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George Orwell published 1984 in 1949, meaning that, though the year 1984 is now in the past for contemporary readers, it represented the not-so-distant future for Orwell. As such, the year becomes the perfect period in which to set a dystopia with eerie similarities to totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century. For instance, many similarities could be drawn between the party of Big Brother and the recently defeated Nazis. Likewise, Orwell's vision can in many ways be seen as a commentary on established totalitarian regimes of his day, such as Stalin's Russia. Thus, Orwell is imagining a near-future in which the totalitarian regimes of the middle twentieth century have grown into all-powerful entities capable of totally dominating human life across the globe. It's a chilling vision, especially since its relatively contemporary setting makes it impossible to avoid drawing parallels between Orwell's dystopia and our own society. 

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