George Orwell: 1984 and Animal Farm
1984 is a dystopic novel written by George Orwell. In this world people are constantly watched and controlled by the system, they cannot act freely, they cannot think by their own. Their vocabulary is reduced in order to make them not being able to express their opinions and ideas. Their thoughts are manipulated: people think that only what they read on the posters and listen in the tv is the truth; they do not control anything about themselves.
As I read the novel I thought about how we are too controlled by the system: so many times we are fed by it without even think if what we hear or read it's true or not. We' re seem also to grow apart from what happens in other areas of the word where there is war or dictatorship. It's like we do not care that much because we watch television as a form of entertainment and so we get used to what we see without thinking that it's something that is happening right now and that it's extremely important.
Animal Farm is the other novel written by Orwell that we analysed. The characters rapresent real people: the politicians of the Russian Revolution. By writing this novel the author wanted to depict how power can lead to aggression and violence. This is surely a link to our present: in North Korea human rights are abused. A totalitarian state like that one creates an atmosphere of terror, where people are afraid of everything.
ALDOUS HUXLEY: BRAVE NEW WORLD
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a futuristic novel. The book, written in 1932, describes a society filled with new technologies that at that period of time were considered something that could never be made. But these technologies are very close to what science has achieved in our period of time. For example: 1. In the book Huxley predicts that children could be mass produced, if we think about it nowadays there is a type of assisted reproductive technology that helps women to become pregnant: test tube baby. 2. The use of a drug called soma that helps unhappy, depressed people to feel better. This drug is very similar to the ones in our society, it has analogous affects to them. 3. In the novel it is written that nobody can do something without the help of others, this is something very close to our society, everyone has the responsability to work and to accomplish their role for things in order to make society works.
William Golding: Lord of the Flies
In the period of war, a British aeroplane crashes on an island. The children that were in, are isolated from the society and have to survive by their own. But the boys are not able to cooperate together and they swiftly become savage.
One of the main aspect of this novel is that without laws and rules people tend not to hold back their darker impulses and instincts. This will lead them to the incapability of regulating their behaviour and, in this way, they will face the hidden evil that is present in them. The loss of civilization, as we can find in the book, destroys the boys as individuals and make them become beasts.
RAY BRADBURY: FAHRENHEIT 451
By reading some passages of this novel I thought about how important is to read books. Books are a way to escape from what sorrounds us, they make us live a lot of adventures, they make us travel the world and live in the past, present and future, they make you be indipendent, free. Books can save us. We can think of Anne Frank, as she lived that awful tragedy she found solace only when she could write her diary. She could run away, even if for a little time, from what was happening to her. We can also think about the book burning in 1933 in Germany, where so many books were burnt. By burning books you just not burn pages but also history, you erase something that contribute to create our world, the present.
Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
As we analysed the Victorian Age we learnt how rough and hideous were the living conditions in that period of time. People became mad, their dignity was stripped away. Children were malnourished and were obliged to work, the poorest had to live in the workhouses. These places should be charitable places where children could improve themselves and their conditions but they were not. Here children were treated dreadfully, their rights were abused, they were hit and they didn' t have enough food. Dickens took side with the children and he described their conditions in the book "Oliver Twist". In the novel the protagonist, Oliver, is sent to a workhouse where he experiences the brutal conditions of this place. Then he's sold to an undertaker and becomes a member of a gang. Luckily at the end he is helped by a gentleman.
Nowadays a lot of children are exploited and have to cope with injustices but there are some organisations that help them. For example the one in Louisville, USA that helps exploited children and tries to reduce child abuse. http://www.echolou.org/
We read some of the works of the irish writer Oscar Wilde: "The picture of Dorian Gray", "De Profundis", "The Ballad of Reading Gaol", "The Importance of Being Earnest". All of them are unquestionably works of art but the one that really caught my attention was "The Ballad of Reading Gaol". Here Wilde casts light upon our present and throws in our face our hypocrisy. He denounces the terrible conditions the prisoners lived in, places that would bend the body and psyche of a person. He blames the religious hypocrisy which builds a wall of indifference and prejudice. To him even prisoners deserved to be respected, we all make mistakes and as human we have to give a second opportunity to somebody that never had one.
During World War I poets like Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Rupert Brooke who fight as soldiers during the war wrote poems about it. They described their living conditions, how many lies they were told by the system and the atrocities of the war in order to awaken the readers that didn't know anything about it. The soldiers were tired, scared, they felt useless because when somebody died they couldn't do anything and felt powerless because they were not in control of their life.
These poems surely made me think about what is happening right now in Syria, where so many innocent people are killed.