Tuesday, February 4, 2014

1984 (Part 1 Analysis)

1984, by George Orwell, was published in 1949.  It certainly shows.  I wouldn't venture to say that it's a bad novel, because it isn't, but it definitely isn't top-notch by today's standards.  At the time, I suspect it was quite good.

The protagonist in 1984 is much like the protagonists of other top-rated 1940s novels: flatter than we're used to.  Winston isn't a particularly bad character, but he could be far better.  The nature of the novel causes distance between the story and the reader, which can be respected, although it really puts a damper on the characterization.  By the same rule, the supporting cast is quite basic.

I think the setting of 1984 would be much improved with a slight change in date.  Hindsight clouds all judgement thereof, of course.  In any case, 1989 or 1994 would have felt more genuine.  If this novel had fewer info-dumps and less overdescription the milieu may have went over very well with me.

So far there hasn't been much plot to speak of.  Things are building, although I would like the tension to build more.  The whole distancing vibes sour the conflict quite a bit.  Hopefully things will improve in the latter two parts.

I shall be back soon to report on Part 2 and Part 3.  The potential is there, it seems, yet so far the story has been sub-par compared to other novels I've read.  I can't jump to too many conclusions, as a lot of speculative fiction starts slow and blasts off toward the midpoint.

(Since this book is by a Brit and I've always wanted to type it...) Cheers!

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