Review by Shwetha H S
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Anthem is another offering from Alice Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum a.k.a Ayn Rand, the same author who gave us The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Readers who like, or at least read 1984 by George Orwell, can instantly relate to Anthem.
Anthem is set in the world of far future, where men and women don’t have a name but are designated a pseudo-right with a number as their names, where people don’t have a separate house for themselves and live in huge dormitories, where in the name of equality and justice, humans have denied themselves the right to live the way they want to. Equality 7-2521 is a promising young man who deserves and is talented but is given the work of a street sweeper during the distribution of youth to different employment. He chances upon an undiscovered underground place from the Unmentionable Times i.e., our current time. During the great shift, people completely abandoned all the technology, including electricity, and are relearning and rediscovering everything from the scratch. Equality 7-2521 falls in love with Liberty 5-3000, a beautiful maiden assigned to work in the farms. In this world, it is forbidden to fall in love with anyone because it is against the rules to prefer one person more than others in the world of equality. Both Equality 7-2521 and Liberty 5-3000 know they love each other but are unable to express their feelings as it is forbidden to use words ‘I’ and ‘love’, and talk about feelings. Quality 7-2521 finds about electricity from the undiscovered underground place and goes out to share the knowledge with the designated scholars. After listening to him, the designated scholars demand his arrest and death because a designated street sweeper thinks he is superior to the designated scholars. What does he do now? If he is arrested and killed, what happens to Liberty 5-3000? Hang in there! You can find out by reading Anthem by Ayn Rand.
While reading Anthem, initially it is difficult to understand whether Equality 7-2521 is only one person or a group of people. That is the trick of Ayn Rand’s narration. That narration of hers helps to make the reader understand the plight of humans in this dystopian world. It is difficult to find any bad point about Anthem even just to mention here.
If 1984 by George Orwell was not depressing enough for you and if it did not scare you enough to worry about the world you will leave for your future generations, do read Anthem by Ayn Rand. It will make you cry yourself sleep.
Review by Shwetha H S
Author: George Orwell
Imprint: Adarsh Books
ISBN Number: 8187138378
Genre: Classic, Dystopian Fiction
The author of 1984, George Orwell, has many works to his name but was best known for the satire Animal Farm and dystopian novel 1984. His works are inspired by real life and politics around him and the world.
1984 is about the dystopian England called Oceania that literally controls the lives of every citizen. Oceania is run by the Party headed by the Big Brother. The Party controls the thoughts, food, activities, education and even the history. Newspeak, a retard of English, is used by citizens, and it is implemented to curb the thoughts of the people and avoid them turning against the Party. Sexual urges are curbed, natural instincts are cut, thoughts of betraying the Party is severely punished. Children are taught to turn their parents to the Thought Police if they find any clue of betrayal. The history is erased and rewritten as per the Party’s convenience to appease their current situation. Adults and children are fed stats made by the Party. Nobody knows what the real past is, what is happening to them at present and what will happen in the future. Among them is Winston Smith, a person who is living as per the Party rules but is able to remember and differentiate between the real and reel. He finds co-traitor in Julia with whom he also has a love affair. Love affairs are banned by the Party. Traitors are said to be with Emmanuel Goldstein and his Brotherhood, and against the Party and the Big Brother. Winston dreams of bringing down the falsehood. One day, O’Brein, an Inner Party member, talks to Winston and Julia of how to join the Brotherhood to help them destroy the Party. What happens next is both plausible and impossible.
Winston Smith is an above average guy who isn’t gullible. Julia is the cunning girl who rebels inwardly but is an obedient citizen in front to the world. O’Brein is the mastermind. Goldstein is never seen. There are many other fleeting characters that are used to emphasize on the iron grip of the Party.
1984 is a well written book. It takes your heart on a ride. A must read for every book enthusiast.
Review by Shwetha H S
Written during the times when modern world was taking its first steps towards destroying itself, George Orwell’s satire Animal Farm perfectly depicts what went wrong since the beginning. The famed author took the threadbare society and showed them through his work that they actually need to cover themselves before pointing out others’ nudity. Though said to have used characters based on real life people, George Orwell has brought out human traits in each animal individually.
Pompous and manipulative pigs, loyal dogs, slogging horses and other innocent farm animals fight and win their freedom as well as the farm from humans. The initial equality wares off when the two pigs, Snowball and Napolean, fall out with each other and Napolean uses his pet dogs to chase out Snowball from the farm. What follows next is the sheer mirror image of how the foundation for our present society was initiated. Though written the then England in mind, this satire clearly applies to every land on which humans walk. It is not only about how humans treat other living beings, it is also about how one human treats another. As you read one page after another of this book, you will cringe in your place because you will realise that you have seen one or the other situation from the book in your life. You will want to strangle the pigs, admonish the dogs, comfort the horses Clover and Boxer, and think what to do with other farm animals. At one point you will even wish for Snowball to return so that the story can have a happy ending, but no, Snowball is not the saviour. This message of this satire is that you are your own saviour and nobody is helping you because everybody’s got their own battles to win. But if the cause is same, why not stand united and rather be an usurper than a timid underdog tolerating cruelty?
A quote towards the end of the book that should drive things home hopefully: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”