Seeming to Coincide with recent political events, George Orwell’s “1984” has found its way back to the top of the charts in 2017.
Published in 1949, the novel pictures a dystopia society where “Big Brother” has an eye out for all humanity during a time of political turmoil where individuality is silenced under a totalitarian rule. The novel bounced up to the No. 1 spot on Amazon’s best-seller list, post-Presidential inauguration.
Dr. James Lu, professor of English, gave his summary of Orwell’s work.
“The novel allegorically depicts a horrible authoritarian state,” Lu said. “The government attempts to exert a total control of people’s minds and actions.”
Lu said he would not draw any parallels between the novel and our government because fundamentally, we live in a democracy far from what Orwell depicts.
However, some did see similarities between the novel and today’s society.
Between presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” and Orwell’s “newspeak,” the media seems to be a factor when the question of parallels between today and the novel came up.
In the novel, the media is where society received their source of news of what was going on in the world. Though many civilians believed the force-fed facts of the totalitarian governemnt, was feding them, one brave man (Winston Smith), did not.
Madison Haugland, sophomore English major, said she loves “1984” because of the questions it raises about justice, free will and the myth of self-
“There is a fear that parallels may arise. If anything, the media has more strongly paralleled ‘1984’ rather than President Trump,” Haugland said. “This was what the world of ‘1984’ thrust upon its people–scraps of truth embedded in lies…A lot of Americans fall victim to this exact type of thing from the
media. Only time will tell if President Trump himself will parallel ‘1984’.
Haugland also pointed out a key difference between the novel and today’s government. “A lot of people are worried their personal freedoms are on the verge of being stripped away, but a key difference is in ‘1984’ the people didn’t realize this was happening,” Haugland said. “The society of ‘1984’ had accepted this as normal; constant surveillance and limited freedoms had become normal to them. I think this may be what Americans fear so in their desire to know what the future holds politically they turn to Orwell’s predictions,”
The people in Orwell’s dystopia socity were far more naive than than our own society- a society with social media and neswfeeds at our fingerips.
Natalie Carter, sophomore English major, said there is a resemblance between the novel and today’s government as a whole.
“The novel explores the idea of power in government and how exactly the balance between what ‘really’ happens or what should happen is somewhat opposite of what does occur,” Carter said. “People in America today find correlations between ‘1984’ and their own skepticism toward the government, whether that be Trump in particular or just the government as a whole,”
Though some see a likeness between the novel and today’s government, resemblences are not cofirmed to be accurate.
Whether the parallels are valid or not, “1984” is a classic story that shows how corruption in government can affect society.
As of Feb. 9, “1984” sits at the No. 3 spot on Amazon’s bestseller list, but does not make an appearance on the New York Times’ list.