In the year 1949, English author George Orwell published the classic dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1984) and since then, the plot of the novel has always been regarded as a classic both in content, plot and style.
Now, after sixty-eight years since the novel’s release, this dystopian novel is once again a best-seller and has reached number six on “Amazon’s Best Seller” list as of Tuesday morning, after Trump completed his 5th day as US President.
The “Big Brother” technique centres the novel in a futuristic state under totalitarian rule. It shows the impact of an omnipresent government surveillance system, and its use of propaganda, in order to enforce the orthodox beliefs of the most powerful leader, known as the “Big Brother”.
With phrases such as “Double Think,” “Newspeak” and “Thought Crime”, Orwell portrays a government that suppresses the truth as well as demonstrating how the truth of the past can be altered and rewritten at any given time.
The novel found its newly rediscovered popularity after Trump’s senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, used the term “alternative facts” in an interview on the previous Sunday; to which the British Historian, and writer of Orwell’s biography, Peter Stansky stated to be very “Orwellian and Newspeak”.
However, to be clear, “Newspeak” is a language of the state used by the government to suppress the public’s views and thoughts, as written in “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
The novels’ protagonist, Winston Smith, works for a government propaganda unit named the “Ministry of Truth”, where not-so-convenient news stories are terminated into a “memory hole”. Orwell actually attempted to show various situations in which this kind of government control can play with the truth.
The above shows how Stansky can clearly see traces of Orwell’s concept in Trump’s false claims of “voter fraud” and the huge “inauguration crowd gathering”; to which Stansky reacted – “The question is, when somebody is looking that up 10, 20 years from now, will they say, ‘Oh yes, there were more people at the inauguration,’ because Trump said so?” He also cited the famous party slogan of “1984”, “Who controls the past, controls the future.”
As unsettling as it may seem, Peter Stansky believes that the novel was actually a warning to the Western World about growing totalitarianism. Thus, the increasing interest of people wanting to read the book seems greatly like a response to Trump’s efforts to manipulate old facts, days after he was sworn in as the 45th US President.
Stansky believes that Trump’s presidency has managed to spark fear among the US citizens and, as such, people can find great relevance in Orwell’s novel due to the same reasons. The way in which Trump deploys his language, which infuriates people, Stansky believes shows how Trump’s way of speaking clearly obscures the truth and does not allow any degrees of specificity.
Although, this is not the first time Orwell’s book has touched upon a new level of popularity. In the year 2013, the book was highly desired after whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, revealed facts about the extent of U.S. surveillance operations. In the book “1984,” there are moments in which it is evident that the government is keeping a constant watch over its citizens, in order to spot potential threats to the state.
The oppressive world of “1984” is slowly creeping its way back in to today’s politics and as such, it is somewhat surprising to see the novel’s ten thousand percent sales increase.
The publicity director of Penguin USA, Craig Burke, has said that the publishers is considering a further reprint and has ordered 75000 new copies of the book to be released that same week. According to Mr. Burke, there has been a huge bump in sales as the book has reached an almost 9500 percent increase in its sales.