Eric Arthur Blair was born on the 25th June 1903 in Motihari, India, into a family of the British colonial official. Because of his excellent study results he got a scholarship in the Eton in 1911. There he was known as a rebel. Then he immediately decided not to go to the Cambridge University. He went to Burmese, where he worked in the British colonial police (1922-1927). He came back to England with a feeling of guilt for the imperialistic oppression. Then he lived in the labour and poor districts of Paris and London (to atone his guilt). He was a vagabond, he washed up dishes, became a teacher and writer. He described these experiences in the novel Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). Then he published the novel about the poverty of the labour colonies The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), then the novel Burmese Days (1934) and A Clergyman` s daughter (1935). Orwell fought in the Civil War in Spain, where he was hurt. He wrote these experiences while he was in the sanatorium, the book of essays Homage to Catalonia (1938). After the releasing from the sanatorium (although he was never absolutely cured) he went to Mexico, where ho wrote the novel Coming up to Air.
He worked in BBC and wrote for the newspapers during the World War II. Twenty publishers refused to publish his allegorical novel Animal Farm (in the end 1945), because they were afraid of the revenge of the “big ally”. But the greatest success Orwell achieved with another allegorical novel 1984 (1949), which Orwell wrote when he was very ill. George Orwell died of the tuberculosis in London on the 21st January 1950.
Gloomy and frightful vision of the future world is held in London in 1984. World is split up into three great super-states. With the absorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire by the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia and Oceania, were already effectively in being. The third, Eastasia, only emerged as a distinct unit after another decade of confused fighting. In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently at war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years. It is the warfare of limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference. (In Oceania the prevailing philosophy is called Ingsoc, in Eurasia it is called Neo-Bolshevism, and in Eastasia it is called by a Chinese name usually translated as Death- Worship.) War hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries, and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners, which extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal and meritorious. The aim is to make use of products of the trade and to maintain the determinate order.
The leading character is Winston Smith, 39 years old Londoner. London is the chief city of Airstrip One, itself the third most populous of the provinces of Oceania. Winston is an officer in the Ministry of Truth, which concerns itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. (The others are: The Ministry of Peace, which concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Love, which maintains law and order, and the Ministry of Plenty, which is responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.) The society, which is controlled by the Party, the Thought Police and the omnipresent television, abides by three fundamental mottos: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
The citizens are divided into three unchangeable groups: High (the highest bureaucracy), Middle, and Low. This structure of society has been (even after enormous upheavals and changes) the same probably since the end of the Neolithic Age.
At the apex of the social pyramid in Oceania comes Big Brother. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his leadership and inspiration. Nobody has ever seen Big Brother. He is a face on the boards, a voice on the telescreen: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. Below Big Brother comes the Inner Party (its numbers limited to six millions, or something less than 2 per cent of the population of Oceania). Below the Inner Party comes the Outer Party, which, if the Inner Party is described as the brain of the State, may be justly likened to the hands. Below that come the dumb masses, which we habitually refer to as “the proles”, numbering perhaps 85% of the population. In principle, membership of these groups is nearly unchangeable. Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much as will ensure that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise. Proletarians, in practice, are not allowed to graduate into the Party. The most gifted among them, who might possibly become nuclei of discontent, are simply marked down by the Thought Police and eliminated.
In this totalitarian equalized system, in which even the erotic is the enemy (love is controlled by Miniluv, it is only a way how to engender children), in this Winston rises himself. Together with his love Julia he wants to fight against the system as the conspirator of the Brotherhood. After the understanding of the nowadays world (they read the Book by Emanuel Goldstein) they are arrested by the Thought Police. They come through the horrible tortures, brainwashing, they betray themselves and Winston begins to love the Big Brother.
The appendix of the novel is the Principles of Newspeak. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania and has been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. Newspeak was purposed to make all thought, which are different from the ideology, impossible.
This book is very interesting, because of describing the atmosphere in the totalitarian state. In that time, when this novel was published, it was interpreted as accusation of Stalinism.
19. září 2007