1984 is a powerful claustrophobic novel that evokes an impression of a post war, brown-grey, totalitarian Britain where a national state of emergency is maintained to preserve the status quo. Everything about this book is original for its time, from the use of Newspeak, to the overwhelming sense of paranoia and fear that infects every thought and movement of the central characters, to the chilling reminder of just how frail the human spirit really is. 1984 can only be judged as a ground breaking literary event. Whether Orwell was writing to warn of the 'horrors' of communism, or the austerity of post war Britain is irrelevant. What he has single handedly achieved is to define the very essence of dystopian fiction. The date 1984 has become a brand term of description for mind control, totalitarianism and the police state. At the time Orwell wrote this, ‘no piece of fiction had been as brutal or as terrifying in its portrayal of ideas and the determination with which a ruling body could obliterate them’. It is hard to imagine the effect his novel could have had on its readers at the tail end of the 1940s.