George Orwell´s 1984, along with Aldous Huxley´s Brave New World, is considered a great negative utopia, in the sense that it depicts the nightmare of what life might become in an oligarchic collectivism pursued to its logical conclusion. Under a social setup which is nothing but totalitarian barbarism, eternal warfare is the price one pays for an elusive peace. The Party written with capital P keeps total control over all of man´s actions as well as thoughts. George Orwell´s 1984 is a great satire in the tradition of the other great satirist like Samuel Butler. The style is swift and clean like that of Daniel Defoe, the first English novelist. The novel attempts to diagnose man´s alienation in all its aspects, but with special emphasis on the social organization recommended by Marx and practiced by Stalin. In the words of Erich Fromm:
George Orwell´s 1984 is the expression of a mood, and it is a warning. The mood it expresses is that of near despair about the future of man, and the warning is that unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it.
The mood of hopelessness about the future of man is inmarked contrast to one of the most fundamental features of Western thought; the faith in human progress and in man´s capacity to create a world of justice and peace. This hope has its roots both in Greek and in Roman thinking, as well as the Messianic concept of the Old Testament prophets. (Fromm, 199, p. 257).
This view presents a critique of 1984 including the character of Winston Smith, the protagonist –not really a ―hero‖ in the usual sense of the term -, the totalitarian society discussed in the story, the mystique of power presented and the main political concepts woven into the plot –if any- . These ideas will be developed under three main headings: the background of the novel, the politics of 1984, and Orwell and 1984.