Orwell's 1984 is one of, of not the most significant political novel not just of the twentieth century, but in the great catalogue of literature.
But why? and does it have any significance to today (like everybody says)?
The themes examined upon first glance are rather seperate from the world we inhabit today. The dystopian novel, or indeed any kind of fictional dystopia is a considerably vexed one, when trying to relate it to modern society. We have no kind of repression or ultimate control imposed upon us like the characters in 1984. We have rules and laws and restraints, but that is how civilisation works. That is quite simply the only way in which to control and moderate a successful and compatable society. To this end, we suffer nothing like the conscription Winston faces in 1984.
On the other hand, the rules and laws (which I previously suggested are integral to successful civilisation), are often pushed too far. The tight control over pensions, jobs, health care and education are often overly controlling. This is one of the key features of Dystopia or dictatorship -ultimate control over everything which is essential to human life. By controlling these things, our governments are fuelling revolution/rebellion, which gives them the opportunity to suppress further, and so it continues.
We have not reached this stage yet. We are arguably far from it. But look at how we can be so easily controlled now - Billboards in city streets (Times Square for example,) Ipods, interactive television, internet on the phone, the sudden rise of the IPAD. Anyone ever considered how similar an IPAD is to a telescreen in 1984? It's not long before we have Ipads which can be mounted on the wall. How long - therefore - before the interaction becomes two-way. How long before people can interact with YOU through the ipad. These are not implausible suggestions. To this end, 1984 is a warning of things to come. It gives us a glimpse into a fictional, but possible world.
In summary, it has some significance, but it truly is limited. It's only function is a warning, (let's face it, your not reading it for enjoyment. The writing style is so bland and uninteresting.) But this warning is based on the 'what if's', the 'could possibly's', and the 'it is plausible that's. To this end, 1984 is not only unenjoyable in writing style, but has realtively little significance on today's society - given that everything is predicts is based on quite fundamental gambled outcomes.
What do you think?