Log in

No account? Create an account

Wherein I review 1984 and also the nature of God
I read 1984 by George Orwell this week. I'm going to be writing about specific things that happen in the book, so if you do not want to be spoiled about anything, I would suggest skipping the rest of my entry.

Anyhow, I really liked it going in. The development of what was going on with the whole Big Brother situation and the Outer Party, and our protagonist, Winston's view on how constrained he was. Even though it was slow going, I thought it was good to get a good hold on the political aspect before diving into the grit of the story.

Once Julia showed up, I liked the book even more. Before her appearance, the ideas of loneliness and privacy were merely just ideas, but once she became a major character, we really see just how lonely Winston was, and just how much the political regime is violating his privacy, stopping him from happiness. I liked that she was intelligent, and I like that she had her own (different) psychology outside of Winston, how she really wasn't a rebel at heart, and she didn't want to tear down the Party, but preferred to live outside their control. I also like how Winston was fooled by her façade at first. We see just how wrong he was about her allegiances, which should have perhaps foreshadowed what he thought about O'Brien, which was also wrong.

Speaking of O'Brien, though, I still can't wrap my head around him being the total bad guy, even though he was horrible to Winston. I kept on thinking maybe he was a clone, or someone had surgically altered someone else to look like O'Brien, or he was just pretending to be bad, and any second he would help Winston get out of the Ministry of Love. I was hanging onto that hope for such a long time that I never got to hate O'Brien for the evil guy he was, which I think was extremely clever of Orwell to do. Because that's exactly what Winston was going through. Although O'Brien is basically a horrible human being, Winston can't view him as such, and he keeps on endearing him with protector-like qualities, and you can't get behind full on hating him, though he deserves it and much worse.

I found the ending to be completely depressing. Winston and Julia do not end up together, because they betrayed each other in room 101. And then their love was no longer pure, and they couldn't even stomach the idea of even seeing each other on the street, although Winston is still somewhat attracted to her. I had to let this rattle in my head for couple of days before I came up with my own little solution to their problem. I don't like it when things die -- people, plants, animals, ideas, and love. Their love completely dies, and I wanted to fix it. For several days after, I tried to think of how it could have been repaired. Even though Winston betrayed Julia by saying "do it to her" instead of him, and then things were never the same after that, he should have realized that when Julia betrayed him by saying "take Winston instead of me" that he would have voluntarily taken her place in whatever sort of hell the Ministry had created for her. He would have endured it for her, and he should have realized that she would have endured his special type of torment as well. If it were me, I wouldn't have counted it a betrayal to use my name to stop torture in the very moment that it became unendurable. But, they didn't realize this.

Another thing about the ending was how Winston finally just let himself go, and found himself completely enamored with Big Brother. It's depressing. I kept on thinking how maybe Orwell was saying something else about not government or politics, but perhaps metaphysically or spiritually. Perhaps he was making a comment on God, which made me think of how perhaps atheist people see us who do believe in God. Big Brother, in the book, for example, is pretty much fictional. No one has ever seen him, and no one will ever see him. He's a made-up construct put there to keep people in line. How could anyone believe in him? How could anyone love him?

But God, however, is precisely what Big Brother is not. Big Brother harnesses power for its own sake. They expended so much trouble on Winston, torturing him, breaking him down, building him back up again, and then tearing him down. Why? Wouldn't it have been easier just to vaporize him and have it be done with? Yes, but Big Brother is not about vanquishing his enemies. If he kills them with their knowledge of Big Brother being a giant fraud in tact, Big Brother loses his power in some way, and that is unacceptable. Big Brother is about taking away choices. God, however, is about giving them to us. He doesn't force anyone to believe in Him, and our choices, our decisions, are some of his greatest gifts to us. No one, really, can take that away from us, and if they try to, they aren't on God's side. Our agency to choose will always be ours. That's what it comes down to for me. Given the option to choose and not to choose, but always be right by force, I will always always opt to choose. And I know that this power comes from God.

As a rule, I don't hate on anyone. I find it completely baffling to do so. I wish I could understand atheist thought, though. It's not that I don't understand why someone would choose not to believe in anything out there. I do understand that, but what I don't understand is the compulsion that some of these people have to show believing people the "errors" of their ways. The fact is this -- no one can prove that God exists one way or another, but also no one can prove that He doesn't. It's just as moronic to say that there is no God with a complete certainty than it is to say that there is one with a complete certainty. Anyhow, that's just a divergent thought. I believe it is important to respect what other people believe, and when people don't do this, it makes me sad. The most important thing that we can do in this life is to treat others nicely and to help each other out, forging connections. That is the number one most important thing to do in this lifetime, and people who can't respect the beliefs of others, no matter how ridiculous those beliefs might seem, isn't doing this. They aren't accomplishing anything by trying to tear someone down. End of story.

So, that's what I thought about 1984, and also some spiritual thoughts were thrown in there, too.