Nineteen eighty-four, by George Orwell
I’ve chosen this novel because I remembered that I borrowed it long time ago from the public library of New Elthan, near London, during my summer stay in London several years before 1984. On that occasion I read it in English too. Nevertheless I had totally forgotten it.
As the book shows a future vision of the world and at that time the year 1984 hadn’t arrived, what I remember is that when I was reading it I thought that the prophecy was going to fail. All the little countries in Europe had recovered their democratic systems after the 2nd World War, with the exception of Franco’s dictatorship, and the world stayed the same.
Now 27 years after 1984 many things have changed and the reader can realize that the prophecy was a kind of metaphor of the world’s new order, despite that obviously the world is not such us the novel says.
Today the world is going more and more toward a global system, where few people will control the rest. Many of the Orwell’s prophecies are a reality, such as havinga common currency in the whole European Union (in the novel they pay in dollars in London), every family has several television sets at home, the mass media, and the owners of the agencies, have a big influence on the people and can make them think which war is right and which is evil.
Nowadays the owners of the financial markets can either save or destroy a country meanwhile speculative attack. All these circumstances make the novel be up-to-date today.

The characters
Main character: Winston Smith, thirty-nine years old. A single man, divorced, who is a civil servant in the Ministry of Truth. When he rebels he dares to write his own diary.
Second character: Julia. She is younger and more spontaneous than him. She breathes life into the novel. She is vivid with beautiful hallucinations which flash through her mind.
Third character: O’Brien is a sinister intellectual, no flesh-and-blood human being at all, but the ultimate black image of totalitarianism. He says things like the following, “We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work on it now.”
There are also many other characters who are members of the Party like Tillotson, neighbours like Mrs Parsons and work fellows like Syme.
The plot, the story line
The novel is set in the year 1984 in London, chief city of Airstrip One, which is the third most populous of the provinces of Oceania.
The whole world is divided into three big countries Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. All of them are horrible dictatorships which exploit their citizens. And the three are always at war with each other. This leads their population to be very patriotic and very credulous and servile.
Currently Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia, but four years ago the allies had been Oceania and Eurasia, although nobody remembered it because the party said that Oceania never had been in alliance with that country. The party and the government, by means of the Ministry of the Truth, the Minitrue, was in charge of adapting the past to the new requirements. Winston Smith worked at the Minitrue. His work consisted just of remaking the newspapers of previous dates for the libraries to have the true news that the party establishes or, for example, it was frequently necessary to rewrite a paragraph of big brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened. These alterations were applied not only to newspapers, but to books, films, leaflets, photographs, posters and every kind of literature which hold any political or ideological significance.

People had no past. “Winston once a while struggled to think his way backward into the dim period of his early childhood. It was extraordinarily difficult. Beyond the late ‘fifties everything faded. When there were no external records that you could refer to, even the outline of your own life lost its sharpness. You remember huge events which had quite probably not happened, you remember the details of incidents without being able to recapture their atmosphere, and there were long black periods to which you could assign nothing”.
Newspeak was the official language of Oceania. Some words and concepts applied in the novel; thought-crime, Big Brother, unperson, doublethink, etc.
With the metaphor expressed in his novel, Orwell showed that he was ahead of his time. From the perspective of a reader of the 21st century the move he made can go unnoticed, but the reader must remember that the novel was written in 1949.
In his time he foretells some of the technological advances that they exist nowadays. He imagines a global society in the year 1984 in which the currency in England in the dollar and where the world is divided in few countries, and their governments have enough technological advances to control their population with instruments such as, for instance what it is called in the book “telescreen” (a kind of TV that didn’t exist then). These instruments were installed in every room of the houses of the inhabitants to supply propaganda (they couldn’t switch them off, nor put the voice down).
The words, phrases and expressions
In the novel many advances of science, unknown then, were prophesised such as the use of a telescreen for propaganda, even with huge screens, the use of rockets, helicopters and computers.
The novel has a rich vocabulary which obliges the reader to frequently consult the dictionary.

I recommend reading it because it is a curious vision of the direction in which history is going, and it has many similarities (in a metaphoric sense) with the present globalized world. At the same time it is a nice love story between a man and a woman who rebel against the tyranny which is preventing its population from having human feelings.