It’s significantly hard to write a review on such a sophisticated novel, it’s simply mind-twisting, it’s the sort of novel that once you read you are never the same person anymore, it’s amazing and overwhelming how a novel written in the 1940s could have that great influence on generation after generation of writers and film makers worldwide, it’s not merely a political novel or a novel that’s against suppression and dictatorship, it’s much deeper, therefore I’m just going to quote some significant parts of the novel:
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past”.
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct”!
“Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think, Orthodoxy is unconsciousness”! (I really like this one).
“Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth”.
“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it .. and what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right!”
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows”.
“If you kept the small rules you could break the big ones”.
“The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over the material world”.
“They can’t get inside you. If you can feel that staying human is worth while, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them”.
“The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare”.
“War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent”.
“Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four” (that should actually be taught to school children).
“The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed”.
“They could only become dangerous if the advance of industrial technique made it necessary to educate them more highly” (does that sound familiar?)
“Because the inquisition kills its enemies in the open, and killed them while they were still on repentant; in fact, it killed them because they were unrepentant. Men were dying because they would not abandon their true beliefs. Naturally all the glory along to the victim and all the shame to the inquisitor who burned him”.
“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me”.
“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better” (I like this one too).