I have long since lost count of how many times I have heard this. Last year I remember deciding to read Little Women, to the shock of several people I know who all said the same thing “I can’t believe you haven’t read it” Well I hadn’t, never seen the movie either, so I read the book. I also spent most of the book waiting for Beth to die, because at least three people told me “Beth is so sad” Well, she didn’t die, she got sick, and recovered. I won’t say I felt cheated though. Only a bit baffled. I haven’t read on yet.
1984 is as devastating, as stimulating, as simple and complex, as thought provoking, as when I first read it as a teen. The final chapter, a small essay on Newspeak, which I undoubtedly skipped with the impatience of youth, has interesting implications. Rather than being written from George Orwell’s perspective, in his present, it is written from an historical perspective, from a not too distant future in which the all-seeing, all-controlling all-powerful totalitarian Party, which seemed a psychopathic state so implacable and unstoppable to Winston Smith, has been defeated.
I want to read that book, in which the Party and its seemingly unrelenting, psychopathic, true-believing functionaries like O’Brien, are defeated. I want to know how, I want to know why.
The implications of a Newspeak that enriches, that expands vocabulary, rather than destroys it, that generates ideas, rather than limiting, also has intriguing possibilities.
If there is one book that must be read, this is it.