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1984: A Novel is a work of dystopian science fiction and literary political fiction by English novelist George Orwell. It explores the concept of totalitarianism and underlines Orwell’s opposition to the same.
The novel is set in the fictional province of Oceania, one of the most powerful states in the world. It is a state ruled by The Party, a government that espouses totalitarianism. Under the leadership of a man named Big Brother, The Party tyrannizes the populace, defending its ideology as favouring the greater good. It is divided into fours ministries, which are used to control the people in various ways, from monitoring their public and private lives to reducing rationing, from manipulating information to countering dissension in torturous ways.
The protagonist is a man named Winston Smith, who works for The Party in the Ministry of Truth. He has the job of manipulating newspaper articles to ensure that every piece of historical information is in alignment with his party’s ideologies. He secretly harbours the desire to rebel against The Party, a desire he acts upon by keeping a record of his dissenting views on the totalitarian government.
His secret betrayal eventually comes to light, leaving his life at the mercy of The Party. His illicit affair with a young mechanic named Julia forms an important part of the plot.
The novel highlights themes like nationalism, censorship, sexual repression, constant government surveillance, public mind control, oppression of individuality, all of which are highly applicable to the 21st century political scenario. Seen from the perspective of the modern world, the manner in which Orwell’s prophetic vision has come to life is highly convincing and disturbing.
First published in 1949, its premise and principles have become increasingly relevant in modern times. The book has been adapted for film, theatre, music, radio, video games, comics, and other works of literature.
About the author :-
George Orwell was an English author, journalist, and literary critic.
He wrote various novels, narrative documentaries, essays, newspaper columns, and book reviews. His written works include Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Homage To Catalonia, Coming Up For Air, The Clergyman’s Daughter, and The Road To Wigan Pier.
His writing often focused on socio-political themes as well as experiences from his career as a journalist. Distinctly marked by lucidity, intelligence, and wit, it explored subjects like totalitarianism, social injustice, and democratic socialism. Over the years, several words and phrases coined by him have ingrained themselves in popular and political culture.
Orwell was born as Eric Arthur Blair on June 25, 1903, in Motihari, Bihar, India. He attended the St, Cyprian’s School East Sussex, and later Wellington and Eton universities. He worked for the Indian Imperial Police in Burma for several years. Subsequently, a severe illness forced him to take time off from his official duties to recuperate. It was during this time that he decided to quit his job and pursue a career in writing. In the years that followed, he shifted base from England to France, and back to England again. He also took up a variety of jobs to keep himself financially afloat. His efforts to fight in the Spanish Civil War ended when he became severely wounded from a gunshot. His subsequent writing efforts bore fruit and turned him into a prominent figure worldwide. Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy in 1936, and a few years after her death, he married Sonia Bromwell. He passed away in January, 1950, survived by his widow, Sonia and his son, Richard.