1984: A Book Recommendation For March I Oxford Open Learning

1984: A Book Recommendation For March

1984 by George Orwell




By the end of 1984, these three sentences will be hard to shake out of your head—along with a good handful of others as well. Orwell’s cautionary tale of a future where everything you do from your work, diet, your friendships, right down to your very thinking is as relevant today as it was terrifyingly controversial back when it was first published in 1948. Yes, 1948. Nearly 80 years ago, Orwell’s speculative tale was a bit of a premonition in some ways and is a must-read for those looking for a challenging and thought-provoking story. And for 80 years, it’s barely been out of print and has struck a chord with millions of readers over generations. There’s a reason why Orwell is up there as one of the greatest Science Fiction writers there’s ever been, and 1984 is a big part of that reason. 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. His dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever and told through the eyes of government employee Winston Smith.

In a Totalitarian future governed by ‘Big Brother’ and enforced by the ‘Thought Police’, this is a world where your friends, neighbours, spouses and even your children will turn you in should you do or say the wrong thing. It’s a world where history is changed over and over at a whim to suit the current needs of the government. A world where two plus two equals whatever those in charge want it to. Smith is a law-abiding and model citizen. He toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. But with each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit ‘thoughtcrimes’. Nevertheless, as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A Short But Impactful Book

Akthough it consists of a very slight 107 pages, there is plenty packed in. Orwell doesn’t waste a single word in his dystopian vision of the future that makes big statements on censorship, control, free speech and the media—and how all of them can be used for nefarious means if unchecked and unchallenged. It’s not a simple read though. Classics tend to be full of exposition, with long winding paragraphs of description and explanation, and 1984 is no exception. There are also a lot of buzzwords to get your head around as well as heavily political and psychological themes. But should you persevere, this is a book that will leave a lasting impression.

If anything, the book leans toward being more of an essay at times than an actual story but it is by no means any less engaging because of this. The very detached and cold nature of its writing feels deliberate to the point of it being tense and uncomfortable. This is one of those titles that should always be taught in schools; there’s plenty to pick at and analyse and wonder about, which is what speculative Sci-Fi should always do.

1984 is a book not to be missed. Just don’t let Big Brother catch you reading it.


If you are interested in studying English or English Literature, Oxford Open Learning offer you the chance to do so at a variety of levels, listed below. You can also Contact Us by clicking on the link here.

English GCSE

English Literature GCSE

English IGCSE

English Literature IGCSE

English A level

English Literature A level

English IGCSE (Fast Track)

See more by

Stay Connected