"This is amongst the most terrifying books I have ever read . . . Orwell has no hope, or at least he allows his reader no tiny flickering candlelight of hope. Here is a study in pessimism unrelieved, except perhaps by the thought that, if a man can conceive 1984, he can also will to avoid it . . .

What is 1984 but a picture of a man unmanned, of humanity without a heart, of a people without tolerance or civilization, of a government whose sole object is the maintenance of its absolute totalitarian power by every contrivance of cruelty. Here is the Soviet Union to the nth degree, a Stalin who never dies, a secret police with every device of modern technology . . .

It is a great book , but I pray I may be spared from reading another like it for years to come." (Fredric Warbur, in Publishers's Report, 1948)

The book 1984 truly is a great book as Fredric Warbur says, but I would also have to agree with him and say I hope I won't have to read anything like it for quite awhile. This book is a dark book, yet scarily true of the way our world is heading. What does this book say about the way we live today. Are we really like the characters of this book? I think if we read into this book we can learn a great many things and stop ourselves before our world becomes that of 1984. This book really brings humanity down a level. Can our world be so easily manipulated and controlled as it is in 1984? It shows how easily humans can be twisted into believing whatever we are told to believe. In the book, when the party tells people to jump, they jump. It's not a question of "why"? But, a question of "how high"? When Winston is in the Ministry of Love, he encounters Parsons and is horrified when Parsons tells him, quite proudly, that his daughter turned him in. " In fact, I'm proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway."(233) Can we, as humans, really be brought to believe such things? Is this where our world is headed?

Today our government has utmost power, but are we letting it get too far? In the world of 1984 the government is the power. No one else matters. Obviously, this is what Orwell saw for our future. A future full of over zealous power hungry monsters, is this book really the future of our world? A world full of anger and war? A world where no one is safe from committing "thoughtcrime"? In 1984 people live in fear of looking the wrong way, because if they do so they may be picked up by the thought police for committing the horrible "thoughtcrime." "It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, . . ." ( 62) Is Orwell saying that we are dooming our future to that of Winston Smith's present state?

So here we have this awful, yet wonderful book. This book dooms our future and that of our children, but what can we take from it. What can we do to stop before this book becomes reality? What can we do to prevent ourselves from becoming Parsons, who is proud to know his daughter turned him in? One thing I believe would help is to remember that progress is good, but that we have to be careful or we may very well have a telescreen watching us at all times. "The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it. . . you had to live- did live, from habit that became instinct- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." (3)

The telescreen controlled the lives of everyone in 1984. Everyone knew that they were being watched. Here we are today, our lives censored, but not quite so closely. Of all of the things we can take from the book 1984, the most important, in my opinion, is to appreciate the freedoms that we have. Yes, it is true that we are closely monitored in stores and yes, the government knows a great deal about us, but we are free to think what we will. We don't have to worry about being tortured because we have a funny look on our face, such as that in 1984. When our parents don't let us get this Ipod or that T.V. we unjustly accuse our parents of giving us no freedoms and no rights to decide for ourselves what is right for us. Yet, in the world of 1984, the people have no freedoms and no rights, not even the right to remember the history, because the government changes it. "Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting." (35) In the book people have no choice in who they want to run their country or what time they go home at night. We do have that choice.

The party tried to diminish power by diminishing the general knowledge of the people in Oceania. Yet, today we have a great amount of knowledge available to us. Here in this very book we are able to see what our world would be like if we let power eat us up. This book shows us a world where everyone has gone mad with power hunger. If we really read this book, I think we can take away a knowledge of the horror our world would be like if power was the ultimate. This book shows us that we should be thankful that we are simple people and that we are not ruled by an over eager power hungry government. Through this book we can come to realize that we have a great world and that we should strive to keep it that way. If you take anything away from the book 1984 by George Orwell, take this; the world we live in is wonderful, no matter what its faults. We should cherish the goods of this world and build on them to save ourselves from the horror that is 1984.

1984 is a wonderfully horrific book. It portrays a world where power has gone mad, a world where there is no trust or love. This book shows us what our lives could be if we let power overcome us. It warns us of our possible future, and allows us to stop and think about what that would be like. When we step back and look at the big picture we can see that, compared to the life of Winston Smith, we have it pretty good. I think Orwell painted a beautiful picture for us, and that we can take away a knowledge that shows us how wonderful the world that we live in really is. In the words of Fredric Warbur, 1984 is "a great book , but I pray I may be spared from reading another like it for years to come."

Work Sited

Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Signet Classic, 1950.