The Orwell we never knew

1984 is Orwell’s most famous book. The heart of the debates on Orwell from both right and left revolve around this work. Whereas the right has grasped hold of it as a convenient tool to hammer the left about socialism, some on the left have held it up as a piece of Trotskyist, anti-Stalinist fiction. Orwell himself intended a powerful warning against totalitarianism in both Britain and the Soviet Union. The controversies are not clear-cut, and 1984 is only a partly successful novel.

The lead character in 1984 is Winston Smith, living in futuristic, totalitarian Oceania, a superpower alternately at permanent war with the world’s other two powers, Eurasia and Eastasia. Winston lives under the constant surveillance of Big Brother and the Thought Police, for any word or thought against the system. He works in the propaganda department, the Ministry of Truth, rewriting the past. From the Ministry comes one of the most famous of all Orwellian slogans in which Orwell brilliantly captures the “doublethink” of totalitarian mind-control: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”

via The Orwell we never knew.

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