Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)

George Orwell’s great Novel (as opposed to the “Fairy Story” entitled ‘Animal Farm’) is an intricate, incisive, and terrifying warning against the dangers of blind obedience and the quiet tolerance of unacceptable changes.  It makes absolutely no attempt to moralize, and that’s exactly why it’s so scary…the story is told in a matter-of-fact way that suggests a recital of facts, and nothing more.

That’s not to say that Orwell wasn’t trying to make a point…he most certainly was.  But unlike Aldous Huxley before him and many others after him, he realizes that to inject his own personal feelings into the story explicitly serves only to push the novel towards exactly that which it is objecting to – Propaganda.  The characters are laid out, the rather complicated world is created, and the story unfolds.  It is neither good nor bad…it simply is.  In NOT trying to generate sympathy for his characters or his cause, Orwell succeeds in doing both.

In a similar fashion to ‘Hagakure’, it seems that Orwell is writing in a way that is the limit of what can be understood by most people.  An overly intellectual treatment would serve no more useful purpose, and since the message of non-conformity and freedom of thought/expression/ideas is meant for everyone, it is written for everyone to understand.  You can heed it or you can ignore it…Orwell doesn’t seem to be particularly hopeful it will do any good, and I would tend to agree with him.

Grade: A+