow, it was necessary for the plot. The same goes for the book that Winston reads in the book. It was long and seemed unneeded at the time, but later on, we were able to understand its importance to move the plot along.
***Rest Is Spoiler Free***
Overall, we would rate this book a 4.7 out of 5. This book was almost perfect, besides the slightly slow start, which we understand was important to explain everything and wouldn’t change. This book is scarily realistic and helps shed some light on what could happen if we are not careful with the distribution of power and control in our governments. This book is a heavier read because it discusses several controversial topics and makes you think. We understand that this book may not be for everyone, but we would still highly recommend it!