The clocks were striking thirteen.
The author wrote this in 1948 and reversed the last two digits to create his title. Both dates have long passed yet the book is as relevant now as it was then. It remains the first great dystopian novel. Orwell depicts a terrifying world using the technical skills of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers.
The story centres on Winston Smith who, as a smallish frail figure, lives in a dingy flat and is a government employee in the records department at the Ministry of Truth. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. He is, like everyone in his world, watched at home, at work and everywhere he goes. This world is ruled over by “Big Brother” and Winston goes about daily life in fear of being detained by the Thought Police.
Sadly, much of what Orwell writes has come to pass which leaves the reader with a pessimistic outlook for the future. The story was written as a warning and yet little note has been taken of it by western political leaders. However, there is hope that new leaders will emerge who will look at it again and succeed in avoiding the pitfalls so brilliantly described in this narrative.
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