Big Brother sees you
Thought Police, Big Brother, book burnings and extreme oppression of women. Welcome to the worlds of three classic dystopian novels.
They are 30, 60, and 70 years old, but still feel like they were written today, about our time. 1984, The Handmaid's Tale and Fahrenheit 541.
The Handmaid’s tale – Margaret Atwood (1985)
You are not allowed to look anyone in the eyes; they have taken your children; and your only free time is during the daily walk to the grocery shop.
The plot goes like this: religious extremists have taken over the country in a revolution, and now women are more or less property with different functions. One of the women is secretly telling her story under the threat of death. Her function is to get pregnant by her "master".
It is so well written and the story is unpacked in a pace that is just annoyingly slow enough.
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (1953)
Our hero is hunted by a mechanical dog sent out to kill him, for owning a book. A few days earlier he was a regular fireman, just doing his job: burning down the houses of people suspected of reading.
This is the world in Fahrenheit 451. People are systematically dumbed down and controlled, to keep them happy. Too much thinking leads to unhappiness… After a chance meeting with a young girl everything starts to fall apart. Too much thinking.
A beautiful, poetic, scary book. Read it, and be amazed at how current it feels.
1984 – George Orwell (1949)
A sideway glance can be enough. Suddenly the Thought Police comes to your door in the middle of the night and your life is over.
Big brother sees you. This is where the phrase comes from, and I have never read about a society that is controlled to this degree. Our proponent Winston work is to correct the past. Old newspapers and books need to fit with what is the current “truth”.
This is a claustrophobic nightmare, without ever being violent. And as the other books on this list; it doesn’t seem that far fetched that this could be our near future. It’s astonishing that this book is 70 years old.
All the books are available at the library, and in our audiobook and e-book app Overdrive .
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