George Orwell Warned Us About More Than Just Big Brother

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“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”  – George Orwell, ‘1984’


from The Journal.ie:

THE TOTALITARIAN SURVEILLANCE state imagined in George Orwell’s “1984″ is often cited to describe government encroachments on privacy, which is why the recent National Security Agency leaks led to a spike in sales of the dystopian novel on Amazon.com.

When you look at Orwell’s other novels, however, it becomes clear that his central fear went far beyond government spying. The British author, whose birthday was 110 years ago this month, also wrote pessimistic novels about imperialism, capitalism, commercialism, and war.

All of his novels (except for Animal Farm, which is a specific historical allegory) convey a fear of losing individual freedom to an increasingly oppressive modern society. In each novel, the protagonist’s attempt to escape ends in failure.

The theme of escape in Orwell’s writing has been noted by Dominic Cavendish, who describes “an Orwellian preoccupation with imprisonment and escape, his urge to examine human beings in the most straitened circumstances and consider their often thwarted urges for freedom.

Hong Kong pro-democractic legislator holds a copy of George Orwell’s  1984 novel this month as lawmakers there tried to persuade Obama not to bring charges against Edward Snowden. Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Burmese Days, published in 1934, tells the story of a British bachelor in 1920s Burma who couldn’t cut it in England and feels like an outsider among other expatriates. Protagonist John Flory is “the lone and lacking individual trapped within a bigger system that is undermining the better side of human nature,” writes Emma Larkin.

Read More @ The Journal.ie

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