George Orwell: What Makes 1984 so Intresting?

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

~George Orwell


My classmates and I started George Orwell’s 1984 this week.

I’ll be the first to admit that I disliked Animal Farm when I read it two years ago. It was an easy read but I found it boring and I wasn’t to fond of the animal metaphor. I was pretty dubious to begin 1984 but much to my surprise I found that, once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

But why?

I’ve pondered quite a long about what makes 1984 so different from Animal Farm and have drawn to one conclusion. It reads like modern literature.

It’s actually quite funny, I never bothered looking at the original publish date of the book until I went to my dentist to get my teeth cleaned. He saw I was reading 1984 and mentioned that he had read the same book when he was in High School back in the 50’s. I thought this book was published 20 years ago, tops. Turns out, it was published in 1949.

1949. That means it’s 65 years old.

That fact really surprised me. I haven’t really read many books from that era, but when I think about the 1940’s (as that was the time it was written) I don’t think of dystopian novels. I think of “How to: being a good mother,” “Children, and why you should have them,” “1001 Jello recipes for hungry tot’s,” or something like that. Regardless, it made me think of all the books (sans Shakespeare)  that I’ve enjoyed over my high school career and I realized that they all read like modern lit.

But what makes new style literature so interesting?

I don’t actually have a solid answer for that but I do have a hypothesis.

I think that in this day and age, with our ever changing dictionary of text speak and made-up words (such as “selfie,” and, I beg, someone please tell me who the hell added that into the dictionary) it makes book’s such as Hamlet or Othello harder to read and things such as 1984 and The Count of Monte Christo easier to read. And in this day and age, where the only book that is read daily is Facebook and no one knows what a hard copy dictionary is, it makes kids enjoy reading 1984 over Othello any day of the week.


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