In the shadow of Big Brother

Something from The Age for those who are (hopefully) revising George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The novel 1984 resonates long after the year has passed.

IT HAS been exactly 30 years since I studied George Orwell’s political satire 1984 for my year 12 certificate. In 1976, I was mesmerised but not wholly convinced by the idea that government control, when pushed to its limits, could produce a society such as Winston’s Oceania.

And yet the year in question, although long since passed, remains in our lexicon, no longer as an abstract idea but as a perpetual warning on how effortlessly democracy can transform into autocracy if our vigilance is not maintained.

Sent to Spain in 1936 to report on the civil war between the communist, socialist republic and Franco’s fascist military, Orwell was deeply disturbed by the lengths a government would go to in order to eradicate class distinctions.

Communism, initially idealised by middle-class intellectuals in the West (happily oblivious to the fact that their comfortable way of life was often dependent on the suffering and poverty of a working class), became Orwell’s central theme in his collection of dystopic writings including 1984 and Animal Farm.

Read the rest here.

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