Working the normal nine to five job leaves little time for personal reading, which is why every morning, as soon as I situate myself on the bus, I immediately rip out a book from my backpack and read. I guard this meager time like a gambler and his poker chips. Without these short thirty minute rides to and from work, I wouldn’t have been able to finish 1984.
But I did.
Flipping to the final page, uttering the final line of 1984, left a gaping hole in my stomach. A profound sense of loss. It’s rare for a book, or anything for that matter, to leave me devastated. I just sat there, on the couch, with the book folded over my lap, staring into space. Contemplating.
OBrien’s systematic interrogation — broken down into three concrete phases — destroyed Winston mentally, emotionally, and physically. By the time Obrien had finished with Winston, he was only a “shell of a man”.
Big brother won.
On the plus side, though, the timing of reading the book could not have been more perfect. Had I been forced to read this in highschool (it’s not uncommon for this book to be compulsory reading), my unprepared mind would not have been able to process Orwell’s distopia . With the global surveillance programmes revealed (thank you Edward Snowden) is the idea of big brother that out of the question ? I think not.
You know when you are reading, mid paragraph, and you stumble across a unexpectingly beautiful sentence? Here’s one of my favorite quotes, when Winston has an empiphany, in the final scene, as he’s being painfully tortured:
Perhaps one did not want to be loved as much as to be understood
I’m returning 1984 back to Billy, my book shelf, with plans on re-reading the book. It’s definitely worth a second read.