First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written. (Source: Goodreads)
A couple of days ago, I learned that George Orwell is actually a pseudonym. I’ve encountered his name and his works – Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Burmese Days, among others – countless of times in many must-read lists but I never knew that it was a pseudonym used by Eric Arthur Blair. Had I not looked up his name in Goodreads, I would have been kept in the dark.
My countless encounters with his name and his works naturally piqued my interest. Chief among his works that I was curious of was Nineteen Eighty-Four. If my memory serves me right, I first read of this book when I was reading my first Haruki Murakami, 1Q84. I also kept reading and hearing that this book is a seminal work, basically a pillar, of the dystopian social science fiction genre. Admittedly, it is a genre that I have rarely immersed in, except perhaps for the young adult versions in Chaos Walking Trilogy, and Divergent Trilogy. By immersing in Nineteen Eighty-Four, I am hoping to expand my reading horizon.
Nineteen Eighty-Four was, unsurprisingly, in the year 1984. The once- mighty Great Britain has been converted into a province of Oceania, one of three totalitarian super states that dictate world politics. The novel’s primary protagonist is Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party working at the Ministry of Truth. The Ministry of Truth is one of “four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of the government was divided”. The Ministry of Truth is concerned with news, entertainment, education and the fine arts.
I haven’t made that significant of a progress yet as I have been busy with work this past week. However, I made enough of a progress to get a feel of the story and how it is going to flow. Big Brother’s ominous and looming presence already made an impression on me. The novel’s mantra is “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
Thankfully, contrary to expectation, the narrative was easier to fathom and appreciate. Orwell’s/Blair’s writing, although bleak at times, owing perhaps to the atmosphere that hovered above the story, was easier to follow compared to the other dystopian narrative that I have previously read. I just hope that the story would flow in the same manner.
What do I expect from the novel? I expect to encounter several discussions on politics and how it has shaped and is shaping the world. Published in 1949, the novel is futuristic and revolve around communism or socialist ideals, when an unseen presence loom above everyone’s actions, the “Big Brother” presence if you may.
With its quick and light pace, I expect to complete the novel over the weekend. How about you fellow reader, what book are you going to read this weekend? I hope it is a book that you’ve been looking forward to and I hope you enjoy it. Keep safe, and happy weekend!