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I just want to say that I felt that giving a speech would be better than making a video because there’s really no way that I can make 1984 funny. I would honestly classify George Orwell’s work as a horror novel. It doesn’t have the traditional horror elements like zombies or a haunted house. That kind of horror is child’s play. The horror in 1984 is the scariest kind because it almost seems plausible. The story revolves around a totalitarian society where the government is trying and succeeding to unite all of humanity under its influence, and it’s succeeding. We witness this world through Winston who works in one of the Ministries of the government. He works at the ironically named Ministry of Truth where its his job to fabricate and destroy historic accounts to benefit the Party’s agenda. One day when he goes home he decides to write a diary, which is forbidden. He isn’t sure why he does this as if it is found it would be burnt. The majority of the story revolves around Winston’s revelations of this society, the lies that he works to propagate and how such a dystopia became to be, all leading up to a full reveal in the form of an excerpt from one of the last books written by a man named Goldstein that can be described as nothing short of horrifying. I wouldn’t consider Winston to necessarily be the main character, as the main focus of the book is undoubtedly the Party or “Big Brother”. The Party seeks to control humanity outright their goal being “to have the ability to make people think that 2+2=5” but they don’t just want people to think that out of fear. They want people to honestly believe that 2+2=5. To do this, they have agents, the thought police that ensure that every citizen follows the laws of the Party unquestioningly, again, not out of fear of what will happen if they don’t, but because of their natural programming. That’s one of the main ideas practiced by the Party. They work to control, to “rewire” humans to be submissive. The Party motto that all citizens are required to follow is: “war is peace freedom is slavery ignorance is strength” These contradictory phrases along with the ironic names of the Ministries (the Ministry of Love is dedicated to torture, Ministry of Peace in charge of war, Truth to censorship and the list goes on), all of these contradictory things are called doublethink, which plays a part in truly subverting human thought and individuality by making people believe the opposite of the truth. There are so many ideas at work in this novel; it’s incredible that a 266 page book can cover so much about human nature. It concerns ideas of constant surveillance, ideas of nationalism, communism, censorship and even love. The most horrible part of the book is actually when Winston falls in love with a woman named Julia, a rebel, like him, but he gets captured by the Ministry of Love. They torture him trying to fully subvert and alter his beliefs. They tell him that he has nothing to dispute the claims the Party makes about the past, and Winston is forced to agree to things he doesn’t believe, and admit to crimes he didn’t do. He takes so much abuse and torture that he sheds his inner most convictions and becomes convinced of the Party’s beliefs. Rather than kill their enemy’s, the Party converts them, breaks them into their pawns, into someone that loves the Big Brother. We finally realize that Winston is broken when Winston is being tortured by rats, which he has a deadly fear of. When he says “Do it to Julia!” he realizes the Party had won. They broke love. They had changed Winston’s inner most desires. They made him doublethink. Winston is that his previous beliefs were insanity, and with no evidence to the contrary (as Winston had destroyed all records as part of his work), he believes it and lives as a pawn. I know that I spoiled it, but the story is almost rendered moot with such a nightmarish world, and there’s so much to find out about it that I haven’t even mentioned. Entire branches of philosophy have sprung up as a result of study of this world. There’s no doubting the impact of this book. Even to this day, 29 years after 1984 and 65 year after the book was written, the term “Orwellian” manages to be a pretty commonly used term that’s thrown around, usually in political discussion. Almost everyone has a different take on this book. Some claim that it’s to warn about the possible result of government surveillance, others that it is about individuality, or is a commentary on Communist regimes at the time. While these views are all valid, I see 1984 as a commentary on humans as a whole. How we think and perceive the world around us, how we see the past, how we view others, how we view our leaders and how easily our most precious thoughts can not only be taken, but altered to the exact opposite. Most importantly, I see this book as a commentary on the truth. Because the truth hurts.

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