The Haps With Herb

1984 A Book Review Of Sorts

1984 A Book Review Of Sorts

Herb January 20, 2005

Every hair on the back of my neck stood on end all the way to the top of my head.

I was totally creeped out.

What could do that? Well, folks, I forced myself to re-read George Orwell’s “1984” again. I am not a fan of Orwell and had not read this book since high school, but it is an important book that everyone should read. It is not a great book and has a couple of boring spots, one of which is a twenty-four page book-within-a-book that basically seems to outline Orwell’s own philosophies and socialist ideas. Keep reading though. Even this has a part to play in the overall book itself.

I have said that I think everyone should read it, and I really think you should, even if some of the scenes disturb you. That is the idea. If you are one of those Christians that do not read any fiction or your whole reading background up to this point has been “Christian Romance” then you probably will find this book both disturbing and disturbed but, even so, I think it is important.

I also think Orwell must have been a load of fun at parties.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” And so we are introduced to the book and the main character, Winston Smith, a member of The Party. With pictures everywhere of Big Brother watching you, we enter his life. Everywhere there are “telescreens” that are switched on continually and blather out the official news that the party wants you to hear. They are more than receivers, however, they are also transmitters so the Thought Police can observe your every action. They are trained in psychology and the reading of even the minutest detail of facial expression and can predict what you think better than if they could merely read your mind. They can tell when you are going to commit a crime before you have even decided to do it. Even if you have only had a bad thought you can be arrested and taken to the Ministry of Love.

There are four such ministries…Oh man! I had the book sitting on the top of the smallest pile of stuff on my desk so I could reference it for a couple of quotes and went to look for it to verify the names of the four ministries and the book is gone! My heart started racing and my blood pressure went up. You can say that’s stupid and illogical, but that just means you haven’t read the book. Whew. I found it in a different pile. It’s not where I remember leaving it, however.

Okay. There are four ministries which run the country, The Ministry of Love, The Ministry of Truth, The Ministry of Peace and The Ministry of Plenty. The Ministry of Truth is where Winston works. His job is to make sure the news says exactly what the party wants it to say even if that means going back and changing stories that had appeared before. You make sure that there are no existing copies and/or have them all recalled, then rewrite the story to whatever fits the needs of the party. The Ministry of Peace is concerned with the ongoing war efforts, the Ministry of Plenty controls the economic indicators and the Ministry of Love is where the Thought Police do their business of correcting aberrant behavior, such as thinking bad thoughts, like there may be something wrong with this system.

“Thoughts and actions which, when detected, mean certain death are not formally forbidden, and the endless purges, arrests, tortures, imprisonments and vaporizations are not inflicted as punishment for crimes which have actually been committed, but are merely the wiping-out of persons who might perhaps commit a crime at some time in the future.”

While I read this book, with the mustachioed Big Brother watching me, I thought of Saddam Hussein, The Taliban, Hitler, Iran, Communist China and the former Soviet Union Communists. Their total power over people’s lives, the way dissenting voices were and are dealt with, and their proclamations of how their countries are full of peace and plenty parallel closely with this book. Look at how Saddam had worked himself into all of the history books and compare that to the revisionist historians in our own country that want to rewrite the lives of our founding fathers and take any mention of God out of their lives. Notice how they dwell on the character flaws that each one had and not the greatness, strength of character and faith that was required to pull off a rebellion such as they did.

Could the United States ever become Oceania? I think that any time a political party wants the government to be in charge of something rather than the individual, we are at danger. Obviously we must have laws, but the more the government gets involved in anything, the more dangerous it is and the more detrimental to society as a whole. While I was standing in one of the ridiculously long lines at the driver’s license bureau the man behind me, we had been in line together for two hours at this time, told me that he had visited Communist and Socialist countries and this was what it was like to do anything. Want food? Stand in line for your ration. Need medicine or a doctor? Get in line. Get the government out of it and the opposite happens. Grocery stores and convenience stores and bookstores pop up everywhere. There is competition and prices go down, service goes up. If the government ran a bookstore, there would be many titles that would be hard to get. 1984 might be one of them.

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Read the book. Don’t read anything that might give away the ending, like introductions, prefaces, etc, but start at chapter one, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” And read to the end, the last four words. Don’t cheat yourself by sneaking a peek (I had to cover the last paragraph with a 3×5 card to avoid doing that) but just read it, even through the boring and tedious parts. Maybe your skin won’t crawl and the hair on the back of your head may not stand on end, and perhaps you will come to hate Orwell and his writing as much as I do, but your way of thinking and the way you see the world will change.

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A final note to Christians who may have read the “Left Behind” series (I am not criticizing the authors, necessarily, who have made a pretty penny on the books, merely an idea that Christians may develop from them) and somehow have gotten in your head the idea that you will be able to avoid the Mark of the Beast and survive the Great Tribulation, forget it. If you cannot live for God now, with His Spirit in the world, you will never last. NO gentile will be saved after the Church is raptured or more accurately, “caught away”. NONE. If you think you somehow will, read 1984. Orwell was not writing with a Christian audience in mind and to what little I know of him did not believe, but there is a definite application here. Read this book and think about modern technology, GPS, the Internet, tracking chips for animals which are now being recommended for Alzheimer’s patients and many other advances above and beyond television, spycam style webcams for instance and you will see, NO gentile will avoid The Mark.

16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. Revelation 13:16-18

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I am going to read “Hank The Cowdog in Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” next.

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