Let’s start with 1984 the year. The eighties what a great decade, if I do say so myself. I was a sophomore in high school, looking forward to getting my learner’s permit and behind the wheel of a 1972 ½ Saturn Yellow VW Super Beetle.
Ah… the memories. We were so cool! Rubber bracelets, neon, bow head bands, Jordache jeans, Member’s Only jacket, acid washed jeans, leg warmers, mini skirts and BIG everything…Hair, shoes, make-up, earrings!
The music! Pop and punk were the rage and MTV aired… they played music videos then! Madonna was and still is the queen of pop. Being a teenager at the time, I can’t tell you a thing about the politics of the day or the significant events that formed the era. So comparing the real 1984 to the novel by George Orwell is beyond me. I can tell you what I thought of the book though.
I really liked 1984, I really did. Literally on both counts! The book and the year! I got my driver’s license that year!! But let me focus on the book. I am a nerd, I will admit it and believe I have admitted to it before. I love sci fi and fantasy as a book genre. 1984 is a must read on the list of Nerdom – yet I had never read it! GASP!! I know. I have read Isaac Asimov, Raymond Feist and JRR Tolkien… the masters. Yet not Orwell. Luckily, I was allowed to keep my pocket protector.
What a great read! I can see how the influence of this work on so many other works. Whether it is Aldous Huxby’s Brave New World (as I mentioned before Aldous was a student of Orwell hence the influence) or The Matrix. It is all there.
There were two things that struck me the most about this book.
The ending. HATED IT! I love happy endings and to have this ending was too realistic….. I want my fantasy, my dream, my happy ending!!!! Really, Big Brother won? Seriously? Hell NO! We won’t go down. Good must triumph to evil. The masses must rise up against THE MAN and succeed. He NEVER wins! Where is the hope of mankind? the perseverance? the soul? It is in there, 1984 had each of these characteristics in the book leading you through a fantastic story of self discovery. I don’t want to ruin the novel for those that have not read it so I will not give too much detail. BUT all those wonderful characteristics that make us human were squashed. I was rooting for the underdog, the human spirit that drives each of us. We are NOT a cog in a wheel (yes, I slid in an engineering term) – a part of machine. Yet, Big Brother succeeds in oppressing and beating the hope and spirit out of those that do not conform. Depressing. I do believe that we won’t see a real account of 1984 occurring in society because of the wonderful aspects that make humans different from other creatures. So there, Orwell!
Big Bro. What came to mind on how Big Brother influenced and observed the population’s behavior was eerily close to how marketing and targeted advertising is done today. We are watched, our likes/dislikes, our purchases. Advertisements then push us in a direction to buy this or that. Think about the Like button on Facebook… even our behaviors on-line all used to learn more about the population and its behaviors and then profit from them… influence them to use a certain product… eat at the ‘right’ restaurants. A bit close to Big Brother but not the government – it is the private sector using it to makes us purchase as they want us to. Think about it next time receive junk mail or open any social media site.
The many books, movies and TV shows that stemmed from this one novel. Even the term “Big Brother is watching”. You do not need to read the book to understand the concept of this phrase. It has permeated through our society. Especially recently with NSA’s activities. (I will not give an opinion on this) The press used “Big Brother” terminology throughout its coverage.
The list of just a few that came to my mind were:
- The Matrix Trilogy
- Star Trek The New Generation
- Beauty and the Beast
Can any of you think of others that were influenced by 1984?