This book shows what could happen in a totalitarian state. It centers around a man named Winston Smith, who lives in such a state called Oceania. It was written by George Orwell in 1948 and published in 1949. The title is the year in which the novel is set. Orwell chose "1984" to show how soon he thought this dystopian society could be brought about. In those days, the possibility of having "Oceania" seemed very real.
This book is and has been one of the most frequently challenged novels of modern times. Most of the challenges center around the discussion of communism, although the novel is anti-communist and very "pro-freedom".
The sexuality and profanity in the book are also an issue in high school libraries and classrooms.
Every student should be exposed to the idea of a totalitarian government, "Big Brother", "thoughtcrime"... also, Orwell's work captures the fears of his times, so it has historical value. The thing that I love most about 1984 is the concept of "newspeak" a language developed by the officials. They know that if they take away the words for ideas, that people will have no means of revolting. If you don't have the words, how do you grasp the concept?
When weighed against the novel's historical value, literary value and the richness of its ideas, banning the book because of the author's affiliations- or worse, its profanity-is trivial. Everyone who wishes to ban books is paying homage to Big Brother- keeping books out of people's (even teen people's) hands is all about controlling how they think and what they think about.
The Thought Police hate books. What could be a bigger threat to them?