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'1984': A book by George Orwell

By Spiros Tzelepis

A prophecy for the future of our society

In the early June 1999, I bought the book "1984" by George Orwell, attracted by remarks of my mother and my personal curiosity and love for reading.

"1984" is a book written in 1942. By describing the lives of the two main characters it manages to show how the world would be in 1984, according to the author. It is regarded as one of the greatest books of the 20th century.

The plot is quite easy to follow and not very complicated. An overview of the story is: There is a person who rules everyone: "The Big Brother"; he is infallible and powerful. Everything, from progress in science to a victory in war, comes straight from him. Nobody has seen him; he is a voice on TV, a face in the daily papers, but he controls everything. The author assures us that he will never die. The state is totalitarian. Citizens live and work under constant observation. Nobody can object to what is said; nobody can cast doubt on the system, and nobody can criticize whether it is good or not. Everyone has to obey; history, reality, news, the whole image people have for the surrounding world, are created by the system. No one is allowed to have a personal life, and all the citizens live under the watchful eye of "The Big Brother"; cameras and other devices watch everyone everywhere. Hatred, fear and suspicion rule people's relationships. Nobody trusts others, even relatives and friends. Somewhere near there is someone who is a spy ready to report to the special authority what has been said and done. Those few citizens who dare to object know that they are bound to be arrested and face severe punishment and death.

Generally it is a pretty good book, and it describes a state which is likely to become true in the near future, of course, in a more covered and tactful way but still with the same gist. What causes the reader's admiration is the author's ability to predict and describe future societies half a century in advance. Many people today refer to this book as a "prophecy" as they realize the bad side of modern societies. Surely the year 1984 has passed, and the situations Orwel presented in his book are not obvious around us, and the common reader who won't understand the full background of the story is likely not to notice them; but the skeptics day after day face situations in their daily routine similar to the ones described by the author.

To conclude, it is one of the best books for conscious and skeptical people who want to know what the future is likely to be like and necessary to be read by all of us.

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