He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother. No other novel’s closing words have chilled us so deeply. But Orwell did not set out to write a horror story when he conceived Winston Smith’s adventures in Eurasia. He meant 1984 to warn us about the boot which is poised to stamp on the human face – forever.
1984 quotes pop up on social media relentlessly these days. Why is it that Eric Arthur Blair (better known by his pen name George Orwell), an English novelist, essayist and journalist whose entire life experience was limited to the first half of the 20th century, remains so relevant to this day?
Because Orwell, when confronted by the smudgy veneer of government and politics, saw through it to the brutal nastiness which despotism’s worst elements have in store for mankind.
It is impossible to read Orwell’s great dystopian novel and not draw countless parallels from it to the modern world.
One must take caution while describing the modern world and its trajectory. It is easy to throw around the word “Orwellian” until you begin sounding like a record player badly in need of a penny taped to its needle.
Orwell wrote other great books, of course. Animal Farm is a touching little allegorical novella about Stalinism. Homage to Catalonia chronicles its author’s own service for the POUM militia of the Republican army during the Spanish Civil War. The Road to Wigan Pier details the living conditions of the British working class to an extent which would make Charles Dickens shudder. We have curated some of our favorite Orwell quotes from all of these.
1984 Quotes, Animal Farm Quotes, and More from the Prophetic Orwell
- “Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.”
- “To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself.”
- “The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
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MERCH INSPIRED BY ORWELLIAN 1984
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A run-of-the-mill soothsayer would be thrilled to learn that any of their predictions had come true. George Orwell, on the other hand, would have been mortified to discover how perfectly his 1984 had hit the nail on the head.
Let us take inventory of only a few recent trends. We now live in a surveillance state, in which the far too cutely named “alphabet boys” track our every digital move. If you express a point of view that doesn’t pass a constantly changing litmus test then you may wake up to a braying mob forming at your doorstep.
The English language is distorted on a daily basis to suit the whims of the most fanatical puritans. People volunteer to install cameras in their homes and carry microphones in their pockets. The media needn’t even try to appear objective any longer – to it, allegiance to a political party has become a point of pride. War is perpetual, servitude is inevitable, and history is being torn from its roots to make way for a new reality.
For all we know, Common Core math might soon teach kids that two and two make five. It already may, for all the sense we can make of it.
But we haven’t mired ourselves in an Orwellian hellscape quite yet. Though it gasps for air beneath the flabby buttocks of media blackouts and government censorship, we have still got our freedom of speech. As dearly as the government would like to abolish it, free men and women still have access to a massive arsenal with which to repel tyranny. (Other countries are not so fortunate.)
And we have still got our clothing. Whenever you wear a shirt from the Libertas Bella 1984 collection, you’re thumbing your nose at all the aspiring Big Brothers in our midst.
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