1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 163: 1984, by George Orwell

1984 is a complex work that has not only influenced the English language and solidified its spot in the literary canon, but also has had a huge cultural impact and is the standard by which many people measure despotisms.  Now I could dissect the Miltonics of this work, or extrapolate some Hobbesian  theory from it.  I could go on about the evils of censorship, and despotism, and totalitarianism, but that would literally be a book length project, because there is so much packed into Orwell’s masterpiece.  But for me, more than anything, 1984 is a love story.  It is not a romanticised ideal of love, but love as it is.  Imperfect and human, and vulnerable.  It is a story about a man who is alone, like all of us.  Regardless of the fact that we have parents, or spouses or children, we are all alone and must deal with the conflicts that we endure by ourselves.  Sometimes we cannot tell our problems to the people around us, such is the case with Winston, the famous protagonist of 1984, sometimes we can tell the people around us, but there is nothing they can do, and sometimes the people who we care for most end up, like ourselves, being too selfish too help.  Selfishness is a human trait that lies within each of us.  It is a shameful trait, but one that we cannot eliminate.  When Winston recalls a story from his childhood when he steals a chocolate ration from his sister, even though his own mother has given him her share of the ration, we sympathize with Winston, because when he returns home after running away from his family, he found that they were gone and that his selfishness would be the last memory they would have of him.  He is embarrassed by and ashamed of his actions, and it is because we have all done something like that that we can sympathize with Winston.  When the Thoughtpolice knock Julia to the ground and Winston does not even so much as look at her for fear of being beaten, we can relate to his weakness because we have experienced weakness like that.  When Julia and Winston both meet and confess that they betrayed each other, we see how that love has not died, that love is still there, but that both of them are so ashamed of their weakness that they cannot bear to even look into each others eyes.  When you read through the pages you wish that you could shout to them to turn around and embrace each other, because they are weak, they are selfish, but they are worthy of love despite these flaws, because part of loving somebody is accepting their weaknesses as well as their strengths.  It is easy to love somebody when things are going well, but the true measure of love is being able to love somebody when their weakness is all that they have to share.

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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