Who reads the classics anymore? Teens - that's who. Check out this review from one of our Teen Advisory Council volunteers and see if it inspires you to dust off that classic reading list.
In a profound depiction of the society of the future written decades in the past, George Orwell’s 1984 presents readers with the dystopian civilization of Oceania, where - in the words of the all-powerful and ever-reaching government - war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. The society as a whole is known as the Party, where the general population is the Outer Party and the leaders are the Inner Party. The supreme leader of the Party is known as Big Brother, a worshipped being with the power to control absolutely everything in the lives of those who reside under him. Simply put, in this world, thought is a crime. Individuality and expression are punishable by law. The Party establishes an entire language where any words related to political rebellion do not exist. The main protagonist, Winston Smith, is just an average member of the Party, except for the fact that he resists the oppressive nature of the Party. Winston wishes to think and feel freely, away from the constraints of Big Brother, but according to his society, this is wrong. Through Winston’s struggles with both his ominous yet eerily fathomable nation as well as himself and all he has come to know, Orwell provokes questions about the definitions of freedom, individuality and truth.
I find that the reputation of some quality works of literature is tarnished simply because they’re old or because they seem to be “one of those English class books.” Although 1984 was written over 70 years ago, there are many parallels to the society of today and the uncertainty of tomorrow that render it far from irrelevant or boring, and one of this story’s greatest strengths lies in its ability to give a bit of perspective on our current world. I strongly believe that for anyone willing to take a thorough dive into the loose nature of the idea of absolute, 1984 is definitely a must-read. - Aydin A. (Sunset Teen Advisory Council)