Banned Book Club: 1984


Roman Hladio, Reporter

1984, written by George Orwell, is a staple in many high school educations.  Published in 1949, the pseudo-communist ideas it presented was and still is seen as harmful to the students it is primarily presented to.  In addition, it is often challenged for its sexual content, which is common among many challenged books.

1984 is written from the perspective of Winston, a man in his thirties, who lives and works in London.  Through decades of conflict, borders had shifted, making England part of what is known as Airstrip One, which is one of the provinces in the superstate of Oceania.  Oceania itself seems to be constantly at war, as seen through the first part of its motto “War is Peace.” Winston mentions never really knowing when one war ends and another begins.  He even wonders if it may just be one massive, never-ending war.

As the story progresses, we see Winston start to question what the government, known as The Party, has been broadcasting to its citizens.  Being very young during the inception of this new form of rule, he begins to wonder if the world isn’t as perfect as everyone is told. After the purchase of a journal, which is considered contraband by the current regime, Winston begins to write his true feelings.

His biggest fear, though, is the looming threat of the Thought Police.  Anyone caught committing “thought-crimes” against The Party would essentially be wiped from existence in the public eye.  They would be taken in the night and all records of their existence destroyed; it was aptly dubbed “vaporizing.” Winston’s hobby of writing about The Party falls into this category

The Party has one figurehead, Big Brother, who is revered as a god among the citizens.

Big Brother is a concept often thrown around in modern culture.  The reference is generally well understood, as it is used to describe a powerful group, like a government, spying on their civilians through means of technology.

The other day, I got into a very deep discussion with some peers and teachers about the future of our society.  A few were arguing that we were on our way to a similar society, but the majority disagreed. The thing is, almost every step we take can be tracked by almost anyone modern day, and a lot of people are scared of that, but the truth is, this isn’t a new occurrence.  Governments have had similar capabilities for decades without us knowing.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a government agency that is propelling us forward in terms of technology, and the real high-end tech that the government has is probably about 10 years ahead of public technology.

This is why aspects of 1984 will always be present in our culture, but the fact that we are allowed to read this book shows that our society won’t be dipping into a dark place any time soon.  Another thing to consider is that 1984 is such a deep book.  Anyone you talk to has a different view of what happens and starting some small dialogue showed me that, so if this small snippet of information intrigues you, I’d recommend giving it a try.

The book for December is Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.  It’s the first book that wasn’t chosen by me, but by Ms. Wienand and so far, every book she’s suggested to me has been fantastic.

If you love reading and are interested in participating in Battle of the Books, check out Library club.  The next meeting is Wednesday, December 5th. Over the next two meetings we will be having a book themed Secret Santa, so consider stopping by.