George Orwells 1984 - Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas

1984 is a dystopian novel by George Orwell that explores the dangers of totalitarianism and surveillance. Essays on this topic could delve into the themes of surveillance, truth, and totalitarianism in the novel, discuss its relevance to contemporary societal issues, or compare Orwell’s dystopian vision to other dystopian or utopian literary works. A substantial compilation of free essay instances related to George Orwell’s 1984 you can find at PapersOwl Website. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Dissecting Dystopia: George Orwells 1984 and the World of Oceania

George Orwell's "1984", a terrifying portrayal of dictatorship seen through the prism of a made-up superstate called Oceania, is still regarded as a classic piece of literature. Examining how Orwell's dystopian picture of the world mirrors larger concerns of power, surveillance, and the human spirit under authoritarian control, this article explores the complex world-building of Oceania. In the film "1984," Oceania is shown as an authoritarian society marked by ongoing conflict, constant government monitoring, and widespread public manipulation. Orwell painstakingly […]

1984 and Brave New World Comparison

As years pass by, human society has advanced in very unpredictable ways due to the evolution of ideas and technologies. It is somewhat cloudy to forseek what new advancements that may arrive in the future. In the 20th century, two dystopian writers had predicted the fate of the world that we live in today. The novels Nineteen Eighty-Four written by George Orwell and Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley both envisioned how society would end up as a dystopia. […]

1984 Compared to Today

In the world today, the internet is at the center of our actions. The internet and technology enable the recording of everything we do, which can be accessed by millions of people within a short time. This leads to the question of privacy in this age. In the novel "1984" by George Orwell, the main character, Winston Smith, and the rest of the population in Oceania are being surveyed. All their moves are followed with the help of telescreens purposed […]

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Winston against the Party in the Novel 1984

In 1984, the main character, Winston Smith goes through moments where he is in need; His needs consist of physiological needs, safety, and security needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. Winston is the main character in his novel it follows his around during this time. In 1984 Winston has his physiological met. These physiological needs include; water, pleasure, and food. Winston had taken up his spoon and was dabbling in pale-colored gravy that dribbled across the […]

1984 the Soviet Union the Parallels

George Orwell is an author who wrote the book 1984 and Animal Farm, two famous Dystopian novels. But what is a dystopian novel? A dystopian novel is where the author writes about a society being oppressed or terrorized from a group of people or person(Jennifer Kendall). Typically in dystopian novels, we are shown a character who don’t agree with the government structure and tend to rebel against them. Although dystopian novels are fictional, it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen […]

1984 Surveillance Essay

George Orwell's 1984 writes of a dystopian society that has become severally oppressed by the methods ‘The Party' uses to control its society. The people do not think for themselves, and there is no independence from the government’s rules. One form that the party has control over everyone is with mind manipulation and constant surveillance, watching people actions and reactions to their messages that ‘The Party’ shares via the ‘telescreen’. A ‘telescreen’ is a two-way connection screen that people watch […]

Lack of Privacy in 1984 Essay

Privacy is a loose term in our world today because no one abides by it and the privacy of many people is invaded every day. People don’t even think about being watched when they’re posting personal experiences in their life on social media. Invasion of privacy is a serious issue concerning the Internet, as e-mails can be read and/or encrypted, and cookies can track a user and store personal information. Lack of privacy policies and employee monitoring threatens security also. […]

Main Themes in 1984

There are many Themes in 1984 however there are two that show themselves as the most important throughout the story: The disastrous effects of both the control of information and complete and total domination of the people, or Authoritarianism. These two themes show themselves many times throughout the entire story. The main Villain of the novel, Big Brother, exists to show the reader what will happen when one single organization or entity controls all information, and every other facet of […]

Nature and Animals 1984 Essay

In George Orwell's 1984, the reader follows a middle-aged man named Winston Smith. In Winston's society, people can be under surveillance at any time, in any place. The reader follows Winston through his affair with a woman named Julia, and the consequences that they face after. Throughout 1984, many motifs are represented, one of them being nature and animals. The motif of nature/animals demonstrates how Orwell connects characters in his book to animals. In 1984, the first time the reader […]

Parallels between a Novel 1984 and Soviet Union

George Orwell is a politically charged author who writes novels as warning issued against the dangers of totalitarian societies. The novel is dystopian literature. A dystopian society is the not so good version of an utopian society which is pretty much a perfect world. While an utopian society IS a perfect world, a dystopian society is the exact opposite as it is dehumanizing and unpleasant in regards to trying to make everything ideal. The novel 1984 by George Orwell is […]

1984 Literary Essay

In the novel 1984 war ment peace, freedom ment slavery, and ignorance ment strength. This novel very intriguing yet dark and twisted, the novel all began with an average man with an average job and an average life named Winston Smith, but what you don't know is how unruly the government is. The government believes everyone they have in their grasp they completely and utterly control, they have dehumanized humans to the point where they can't hardly think for themselves […]

Current Events Shaped Themes in 1984

Throughout history there have been dozens of examples of how the book 1984 relates to current events. A Prime example of this is Fidel Castro and 1960's Cuba, Throughout his rule he was responsible for housing many soviet missiles, and limiting the freedoms of his people. The only news allowed in cuba was the news that was verified by either castro himself or his higher up officers. This is an example of censoring/controlling the media. Throughout the book there are […]

George Orwell’s Fiction Novel 1984

With new technology and advanced programs, the government is gaining more power than one may realize. George Orwell’s fiction novel 1984, depicts Oceania’s control upon it’s party members thoughts and freedom showcasing the harsh effects that it had on its population. Too much control can often lead to social repression, Winston being a product of this repressed society. The cruelty Winston is faced with serves as both a motivation for him throughout the novel and reveals many hidden traits about […]

The Party and Power 1984

William Gaddis once said, “power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power”; a truth that perfectly articulates the relationship between man and power. George Orwell’s prose novel, 1984, and James McTeigue’s theatrical film, V for Vendetta, are such quintessences of power abused by those in pursuit of reaching authoritative domination. They differ in textual form and perspectives however at their core, both texts are works of dystopian fiction and juvenalian satire against authoritarian style leaderships, depicting their respective protagonists as victims […]

A Political Novel 1984

1984 is a political novel composed for the humans below a totalitarian authorities and to give consciousness for the feasible dangers of it. George Orwell, the author, purposefully created the e book give emphasis to the rising of communism in Western countries who are nonetheless uncertain about how to approach it. He additionally wrote it due to having an insight of the horrendous lengths to which authoritarian governments that ought to possibly go beyond their power such as Spain and […]

The Power of Words and Rhetoric in 1984

In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the ring of his chair (Orwell 14). Winston Smith is an average man in the world of 1984, at least that is what readers believe at first glance. However, there is a hidden life under the surface of his skin, this being the brewing hatred he feels for the, otherwise, worshiped Big Brother. Smith meets an unlikely companion in a young […]

About the Hazard of Controlling Governments in 1984

Dystopian literature has been around for quite some time, shaping the minds of young readers. However, in the course of recent decades, it has turned out to be increasingly popular, especially after the turn of the century. In a time of fear and anxiety, the dystopian genre has become more popular in pop culture, in that they provide audiences with a different aspect of entertainment, while offering a sense of comfort and control. The world that young adults of today […]

The Tools and Actions of Totalitarianism in Cuba and “1984” by George Orwell

George Orwell’s book 1984 displayed an example of a real-life dystopia. Totalitarianism is shown in this communist-based society so ghastly that it coined its own term “Orwellian” in the dictionary. However, a country living in full surveillance with extremely nationalistic views in cookie-cutter world is not entirely fictional. Historical dictatorships are similar to Orwell’s telling of Big Brother, the man in control of Oceania’s economy and strictly enforced values. An example of such was the Cuban regime under control of […]

Wake up its 1984 again

War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength In the book 1984 by George Orwell, Big brother is an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent dictator of Oceania. Big Brother symbolizes the face of the Party and its public manifestation, which controlled people's thoughts, actions, knowledge and way of living. By using secret police, surveillance, torture, propaganda, misinformation, and corrupted languages to control all aspects of one's life. Even though the book was meant to be fictional, there is some elements […]

The Parallels of 1984 and the Soviet Union

George Orwell, a pen name for the author’s real name Eric Arthur Blair, is a man that had multiple professions, such as an essayist, imperial police officer, and a critic. However, he is best known as a novelist, writing such stories like Animal Farm, Burmese Days, and the main focus novel that will be talked about today, 1984. 1984 is the story about a man named Winston Smith, a man that lives in a totalitarian society where no one is […]

What did 1984 Steal from 1922

There have been many dictators in the history of the world. They have been mostly bad for the people of the society, reducing their ability to stand up for them self. Most dictators used fear and intimidation to scare their opponents into complying with them, but in 1984 they limited their vocabulary (newspeak) and twisted what they were saying to make it sound nicer (doublespeak) to get the people to comply with the rules. The Party in 1984 is influenced […]

The Party Control in 1984

1984 is a story of tragedy and warns of a dystopian future, which day by day looks like it is becoming closer to a reality. The story starts out with Winston Smith, a member of the Party, living inside the conglomerate super-nation Oceania. Everywhere Winston goes, he is being watched by the Party's leader, Big Brother, who is constantly monitoring to stop any and all rebellion. The Party controls everything and are trying to indoctrinate people, inventing a brand new […]

My 1984 Story

INTRODUCTION The Party did the people wrong and treated them poorly because the Party wanted them to do what they asked for and manipulating their minds. Orwell wanted to tell people how the Party treated other people and what they had to sacrifice in order to do what was told. For it to be one of the most powerful warnings that ever happened in the totalitarian society. George Orwell’s 1984 is a interesting and constructive book that is filled with […]

Dystopian Literature – 1984

The destruction of history causes people to obey the party more and become mindless objects to the party. The party imposed if all records told the same tale then the lie passed into history and became truth. Who controls the past ran the party slogan controls the future who controls the present controls the past And the through of its nature alterable never has been altered{ Orwell p.31}. It represent imagery and talks about how the party controls them and […]

1984 and Brave New Word: Literary Criticisms

Although they seem to portray two completely opposite dystopias, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 are two sides of the same coin, as they both warn of the dangers of an all-powerful government. Both their personal lives and the social climate in which they lived in contributed in the shaping of their novels into the disturbingly brilliant pieces of literature that are praised today. Huxley’s childhood provides great insight into some of the many influences of his […]

The Shadow of 1984

When people read dystopian text they often include topics with darker views of our political structures. George Orwell's novel 1984 is about a place named Oceania in which the main character Winston, a member of the outer party,journeys into his end. He finds himself with these viewpoints no one else seems to have of how Oceania is runned and only continues to question and dig further until he is put to stop by the party. Although Orwell’s work is fiction […]

George Orwell’s 1984 Oppression

After reading and discussing the outcomes of high tech policing, I strongly take a stand with the critics of it. This is not only opinion, the data received by high tech policing technologies distort the true meaning of privacy and is a form of biased policing against poor and minority communities. Police are using high tech policing to target poor and minority communities. The main facts that support my claim are how high tech policing results in biases against minorities […]

What does the Paperweight Symbolize in 1984: Metaphor for Loss of Individuality

Introduction “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows” (Orwell 81). George Orwell wrote a book called 1984 about Winston and how he lives in an oppressive government. The government manipulates them so much that they have no freedom and no way to express themselves. They cannot even say 2+2=4. Imagery, symbolism, and figurative language are used to convey the theme of the loss of individuality by totalitarianism. Metaphor […]

Decoding Dystopia: George Orwell’s 1984 Explored

Picture a world where your every move is watched, where your thoughts aren’t even your own. Welcome to George Orwell’s "1984," a novel that isn’t just a story but a warning bell that still echoes loudly today. Written in 1949 and set in a future that's now our past, Orwell spins a tale of a world caught in the grip of total government control, a place where the very idea of truth is as malleable as clay. At the heart […]

George Orwells 1984 Theme: Rejecting Political Apathy through Orwellian Insights

In George Orwell's iconic dystopian novel, "1984," the theme of rejection to political apathy emerges as a powerful undercurrent. Set in a totalitarian regime where Big Brother's watchful eye permeates every aspect of citizens' lives, the novel serves as a stark warning against the dangers of political passivity. As an environmental studies student, I find intriguing parallels between the oppressive political climate depicted in the book and the urgent need for active environmental engagement in today's world. Orwell's masterpiece provides […]

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How To Write an Essay About George Orwell's 1984

Understanding the context and themes of 1984.

When setting out to write an essay about George Orwell's "1984," it's crucial to first grasp the novel's historical and literary context. Published in 1949, "1984" is a dystopian novel that paints a chilling picture of a totalitarian regime. In your introduction, outline the key themes of the novel: the dangers of totalitarianism, the manipulation of truth, and the erosion of individuality. It's important to contextualize these themes within the post-World War II era during which Orwell was writing, as well as considering their continued relevance in today's society. This foundational understanding will inform your exploration of the novel's complex narrative and thematic structure.

Analyzing Orwell's Characters and Narrative Techniques

The body of your essay should delve into a detailed analysis of the novel's characters and narrative techniques. Focus on the protagonist, Winston Smith, and his journey of rebellion and subsequent downfall. Examine Orwell's portrayal of the Party, particularly the character of Big Brother, and the ways in which it exercises control over individuals. Discuss the novel's key symbols, such as telescreens, Newspeak, and the concept of doublethink, and how they contribute to its overall message. Analyze Orwell's use of language and narrative style, considering how these elements enhance the novel's themes and its impact on readers. Use specific examples and quotes from the text to support your analysis, ensuring each paragraph contributes to a comprehensive understanding of Orwell's vision.

Contextualizing 1984 in the Broader Literary Landscape

In this section, place "1984" within the broader context of dystopian literature and its historical background. Discuss how the novel reflects the anxieties of its time, including fears of fascism and communism, and how these concerns are woven into the fabric of the narrative. Consider the influences on Orwell's writing, such as his experiences during the Spanish Civil War and his observations of Stalinist Russia. Additionally, reflect on the novel's impact on later literature and culture, including its influence on the genre of dystopian fiction and its relevance in contemporary discussions about surveillance, privacy, and political power.

Concluding Reflections on 1984

Conclude your essay by summarizing the key points of your analysis, emphasizing the enduring significance of "1984" in both literary and socio-political contexts. Reflect on the novel's warning about the dangers of totalitarianism and the importance of preserving individual freedoms. Consider the novel's relevance in today's world, particularly in light of current technological and political developments. A strong conclusion will not only provide closure to your essay but also underscore the novel's ongoing relevance, encouraging readers to continue contemplating Orwell's warnings and insights in relation to contemporary society.

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examples of essay 1984

George Orwell

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Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on George Orwell's 1984 . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

1984: Introduction

1984: plot summary, 1984: detailed summary & analysis, 1984: themes, 1984: quotes, 1984: characters, 1984: symbols, 1984: theme wheel, brief biography of george orwell.

1984 PDF

Historical Context of 1984

Other books related to 1984.

  • Full Title: Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel
  • When Written: 1945-49; outline written 1943
  • Where Written: Jura, Scotland
  • When Published: June 1949
  • Literary Period: Late Modernism
  • Genre: Novel / Satire / Parable
  • Setting: London in the year 1984
  • Climax: Winston is tortured in Room 101
  • Antagonist: O'Brien
  • Point of View: Third-Person Limited

Extra Credit for 1984

Outspoken Anti-Communist. Orwell didn't just write literature that condemned the Communist state of the USSR. He did everything he could, from writing editorials to compiling lists of men he knew were Soviet spies, to combat the willful blindness of many intellectuals in the West to USSR atrocities.

Working Title. Orwell's working title for the novel was The Last Man in Europe .

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by George Orwell

1984 essay questions.

Compare and contrast Julia and Winston. How does each rebel against the Party, and are these rebellions at all effective?

Trace Winston's path towards destruction. Where do we first see his fatalistic outlook? Is his defeat inevitable?

Discuss the role of technology in Oceania. In what areas is technology highly advanced, and in what areas has its progress stalled? Why?

Discuss the role of Big Brother in Oceania and in Winston's life. What role does Big Brother play in each?

Discuss contradiction in Oceania and the Party's governance, i.e. Ministry of Love, Ministry of Truth, Ministry of Plenty, Ministry of Peace. Why is such contradiction accepted so widely?

Discuss and analyze the role O'Brien plays in Winston's life. Why is he such a revered and respected character, even during Winston's time in the Ministry of Love?

Discuss the symbolic importance of the prole woman singing in the yard behind Mr. Charrington's apartment. What does she represent for Winston, and what does she represent for Julia?

1984 is a presentation of Orwell's definition of dystopia and was meant as a warning to those of the modern era. What specifically is Orwell warning us against, and how does he achieve this?

Analyze the interactions between Winston and the old man in the pub, Syme, and Mr. Charrington. How do Winston's interactions with these individuals guide him towards his ultimate arrest?

Analyze the Party's level of power over its citizens, specifically through the lens of psychological manipulation. Name the tools the Party uses to maintain this control and discuss their effectiveness.

Outline the social hierarchy of Oceania. How does this hierarchy support the Party and its goals?

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1984 Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for 1984 is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Describe O’Briens apartment and lifestyle. How do they differ from Winston’s?

From the text:

It was only on very rare occasions that one saw inside the dwelling-places of the Inner Party, or even penetrated into the quarter of the town where they lived. The whole atmosphere of the huge block of flats, the richness and...

What was the result of Washington exam

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how is one put into the inner or outer party in the book 1984

The Outer Party is a huge government bureaucracy. They hold positions of trust but are largely responsible for keeping the totalitarian structure of Big Brother functional. The Outer Party numbers around 18 to 19 percent of the population and the...

Study Guide for 1984

1984 study guide contains a biography of George Orwell, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • 1984 Summary
  • Character List

Essays for 1984

1984 essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of 1984 by George Orwell.

  • The Reflection of George Orwell
  • Totalitarian Collectivism in 1984, or, Big Brother Loves You
  • Sex as Rebellion
  • Class Ties: The Dealings of Human Nature Depicted through Social Classes in 1984
  • 1984: The Ultimate Parody of the Utopian World

Lesson Plan for 1984

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to 1984
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • Related Links
  • 1984 Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for 1984

  • Introduction
  • Writing and publication

examples of essay 1984

Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined

What 1984 means today

examples of essay 1984

No novel of the past century has had more influence than George Orwell’s 1984 . The title, the adjectival form of the author’s last name, the vocabulary of the all-powerful Party that rules the superstate Oceania with the ideology of Ingsoc— doublethink , memory hole , unperson , thoughtcrime , Newspeak , Thought Police , Room 101 , Big Brother —they’ve all entered the English language as instantly recognizable signs of a nightmare future. It’s almost impossible to talk about propaganda, surveillance, authoritarian politics, or perversions of truth without dropping a reference to 1984. Throughout the Cold War, the novel found avid underground readers behind the Iron Curtain who wondered, How did he know?

examples of essay 1984

It was also assigned reading for several generations of American high-school students. I first encountered 1984 in 10th-grade English class. Orwell’s novel was paired with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World , whose hedonistic and pharmaceutical dystopia seemed more relevant to a California teenager in the 1970s than did the bleak sadism of Oceania. I was too young and historically ignorant to understand where 1984 came from and exactly what it was warning against. Neither the book nor its author stuck with me. In my 20s, I discovered Orwell’s essays and nonfiction books and reread them so many times that my copies started to disintegrate, but I didn’t go back to 1984 . Since high school, I’d lived through another decade of the 20th century, including the calendar year of the title, and I assumed I already “knew” the book. It was too familiar to revisit.

Read: Teaching ‘1984’ in 2016

So when I recently read the novel again, I wasn’t prepared for its power. You have to clear away what you think you know, all the terminology and iconography and cultural spin-offs, to grasp the original genius and lasting greatness of 1984 . It is both a profound political essay and a shocking, heartbreaking work of art. And in the Trump era , it’s a best seller .

examples of essay 1984

The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell’s 1984 , by the British music critic Dorian Lynskey, makes a rich and compelling case for the novel as the summation of Orwell’s entire body of work and a master key to understanding the modern world. The book was published in 1949, when Orwell was dying of tuberculosis , but Lynskey dates its biographical sources back more than a decade to Orwell’s months in Spain as a volunteer on the republican side of the country’s civil war. His introduction to totalitarianism came in Barcelona, when agents of the Soviet Union created an elaborate lie to discredit Trotskyists in the Spanish government as fascist spies.

examples of essay 1984

Left-wing journalists readily accepted the fabrication, useful as it was to the cause of communism. Orwell didn’t, exposing the lie with eyewitness testimony in journalism that preceded his classic book Homage to Catalonia —and that made him a heretic on the left. He was stoical about the boredom and discomforts of trench warfare—he was shot in the neck and barely escaped Spain with his life—but he took the erasure of truth hard. It threatened his sense of what makes us sane, and life worth living. “History stopped in 1936,” he later told his friend Arthur Koestler, who knew exactly what Orwell meant. After Spain, just about everything he wrote and read led to the creation of his final masterpiece. “History stopped,” Lynskey writes, “and Nineteen Eighty-Four began.”

The biographical story of 1984 —the dying man’s race against time to finish his novel in a remote cottage on the Isle of Jura , off Scotland—will be familiar to many Orwell readers. One of Lynskey’s contributions is to destroy the notion that its terrifying vision can be attributed to, and in some way disregarded as, the death wish of a tuberculosis patient. In fact, terminal illness roused in Orwell a rage to live—he got remarried on his deathbed—just as the novel’s pessimism is relieved, until its last pages, by Winston Smith’s attachment to nature, antique objects, the smell of coffee, the sound of a proletarian woman singing, and above all his lover, Julia. 1984 is crushingly grim, but its clarity and rigor are stimulants to consciousness and resistance. According to Lynskey, “Nothing in Orwell’s life and work supports a diagnosis of despair.”

Lynskey traces the literary genesis of 1984 to the utopian fictions of the optimistic 19th century—Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888); the sci-fi novels of H. G. Wells, which Orwell read as a boy—and their dystopian successors in the 20th, including the Russian Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924) and Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). The most interesting pages in The Ministry of Truth are Lynskey’s account of the novel’s afterlife. The struggle to claim 1984 began immediately upon publication, with a battle over its political meaning. Conservative American reviewers concluded that Orwell’s main target wasn’t just the Soviet Union but the left generally. Orwell, fading fast, waded in with a statement explaining that the novel was not an attack on any particular government but a satire of the totalitarian tendencies in Western society and intellectuals: “The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don’t let it happen. It depends on you .” But every work of art escapes the artist’s control—the more popular and complex, the greater the misunderstandings.

Lynskey’s account of the reach of 1984 is revelatory. The novel has inspired movies, television shows, plays, a ballet, an opera, a David Bowie album , imitations, parodies, sequels, rebuttals, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Black Panther Party, and the John Birch Society. It has acquired something of the smothering ubiquity of Big Brother himself: 1984 is watching you. With the arrival of the year 1984, the cultural appropriations rose to a deafening level. That January an ad for the Apple Macintosh was watched by 96 million people during the Super Bowl and became a marketing legend. The Mac, represented by a female athlete, hurls a sledgehammer at a giant telescreen and explodes the shouting face of a man—oppressive technology—to the astonishment of a crowd of gray zombies. The message: “You’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’ ”

The argument recurs every decade or so: Orwell got it wrong. Things haven’t turned out that bad. The Soviet Union is history. Technology is liberating. But Orwell never intended his novel to be a prediction, only a warning. And it’s as a warning that 1984 keeps finding new relevance. The week of Donald Trump’s inauguration, when the president’s adviser Kellyanne Conway justified his false crowd estimate by using the phrase alternative facts , the novel returned to the best-seller lists. A theatrical adaptation was rushed to Broadway. The vocabulary of Newspeak went viral. An authoritarian president who stood the term fake news on its head, who once said, “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” has given 1984 a whole new life.

What does the novel mean for us? Not Room 101 in the Ministry of Love, where Winston is interrogated and tortured until he loses everything he holds dear. We don’t live under anything like a totalitarian system. “By definition, a country in which you are free to read Nineteen Eighty-Four is not the country described in Nineteen Eighty-Four ,” Lynskey acknowledges. Instead, we pass our days under the nonstop surveillance of a telescreen that we bought at the Apple Store, carry with us everywhere, and tell everything to, without any coercion by the state. The Ministry of Truth is Facebook, Google, and cable news. We have met Big Brother and he is us.

Trump’s election brought a rush of cautionary books with titles like On Tyranny , Fascism: A Warning , and How Fascism Works . My local bookstore set up a totalitarian-themed table and placed the new books alongside 1984 . They pointed back to the 20th century—if it happened in Germany, it could happen here—and warned readers how easily democracies collapse. They were alarm bells against complacency and fatalism—“ the politics of inevitability ,” in the words of the historian Timothy Snyder, “a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done.” The warnings were justified, but their emphasis on the mechanisms of earlier dictatorships drew attention away from the heart of the malignancy—not the state, but the individual. The crucial issue was not that Trump might abolish democracy but that Americans had put him in a position to try. Unfreedom today is voluntary. It comes from the bottom up.

We are living with a new kind of regime that didn’t exist in Orwell’s time. It combines hard nationalism—the diversion of frustration and cynicism into xenophobia and hatred—with soft distraction and confusion: a blend of Orwell and Huxley, cruelty and entertainment. The state of mind that the Party enforces through terror in 1984 , where truth becomes so unstable that it ceases to exist, we now induce in ourselves. Totalitarian propaganda unifies control over all information, until reality is what the Party says it is—the goal of Newspeak is to impoverish language so that politically incorrect thoughts are no longer possible. Today the problem is too much information from too many sources, with a resulting plague of fragmentation and division—not excessive authority but its disappearance, which leaves ordinary people to work out the facts for themselves, at the mercy of their own prejudices and delusions.

During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, propagandists at a Russian troll farm used social media to disseminate a meme: “ ‘The People Will Believe What the Media Tells Them They Believe.’  — George Orwell.” But Orwell never said this. The moral authority of his name was stolen and turned into a lie toward that most Orwellian end: the destruction of belief in truth. The Russians needed partners in this effort and found them by the millions, especially among America’s non-elites. In 1984 , working-class people are called “proles,” and Winston believes they’re the only hope for the future. As Lynskey points out, Orwell didn’t foresee “that the common man and woman would embrace doublethink as enthusiastically as the intellectuals and, without the need for terror or torture, would choose to believe that two plus two was whatever they wanted it to be.”

We stagger under the daily load of doublethink pouring from Trump, his enablers in the Inner Party, his mouthpieces in the Ministry of Truth, and his fanatical supporters among the proles. Spotting doublethink in ourselves is much harder. “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” Orwell wrote . In front of my nose, in the world of enlightened and progressive people where I live and work, a different sort of doublethink has become pervasive. It’s not the claim that true is fake or that two plus two makes five. Progressive doublethink—which has grown worse in reaction to the right-wing kind—creates a more insidious unreality because it operates in the name of all that is good. Its key word is justice —a word no one should want to live without. But today the demand for justice forces you to accept contradictions that are the essence of doublethink.

For example, many on the left now share an unacknowledged but common assumption that a good work of art is made of good politics and that good politics is a matter of identity. The progressive view of a book or play depends on its political stance, and its stance—even its subject matter—is scrutinized in light of the group affiliation of the artist: Personal identity plus political position equals aesthetic value. This confusion of categories guides judgments all across the worlds of media, the arts, and education, from movie reviews to grant committees. Some people who register the assumption as doublethink might be privately troubled, but they don’t say so publicly. Then self-censorship turns into self-deception, until the recognition itself disappears—a lie you accept becomes a lie you forget. In this way, intelligent people do the work of eliminating their own unorthodoxy without the Thought Police.

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Orthodoxy is also enforced by social pressure, nowhere more intensely than on Twitter, where the specter of being shamed or “canceled” produces conformity as much as the prospect of adding to your tribe of followers does. This pressure can be more powerful than a party or state, because it speaks in the name of the people and in the language of moral outrage, against which there is, in a way, no defense. Certain commissars with large followings patrol the precincts of social media and punish thought criminals, but most progressives assent without difficulty to the stifling consensus of the moment and the intolerance it breeds—not out of fear, but because they want to be counted on the side of justice.

This willing constriction of intellectual freedom will do lasting damage. It corrupts the ability to think clearly, and it undermines both culture and progress. Good art doesn’t come from wokeness, and social problems starved of debate can’t find real solutions. “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word,” Orwell wrote in 1946. “What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.” Not much has changed since the 1940s. The will to power still passes through hatred on the right and virtue on the left.

1984 will always be an essential book, regardless of changes in ideologies, for its portrayal of one person struggling to hold on to what is real and valuable. “Sanity is not statistical,” Winston thinks one night as he slips off to sleep. Truth, it turns out, is the most fragile thing in the world. The central drama of politics is the one inside your skull.

This article appears in the July 2019 print edition with the headline “George Orwell’s Unheeded Warning.”

​When you buy a book using a link on this page, we receive a commission. Thank you for supporting The Atlantic.

Interesting Literature

A Summary and Analysis of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four , completed in 1948 and published a year later, is a classic example of dystopian fiction. Indeed, it’s surely the most famous dystopian novel in the world, even if its ideas are known by far more people than have actually read it. (According to at least one survey , Nineteen Eighty-Four is the book people most often claim to have read when they haven’t.)

Like many novels that are more known about than are carefully read and analysed, Nineteen Eighty-Four is actually a more complex work than the label ‘nightmare dystopian vision’ can convey. Before we offer an analysis of the novel’s themes and origins, let’s briefly recap the plot.

Nineteen Eighty-Four : plot summary

In the year 1984, Britain has been renamed Airstrip One and is a province of Oceania, a vast totalitarian superstate ruled by ‘the Party’, whose politics are described as Ingsoc (‘English Socialism’). Big Brother is the leader of the Party, which keeps its citizens in a perpetual state of fear and submission through a variety of means.

Surveillance is a key part of the novel’s world, with hidden microphones (which are found in the countryside as well as urban areas, and can identify not only what is said but also who says it) and two-way telescreen monitors being used to root out any dissidents, who disappear from society with all trace of their existence wiped out.

They become, in the language of Newspeak (the language used by people in the novel), ‘unpersons’. People are short of food, perpetually on the brink of starvation, and going about in fear for their lives.

The novel’s setting is London, where Trafalgar Square has been renamed Victory Square and the statue of Horatio Nelson atop Nelson’s Column has been replaced by one of Big Brother. Through such touches, Orwell defamiliarises the London of the 1940s which the original readers would have recognised, showing how the London they know might be transformed under a totalitarian regime.

The novel’s protagonist is Winston Smith, who works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting historical records so they are consistent with the state’s latest version of history. However, even though his day job involves doing the work of the Party, Winston longs to escape the oppressive control of the Party, hoping for a rebellion.

Winston meets the owner of an antique shop named Mr Charrington, from whom he buys a diary in which he can record his true feelings towards the Party. Believing the working-class ‘proles’ are the key to a revolution, Winston visits them, but is disappointed to find them wholly lacking in any political understanding.

Meanwhile, hearing of the existence of an underground resistance movement known as the Brotherhood – which has been formed by the rival of Big Brother, a man named Emmanuel Goldstein – Winston suspects that O’Brien, who also works with him, is involved with this resistance.

At lunch with another colleague, named Syme, Winston learns that the English language is being rewritten as Newspeak so as to control and influence people’s thought, the idea being that if the word for an idea doesn’t exist in the language, people will be unable to think about it.

Winston meets a woman named Julia who works for the Ministry of Truth, maintaining novel-writing machines, but believes she is a Party spy sent to watch him. But then Julia passes a clandestine love message to him and the two begin an affair – which is itself illicit since the Party decrees that sex is for reproduction alone, rather than pleasure.

We gradually learn more about Winston’s past, including his marriage to Katherine, from whom he is now separated. Syme, who had been working on Newspeak, disappears in mysterious circumstances: something Winston had predicted.

O’Brien invites Winston to his flat, declaring himself – as Winston had also predicted – a member of the Brotherhood, the resistance against the Party. He gives Winston a copy of the book written by Goldstein, the leader of the Brotherhood.

When Oceania’s enemy changes during the ritual Hate Week, Winston is tasked with making further historical revisions to old newspapers and documents to reflect this change.

Meanwhile, Winston and Julia secretly read Goldstein’s book, which explains how the Party maintains its totalitarian power. As Winston had suspected, the secret to overthrowing the Party lies in the vast mass of the population known as the ‘proles’ (derived from ‘proletarian’, Marx’s term for the working classes). It argues that the Party can be overthrown if proles rise up against it.

But shortly after this, Winston and Julia are arrested, having been shopped to the authorities by Mr Charrington (whose flat above his shop they had been using for their illicit meetings). It turns out that both he and O’Brien work for the Thought Police, on behalf of the Party.

At the Ministry of Love, O’Brien tells Winston that Goldstein’s book was actually written by him and other Party members, and that the Brotherhood may not even exist. Winston endures torture and starvation in an attempt to grind him down so he will accept Big Brother.

In Room 101, a room in which a prisoner is exposed to their greatest fear, Winston is placed in front of a wire cage containing rats, which he fears above all else. Winston betrays Julia, wishing she could take his place and endure this suffering instead.

His reprogramming complete, Winston is allowed to go free, but he is essentially living under a death sentence: he knows that one day he will be summoned by the authorities and shot for his former treachery.

He meets Julia one day, and learns that she was subjected to torture at the Ministry of Love as well. They have both betrayed each other, and part ways. The novel ends with Winston accepting, after all, that the Party has won and that ‘he loved Big Brother.’

Nineteen Eighty-Four : analysis

Nineteen Eighty-Four is probably the most famous novel about totalitarianism, and about the dangers of allowing a one-party state where democracy, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and even freedom of thought are all outlawed. The novel is often analysed as a warning about the dangers of allowing a creeping totalitarianism into Britain, after the horrors of such regimes in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and elsewhere had been witnessed.

Because of this quality of the book, it is often called ‘prophetic’ and a ‘nightmare vision of the future’, among other things.

However, books set in the future are rarely simply about the future. They are not mere speculation, but are grounded in the circumstances in which they were written.

Indeed, we might go so far as to say that most dystopian novels, whilst nominally set in an imagined future, are really using their future setting to reflect on what are already firmly established social or political ideas. In the case of Orwell and Nineteen Eighty-Four , this means the novel reflects the London of the 1940s.

By the time he came to write the novel, Orwell already had a long-standing interest in using his writing to highlight the horrors of totalitarianism around the world, especially following his experience fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. As Orwell put it in his essay ‘ Why I Write ’, all of his serious work written since 1936 was written ‘ against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism’.

In his analysis of Nineteen Eighty-Four in his study of Orwell, George Orwell (Reader’s Guides) , Jeffrey Meyers argues convincingly that, rather than being a nightmare vision of the future, a prophetic or speculative work, Orwell’s novel is actually a ‘realistic synthesis and rearrangement of familiar materials’ – indeed, as much of Orwell’s best work is.

His talent lay not in original imaginative thinking but in clear-headed critical analysis of things as they are: his essays are a prime example of this. Nineteen Eighty-Four is, in Meyer’s words, ‘realistic rather than fantastic’.

Indeed, Orwell himself stated that although the novel was ‘in a sense a fantasy’, it is written in the form of the naturalistic novel, with its themes and ideas having been already ‘partly realised in Communism and fascism’. Orwell’s intention, as stated by Orwell himself, was to take the totalitarian ideas that had ‘taken root’ in the minds of intellectuals all over Europe, and draw them out ‘to their logical consequences’.

Like much classic speculative fiction – the novels and stories of J. G. Ballard offer another example – the futuristic vision of the author is more a reflection of contemporary anxieties and concerns. Meyers goes so far as to argue that Nineteen Eighty-Four is actually the political regimes of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia ‘transposed’ into London of the early 1940s, during the Second World War.

Certainly, many of the most famous features of Nineteen Eighty-Four were suggested to Orwell by his time working at the BBC in London in the first half of the 1940s: it is well-known that the Ministry of Truth was based on the bureaucratic BBC with its propaganda department, while the infamous Room 101 was supposedly named after a room of that number in the BBC building, in which Orwell had to endure tedious meetings.

The technology of the novel, too, was familiar by the 1940s, involving little innovation or leaps of imagination from Orwell (‘telescreens’ being a natural extension of the television set: BBC TV had been established in 1936, although the Second World War pushed back its development somewhat).

Orwell learned much about the workings of Stalinism from reading Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed (1937), written by one of the leading figures in the Russian Revolution of 1917 who saw Stalinist Russia as the antithesis of what Trotsky, Lenin, and those early revolutionaries had been striving to achieve. (This would also be important for Orwell’s Animal Farm , of course.)

And indeed, many of the details surrounding censorship – the rewriting of history, the suppression of dissident literature, the control of the language people use to express themselves and even to think in – were also derived from Orwell’s reading of life in Soviet Russia. Surveillance was also a key element of the Stalinist regime, as in other Communist countries in Europe.

The moustachioed figure of Big Brother in Nineteen Eighty-Four recalls nobody so much as Josef Stalin himself. Not only the ideas of ‘thought crime’ and ‘thought police’, but even the terms themselves, predate Orwell’s use of them: they were first recorded in a 1934 book about Japan.

One of the key questions Winston asks himself in Nineteen Eighty-Four is what the Party is trying to achieve. O’Brien’s answer is simple: the maintaining of power for its own sake. Many human beings want to control other human beings, and they can persuade a worrying number of people to go along with their plans and even actively support them.

Despite the fact that they are starving and living a miserable life, many of the people in Airstrip One love Big Brother, viewing him not as a tyrannical dictator but as their ‘Saviour’ (as one woman calls him). Again, this detail was taken from accounts of Stalin, who was revered by many Russians even though they were often living a wretched life under his rule.

Another key theme of Orwell’s novel is the relationship between language and thought. In our era of fake news and corrupt media, this has only become even more pronounced: if you lie to a population and confuse them enough, you can control them. O’Brien introduces Winston to the work of the traitor to the Party, Emmanuel Goldstein, only to tell him later that Goldstein may not exist and his book was actually written by the Party.

Is this the lie, or was the book the lie? One of the most famous lines from the novel is Winston’s note to himself in his diary: ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.’

But later, O’Brien will force Winston to ‘admit’ that two plus two can make five. Orwell tells us, ‘The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.’

Or as Voltaire once wrote, ‘Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust.’ Forcing somebody to utter blatant falsehoods is a powerful psychological tool for totalitarian regimes because through doing so, they have chipped away at your moral and intellectual integrity.

4 thoughts on “A Summary and Analysis of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four”

1984 is a novel which is great in spite of itself and has been lionised for the wrong reasons. The title of the novel is a simple anagram of 1948, the date when the novel was written, and was driven by Orwell’s paranoia about the 1945 Labour government in UK. Orwell, a public school man, had built a reputation for hiself in the nineteen thirties as a socialist writer, and had fought for socialism in the Spanish civil war. The Road To Wigan Pier is an excellent polemic attacking the way the UK government was handling the mass unemployment of the time, reducing workers to a state of near starvation. In Homage To Catalonia, Orwell describes his experiences fighting with a small Marxist militia against Franco’s fascists. It was in Spain that Orwell developed his lifelong hatred of Stalinism, observing that the Communist contingents were more interested in suppressing other left-wing factions than in defeating Franco. The 1945 Labour government ws Britain’s first democratically elected socialist governement. It successfully established the welfare state and the National Health Service in a country almost bankrupted by the war, and despite the fact that Truman in USA was demanding the punctual repayment of wartime loans. Instead of rejoicing, Orwell, by now terminally ill from tuberculosis, saw the necessary continuation of wartime austerity and rationing as a deliberate and unnecessary imposition. Consequently, the book is often used as propaganda against socialism. The virtues of the book are the warnings about the dangers of giving the state too much power, in the form of electronic surveillance, ehanced police powers, intrusive laws, and the insidious use of political propaganda to warp peoples’ thinking. All of this has come to pass in the West as well as the East, but because of the overtly anticommunist spin to Orwell’s novel, most people fail to get its important message..

As with other work here, another good review. I’m also fascinated that Orwell located the government as prime problem, whereas Huxley located the people as prime problem, two sides of the same coin.

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examples of essay 1984

Common Module State-Rank Essay Showcase: Nineteen Eighty-Four

The following essay was written by Project Academy English Tutor, Marko Beocanin

Marko Beocanin

Marko Beocanin

99.95 ATAR & 3 x State Ranker

The following essay was written by Project Academy English Teacher, Marko Beocanin.

Marko’s Achievements:

  • 8th in NSW for English Advanced (98/100)
  • Rank 1 in English Advanced, Extension 1 and Extension 2
  • School Captain of Normanhurst Boys High School

Marko kindly agreed to share his essay and thorough annotations to help demystify for HSC students what comprises an upper Band 6 response!

Common Module: Nineteen Eighty-Four Essay Question

Marko’s following essay was written in response to the question:

“The representation of human experiences makes us more aware of the intricate nature of humanity.” In your response, discuss this statement with detailed reference to George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.

State-Ranking Common Module Essay Response

George Orwell’s 1949 Swiftian satire Nineteen Eighty-Four invites us to appreciate the intricate nature of humanity by representing how the abuse of power by totalitarian governments degrades our individual and collective experiences. (Link to rubric through individual/collective experiences, and a clear cause and effect argument: totalitarian governance -> degraded human experience. Also, comments on the genre of Swiftian satire. Value!) Orwell explores how oppressive authorities suppress the intricate societal pillars of culture, expression and freedom to maintain power. He then reveals how this suppression brutalises individual human behaviour and motivations because it undermines emotion and intricate thought. (Link to rubric through ‘human behaviour and motivations’, and extended cause and effect in which the first paragraph explores the collective ‘cause’ and the second paragraph explores the individual ‘effect’. This is an easy way to structure your arguments whilst continuously engaging with the rubric!) Ultimately, he argues that we must resist the political apathy that enables oppressive governments to maintain power and crush human intricacy. Therefore, his representation of human experiences not only challenges us to consider the intricate nature of humanity, but exhorts us to greater political vigilance so we can preserve it. (Concluding sentence that broadens the scope of the question and reaffirms the purpose of the text).

Orwell makes us aware of the intricate nature of humanity by representing how totalitarian authorities suppress intricate collective experiences of culture, expression and freedom in order to assert control. (This is the ‘collective’ paragraph – a cause and effect argument that relates the question to the loss of human intricacy in the collective as a result of totalitarian rule). His bleak vision was informed by Stalin’s USSR: a regime built upon the fabrication of history in Stalin’s ‘cult of personality’, and ruthlessly enforced by the NKVD. (Specific context – an actual specific regime is named and some details about its enforcement are given). The symbolic colourlessness and propaganda-poster motif he uses to describe London reflects the loss of human intricacy and culture under such leadership: “there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere.” (First example sets up the world of the text, and the degraded collective experience). Orwell uses the telescreens, dramatically capitalised “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” posters and allusions to Stalin in Big Brother’s “black-moustachio’d face” as metonyms for how governmental surveillance dominates both physical and cultural collective experiences. Winston’s metatextual construction of the fictitious “Comrade Ogilvy” serves as a symbol for the vast, worthless masses of information produced by totalitarian governments to undermine the intricacy of real human history: “Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed…would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.” Similarly, Orwell’s satirical representation of Newspeak ignites the idea that political slovenliness causes self-expression to degrade, which in turn destroys our capacity for intricate thought and resistance: “we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” (The examples above prove that the government’s leadership style truly is totalitarian, and that it results in a loss of intricacy and ‘humanity’ in the collective. It’s good to cover a variety of examples that explore different facets of the collective – for example, the first example establishes the extreme surveillance, the second example establishes the loss of ‘truth’/history, and the third example establishes the loss of language). The political bitterness that marks Nineteen Eighty-Four as a Swiftian satire (This is a link to the ‘Swiftian’ term used in the thesis statement. It’s important to refer back to any descriptive terms you use in your thesis) ultimately culminates in O’Brien’s monologue, where Orwell juxtaposes the politicised verb “abolish” to symbols of human intricacy, “we shall abolish the orgasm…there will be no art, no literature, no science…when we are omnipotent”, to express how totalitarian rulers suppress collective experiences to gain metaphoric omnipotence. Thus, Orwell makes us aware of the intricate nature of humanity by representing a future in which totalitarian governments suppress it. (A linking sentence that ties it all back to the question and rephrases the point)

Orwell then argues that the effect of this suppression is a loss of human intricacy that brutalises society and devalues individual experiences. (Cause and effect argument that links collective suppression to a loss of human intricacy on an individual scale – continuous engagement with the question and the rubric!) Orwell’s exposure to the widespread hysteria of Hitler’s Nazi regime, caused by the Nuremberg Rallies and Joseph Goebbels’ virulent anti-semitic propaganda, informs his representation of Oceania’s dehumanised masses. (More specific context around the Nazis, and a specific link to how it informed his work) The burlesque Two Minute Hate reveals human inconsistency by representing how even introspective, intelligent characters can be stripped of their intricacy and compassion by the experience of collective hysteria: even Winston wishes to “flog [Julia] to death with a rubber truncheon…ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax”, and is only restored by compliance to the Christ-like totalitarian authority, “My-Saviour!”, Big Brother. (A link to the rubric with the ‘human inconsistency’ point) Orwell frequently juxtaposes dehumanising representations of the proles, “the proles are not human beings”, to political sloganism: “As the Party slogan put it: ‘Proles and animals are free’”, to argue that in such a collectively suppressed society, the upper class grow insensitive towards the intricate nature of those less privileged. (It’s important to link the proles into your argument – they’re often forgotten, but they’re a big part of the text!) He asserts that this loss of empathy degrades the authenticity and intricacy of human relationships, characterised by Winson’s paradoxically hyperbolic repulsion towards his wife: “[Katharine] had without exception the most stupid, vulgar, empty mind that he had every encountered”. (Continuous engagement with the question and rubric: make sure to recycle rubric terms – here, done with ‘paradoxically’ – and question terms – here, with ‘intricacy’)  Winston’s “betrayal” of Julia symbolises how totalitarianism ultimately brutalises individuals by replacing their compassion for intricate ideals such as love with selfish pragmatism: “Do it to Julia…Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me!” Therefore, Orwell makes us more aware of the intricate nature of humanity by demonstrating how it can be robbed by suppressive governments and collective hysteria. (A linking sentence that sums up the paragraph).

By making us aware of how totalitarian governments suppress meaningful human experiences both individually and collectively, Orwell challenges us to resist so we can preserve our intricate nature. (This third paragraph discusses Orwell’s purpose as a composer. This can in general be a helpful way to structure paragraphs: Collective, Individual, Purpose) Orwell’s service in the 1930s Spanish Civil War as part of the Republican militia fighting against fascist-supported rebels positions him to satirise the political apathy of his audience. (Integration of personal context is useful here to justify Orwell’s motivations. It’s also a lot fresher than just including another totalitarian regime Orwell was exposed to) Orwell alludes to this through the metaphor of Winston’s diarising as an anomalous individual experience of resistance, ““[Winston] was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear,” which highlights how his intricate nature persists even in a suppressive society. Often, Orwell meta-fictively addresses his own context, as “a time when thought is free…when truth exists”, to establish an imperative to preserve our intricate human nature while we still can. The Julia romance trope (It’s good to include terms such as ‘trope’ which reflect your understanding of narrative structure and the overall form of the work.) represents how Winston’s gradual rejection of his political apathy empowered him to experience an authentic, intricately human relationship that subverts his totalitarian society: “the gesture with which [Julia] had thrown her clothes aside…[belonged] to an ancient time. Winston woke up with the word ‘Shakespeare’ on his lips.” Orwell juxtaposes Julia’s sexuality to Shakespeare, an immediately-recognisable metonym for culture and history, to argue that human intricacy can only be restored by actively resisting the dehumanising influence of the government. Orwell also represents Winston’s desensitised and immediate devotion to the Brotherhood to reflect how the preservation of human intricacy is a cause worth rebelling for, even by paradoxically unjust means: “[Winston was] prepared to commit murder…acts of sabotage which may cause the deaths of hundreds of innocent people…throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face.” (More chronological examples that show Winston’s transformation throughout the text. It’s useful to explore and contrast those who resist with those who don’t resist, and how just the act of resistance in some way restores our humanity! That’s why this paragraph comes after the ‘brutalised individual experience’ paragraph) However, Orwell ultimately asserts that it is too late for Winston to meaningfully restore humanity’s intricate nature, and concludes the text with his symbolic death and acceptance of the regime, “[Winston] had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” (It’s important to remember that Orwell ends the text so miserably so that he can motivate his audiences not to do the same thing). The futility of this ending ignites the idea that we must not only be aware of our intricate nature, but must actively resist oppressive governments while we still can in order to preserve it. (A linking sentence that ties the paragraph together and justifies the futility of the ending)

Therefore, Orwell’s representation of human experiences in Nineteen Eighty-Four encourages us to reflect personally on our own intricate human nature, and challenges us to fight to preserve it. (Engages with the question (through the reflection point), and includes Orwell’s purpose as a composer). His depiction of a totalitarian government’s unchecked assertion of power on human culture and freedom, and the brutalising impact this has on individual and collective experiences, ultimately galvanises us to reject political apathy. (Your argument summaries can often be combined into a sentence or two in the conclusion now that the marker knows what you’re talking about. This reinforces the cause and effect structure as well.) Thus, the role of storytelling for Orwell is not only to make us more aware of our intricate nature, but to prove that we must actively resist oppressive governments while we still can in order to preserve it. (The clincher! It’s often useful to add “not only” in your final sentence to reinforce the massive scope of the text)

If reading this essay has helped you, you may also enjoy reading Marko’s ultimate guide to writing 20/20 HSC English essays .

P.S If you have any questions about aceing HSC English , you are welcome to learn from Marko and join one of Project Academy’s HSC English classes on a 3 week trial .

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1984 Essay Topics & Examples

What can you say about the famous George Orwell’s book? With the 1984 essay topics and research titles gathered by our team , you’ll easily find the right words.

🏆 Best 1984 Essay Topics & Examples

📌 most interesting essay topics for 1984, 👍 good 1984 research paper topics, ❓ 1984 essay questions.

  • George Orwell’s 1984: Winston and Julia’s Relationship Essay In the relationship, Julia teaches Winston the idea of love, and the love feeling is then manipulated and directed towards Big Brother.
  • Historical Parallels Between George Orwell’s 1984 and Today Perhaps that is clearly illustrated by the quote that presupposes that whoever can control the past, has power to control the future; while whoever has the ability to control the present, wields the right to […]
  • The Aspects of Human Nature That George Orwell Criticizes in His Work 1984 Compared to Today’s World The aspects of human nature that George Orwell criticizes in his work 1984 compared to today’s world Orwell in the novel 1984 represents the modern society be it capitalist or communist.
  • Language in Orwell’s 1984 as a Means of Manipulation and Control One of the key themes in the novel is the control over language and rewriting history. Thus, it is apparent that control of language leads to the restriction of people’s feelings and thoughts.
  • Comparison of G. Orwell’s “1984”, R. Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and A. Huxley’s “Brave New World” The leadership is in charge of virtually each and every single activity that takes place in the lives of the inhabitants of the society.
  • The Declaration of Independence and 1984 by George Orwell Another feature that relates the Declaration of Independence to 1984 is a demonstration of the tyranny of the ruler and the restriction of the citizen’s rights.
  • Literature Comparison: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “1984” It can be said that while both of these books address the issue of hidden methods of coercion, Nineteen-eighty Four provides a bleak vision of the future in which the whole of society is controlled […]
  • Dystopias “Brave New World” by Huxley and “1984” by Orwell The modern world is full of complications and the moments when it seems like a dystopia the darkest version of the future. In the novel, promiscuity is encouraged, and sex is a form of entertainment.
  • Two Opposite Worlds: “Utopia” and “1984” More criticizes the laws of the contemporary European society; he highlights that other countries, in the East for instance, have more fair laws; and after that he starts depicting Utopia, where all people live and […]
  • Analysis of Enemy of the People and Nineteen Eighty Four Hovard evidences a good example of the barrier of doing the right things due to influences and the need to fulfill the desires of the people even if they are wrong.
  • The Dystopian Societies of “1984” and Brave New World The three features which are discussed in this respect are the division of the two societies into social strata, the use of state power and control over citizens, and the loss of people’s individualities.
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Introduction of 1984

The novel , 1984, was published back in 1949 in June, is a dystopian fiction by George Orwell . It spellbound generations and it continues to do so since its first appearance. The novel was a myth breaker, but it also proved prophetic in giving out the truth and the predictions and forebodings of futuristic political instability, especially mass surveillance. The novel revolves around Winston Smith and his co-worker, Julia, who hated their Party. However, they could not leave it on account of constant surveillance of ‘Big Brother’. They even prove tools to surveil each other.

Summary of 1984

The novel starts in 1984 when the world, after having witnessed wars and revolutions, is finally having a break. There is peace in the three states, among which Oceania is one, where the Party is in the government. Its Ingsoc is being led by Big Brother, an elusive party demagogue, who is meant to watch everybody. This is the condition of Airstrip One, an Oceania province. To uproot dissidents, the Thought Police is active through Telescreens, removing dissidents from the scene.

Winston Smith, a middle-class worker of the Outer Party, is now living in the London urban center and doing a job in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to revise history to conform to Ingsoc’s demands. His task involves revising The Times, a magazine, and destroying its older versions. Interestingly, he harbors dreams of changing or opposing the rules of the Thought Party but also feels guilty of being a ‘thought-criminal’. He is aware that someday he is vulnerable to arrest. It happens that his meeting with Mr. Charrington, an antique connoisseur, leads him to write an anti-party and anti-Big Brother diary, saying that hopes lie with the public.

However, his disappointment reaches new heights when his visit to a prole transpires him about these crackpots . He talks to an old man, who seemed to be suffering from amnesia. As Julia is working with him on a novel, he suspects her for espionage against him. Even his boss, O’Brien, too, is a suspect of doing the same. However, he seems to be a formal member of the Brotherhood, the resistance movement against the Party organized by Emmanuel Goldstein, the opponent of Big Brother. When Smith talks to Syme, another worker, who is engaged in revising Newspeak, comes to know that he would disappear. He seems intelligent and has learned the prospect of revising a newspaper, whose objective, he states is to reduce the thinking capacity of human beings. Following this, he meets his neighbor, Parsons, from whom he learned about the Hate Week preparation.

Winston is immersed in these thoughts when Julia hands over to him a letter confessing her love for him. However, their love affair proves stifling, for intimacy minus descendants is merely an exercise they go through every day. He comes to know that Julia is also a secret opponent of the Party, though, she has no desire to put a political front against the Party, as she knows it is futile. After they believe that they may get caught for their love and meeting, they start dating in a room they rent above the shop of Mr. Charrington. During these love meetings, he also recalls his family and the disappearance of his siblings during the civil war. Although he is a married man having no love for his wife, Katharine, and he cannot divorce her. He knows that the Party does not approve of it. Soon he comes to know that Syme has also disappeared after which O’Brien visits him to invite him to his residence.

When Winston visits him, he is impressed by his luxurious flat but is stunned to know that O’Brien is an active dissident of the Party and the Brotherhood member. Finding no response, O’Brien, later, sends him Goldstein’s book to learn about oligarchical practices. When the Hate Week of the country arrives, suddenly Winston observes the change of enmity toward Eastasia from Eurasia after which the minister recalls him to make new changes in the historical records. Following this, Winston meets Julia and reads the book about how the Party keeps hold of the people, how it moves the people through sloganeering, and how it manages wars to make people stay busy. The main argument , however, lies in that it also seeks to overthrow the Party through proles, though, the book lacks the answer why.

As expected, soon Julia and Winston are arrested when Mr. Charrington is revealed to be an agent of the Thought Police. Although Winston comes into interaction with his other arrested colleagues, he soon meets O’Brien, who proves another agent of the department, having part of the operation to hook him in this supposed crime. During his imprisonment, he undergoes severe torture, starvation, and treatment that intends to indoctrinate him. During this new indoctrination, Winston learns from O’Brien that the Party demonstrates the authority to display their undeniable power . Though, Winston argues his case that he accepts everything but that the Party has not succeeded in coercing him to betray Julia to whom he is associated. He also thinks that he would emerge even after his execution that would be his moment of triumph against the Party.

Infuriated, O’Brien brings him to 101 room where indoctrination reaches its final stage of re-education. Here the prisoner is forced to confront his worst fear or paranoia. Winston soon sees facing a cage full of rats, a creature he is afraid of. He expresses his willingness after this punishment to betray Julia and work for the Party. However, when he comes face to face with Julia, he feels that she betrays the same feelings. On the other hand, Oceania’s victory against Eurasia is announced through media at which Winston echoes indoctrination in his slogan that he loves Big Brother.

Major Themes in 1984

  • Totalitarianism: 1984 shows totalitarianism in its true shape and also warns the readers of its consequences of robbing human beings of the very emotions that make us. The curb on civil liberties and personal freedom are reflected through Julia and Winston’s love affair that, though they try their best, yet their consummation is the betrayal from both sides. Another feature of this totalitarianism prevalent in Oceania is the one-party system of the Party where all and diverse groups are involved in worshiping the elusive Big Brother. Everything can be compared to having a cult personality. Everybody proves an agent of the Party, spying on everybody else with no room for peaceful co-existence. The final slogan of Winston that he loves Big Brother is his frustration at having no freedom.
  • Propaganda : The novel also shows the use of organized mass propaganda initiated by the Party through its Ministry of Truth where revision of history books and old magazines is underway. It is Winston’s and his friends’ responsibility to twist facts and create fictions to make the Party seem true. The public feeding system has a very strong establishment to continue with which the Party and Big Brother want to feed the public.
  • Love/Sexuality: The loss of love and suppression of sensual desires is another thematic strand that runs throughout the novel. When Winston shows an inclination to befriend Julia, he also shows his neutral feelings toward his wife. On the other hand, Julia, too, does not show the same passion and soon forgets him when he is trapped in trouble. In fact, love and intimacy have undergone depersonalization through an excessive passion for “duty to the Party” which is a means to give birth to the party loyal workers rather than having it enjoyment of the conjugal life. Failure of Winston’s conjugal life with Katharine and unfortunate love for Julia points to this theme .
  • Independence : The theme of personal freedom and independence is too obvious through the character of Winston who, though, works independently, does not feel that every other person could be the Party agent. Even O’Brien and Julia belong to the group who yearn for freedom. Though Winston considers O’Brien sympathetic to his ideas in the beginning.
  • Identity: The novel shows that most of the characters have names but no identities. The most popular is Big Brother who has the power to know the ideas, thinking, and percepts of the subjects of Oceania. When Winston asks O’Brien that after all, he is a man during his torture, he responds to him with his own argument that he is the last one on this earth. It shows how totalitarian regimes rob a person of his identity and freedom to think.
  • Political Loyalty : The surveillance of Big Brother is powerful, inescapable, and intrusive. When Winston starts thinking about rebellious ideas, everything starts working against him. When he comes to know that Mr. Charrington’s flat is bugged, Winston is horrified and then it turns out that Charrington is also the Party agent including O’Brien who is his co-conspirator. That is why seeing no way out by the end Winston raises the slogan of loyalty to Big Brother.
  • Poverty vs. Wealth : Although it is a socialist system, the Party shows this contradiction in the living standard through its inner and outer circles in that the inner circle lives in luxury and wealth with servants and other gadgets at their beck and call , while the inner circle is trapped in a routinized lifestyle. The ordinary members have to lead a low-quality life with ordinary food, devoid of love, and family pleasures. That is why Winston finds new love and O’Brien looks at London with nostalgia .
  • Technification of Society : The novel also shows the theme of the technification of society in such a way that the people are not immune to propaganda. They do not have an option to think freely. The Thought Police have intrusive sources of telescreens to measure public thinking and change it likewise. However, it is ironic that despite showing such technological progress, some of the mechanical tasks are still lying in the realm of human beings such as Winston’s revision of history, printing machines in the Ministry of Truth, and living in apartments. Perhaps, as the book was written before the technology was discovered the author had given his best guess regarding today’s technical advances. Now, we have GPS and it is easy to trace anyone.
  • Use and Abuse of Language: The novel shows the use of language in controlling the public. The party uses several sources such as the Ingsoc system, Newspeak magazine, and doublethink strategy to change the thinking of the people. Winston and O’Brien are employed for this very task in the Ministry of Truth to abuse language to hoodwink the public.

Major Characters in 1984

  • Winston Smith: Winston Smith, is the protagonist and main character of 1984. He is a 39 years old man, working in the Party office in Oceania. His task includes correction of errors in the documents of the Party and revision of the history in the old magazines. However, his lurking animosity for the Party’s authoritarianism leads him to befriend the Party agents who pose them as rebels working to overthrow Big Brother. Despite his marriage, he falls in love with Julia and has an affair, another Party worker, though this affair ends prematurely. Winston is caught, and he does not seek disagreement when he is given up by agents. He undergoes severe physical and mental torture. Seeing no way out, he secures his release by raising a slogan in support of Big Brother. He knows that with excessive surveillance nobody can slip out of the Party clutches. Though he carries his old feelings, after the release he suppresses it and becomes animated just like everyone.
  • Julia: Julia, a young woman, and the Party Worker, also works with Winston in the same department and almost in the same capacity. Although she responds to Winston’s advances with positive overtures, her frigidness, demonstrated later, shows that she might have alerted the Party high command about Winston’s rebellious nature. Despite demonstrating some opposing ideas, she does not think it an ideal course of action to stage overthrow of the Party. That is why she also undergoes torture but demonstrates much improvement after they win release. She also proves more loyal than before after her release.
  • O’Brien: O’Brien is the inner party member and holds a top position. He suspects that Winston might be rebellious, and he becomes alert. He immediately plans to hook Winston through his espionage and gets him arrested. Working as a dedicated government servant, O’Brien has various natural contradictions in his character except for his fidelity and loyalty to the Party and Big Brother.
  • Big Brother: Big Brother is an elusive character and the main leader of the Party. He is also the ruler of Oceania, who is popular for his omnipresent surveillance capabilities. The phrase “ BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU ” is the catchword in Oceania. Although some of the citizens, like Winston, think that he does not exist, it seems that somebody has adopted this name to terrify the population into submission. He seems the symbol of the all-powerfulness of the ruling faction.
  • Parsons: Mrs. Parsons is the second female character after Julia. As a neighbor of Winston, she seems to be tired of this rule despite being a mother of the two children working in the Spies and Youth Language. She later, hands over both of their parents to the Thought Police for their political edification.
  • Tom Parsons: Tom Parsons’ significance in the novel lies in his being a jolly and simple neighbor of Winston. He despises Parsons for his all-acceptance mentality. He becomes the victim of his children’s espionage activity who hands him over to the Thought Police for the edification of his political ideas.
  • Charrington: Charrington’s significance in the novel lies in his secretive nature of work for the Thought Police. Surprisingly and sadly, Winston, he seems a simpleton antique shopkeeper. Winston does not know his reality when he meets Julia in the apartment on the upper floor of his shop. However, the truth is only revealed after their arrest.
  • Katharine: She is Winston’s wife, though he does not discuss her much and she appears only when his flirtation with Julia starts. Katharine is loyal to the Party and the government and is only interested in childbearing responsibility.

Writing Style 1984‎

George Orwell is popular for his pithy, symbolic, and well-knit writings as a seasoned writer and a veteran political commentator. His authorial intrusions in his narratives are prominent, as he often employs foreshadowing about political predictions and future events. The most important is the use of symbols, phrases, and suitable diction that make his narrative effective though this futuristic outlook sometimes looks far-fetched. It has won him a great readership across the globe. His style is also marked with the short, curt and concise slogans, which have now become popular catchphrases in the political circles.

Analysis of Literary Devices in 1984

  • Action: The main action of the novel comprises the conflict of Winston Smith with the oppression of the Party in Oceania. The rising action occurs when he starts dating Julia and meeting O’Brien about dissidence and resistant movement. The falling action occurs when he faces arrest and subsequent torture with the final sloganeering in support of Big Brother.
  • Adage : It means the use of a statement that becomes a universal truth. The novel, 1984, shows this use of the statement in its famous sentence given in all capitals; “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” (Chapter-1)
  • Allegory : 1984 shows the use of allegory in its political story that demonstrates that totalitarianism is unsuitable for human beings, power brings corruption and absolute power brings absolute corruption. It also shows that some characters may not exist without their ideational representation such as Big Brother, while others have been made to represent abstract ideas. Surprisingly, this allegory is very much applicable to current times.
  • Antagonist : At first, it appears that Big Brother is the main antagonist of 1984 in the opening chapters. However, as the story progresses O’Brien is revealed to be the antagonist later when he leads the arrest of Winston Smith after becoming his confidant in resistance against the Party.
  • Allusion : There are various examples of allusions given in the novel, 1984. However, some of these may be modern allusions Orwell might not have in mind when writing it such as surveillance tools used by the internet companies, the rise of Communism, and the implementation of the communist system. The references of Ingsoc, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia are to the Russian communist system, while the three states refer to the Managerial Revolution written by James Burnham and published in 1941.
  • Conflict : The are two types of conflicts in the novel, 1984. The first one is the external conflict that starts among Winston Smith, the Party, and its agents in which he faces defeat when he faces arrest after O’Brien betrays him. The second is the internal conflict that is going on in his mind about his ideas of freedom and rights, and the system of the Party in which he is living and working.
  • Characters: 1984 presents both static as well as dynamic characters. Winston Smith is a dynamic character who changes, though, he becomes the same again. However, all the rest of the characters are merely puppets of the Party. Hence, they are all static or flat characters .
  • Climax : The climatic in the novel occurs in the second chapter when the love of Julia and Winston reaches its peak and both start dating each other, but the Thought Police arrest them.
  • Foreshadowing : The first example of foreshadowing in the novel occurs when the first chapter opens as “It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week” (Chapter-1). The slogan of “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” is also a type of foreshadowing which heralds the use of telescreens, the Thought Police, and the siblings spying on the parents.
  • Hyperbole : Hyperbole or exaggeration occurs at several places in the book. For example, i. The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting three hundred million people all with the same face. (Chapter-1) ii. He knew what it meant, or thought he knew. The place where there is no darkness was the imagined future, which one would never see, but which, by foreknowledge, one could mystically share in. (Chapter-1)
  • Imagery : Imagery means the use of five senses for the description. For example, i. The person immediately ahead of him in the queue was a small, swiftly-moving, beetle-like man with a flat face and tiny, suspicious eyes. (Chapter-1) ii. From over scrubby cheekbones eyes looked into Winston’s, sometimes with strange intensity, and flashed away again. (Chapter-1) iii. The sunlight, filtering through innumerable leaves, was still hot on their faces. (Chapter-1) The first example shows images of sight, the second one of sound and color, and the third one also shows of color.
  • Metaphor : 1984 shows good use of various metaphors . For example, i. Chocolate normally was dullbrown crumbly stuff. (Chapter-1) ii. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour” (Chapter-1) iii. Folly, folly, his heart kept saying: conscious, gratuitous, suicidal folly. (Chapter-1)
  • Mood : The novel, 1984, shows a satirical tone . However, it also shows characters to be sarcastic and ironic at times according to the circumstances and contexts . It, however, becomes tense during the love affair of Winston and Julia.
  • Narrator : The novel, 1984 is told from a third-person point of view . It is also called an omniscient narrator who happens to be the author himself as he can see things from all perspectives . Here George Orwell is the narrator of 1984.
  • Personification : Personification means to attribute human acts and emotions to non-living objects . For example, i. ‘If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say this or that even, it never happened—that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture. (Chapter-1) ii. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. (Chapter-4) iii. Both of these examples show the Party and power personified.
  • Protagonist : Winston Smith is the protagonist of the novel. He enters the novel from the very start and captures the interest of the readers until the last page.
  • Paradox : 1984 shows the use of paradox in slogans such as war is peace , freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength (Chapter-1)
  • Rhetorical Questions : The novel shows good use of rhetorical questions at several places. For example, ‘Why should it be? And if it were, what difference would that make? Suppose that we choose to wear ourselves out faster. Suppose that we quicken the tempo of human life till men are senile at thirty. Still what difference would it make? Can you not understand that the death of the individual is not death? The party is immortal.’ (Chapter-4) This example shows the use of rhetorical questions and their answers given by the same character, O’Brien.
  • Theme : A theme is a central idea that the novelist or the writer wants to stress upon. The novel, 1984, not only shows the futuristic thematic idea but also demonstrates human sufferings, love, hate, political ideals and several others.
  • Setting : The setting of the novel, 1984, is further Oceania state and its city of London.
  • Simile : The novel shows good use of various similes. For example, i. His tiny sister, clinging to her mother with both hands, exactly like a baby monkey. (Chapter-1) ii. He clung to O’Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy arm around his shoulders. (Chapter-2) The first simile compares the girl, Winston’s sister, to a tiny monkey and second Winston to a baby.

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Johannes Helmold

“ 1984 ” is a novel about totalitarianism and the fate of a single man who tried to escape from an overwhelming political regime. The book was written by the British writer and journalist George Orwell in 1948 and had the Soviet Union as a prototype of the social structure described in it.

Events in the book take place in London, a capital of Airstrip One, which is a province of the state of Oceania. The year is 1984, and the world is engaged in an endless omnipresent war. The political regime called Ingsoc (a misspelled abbreviation for English Socialism) constantly seeks out ways to control the minds and private lives of its citizens. The regime is run by the Party, headed by a half mythical Big Brother. The main protagonist of the novel is Winston Smith, an editor in the Ministry of Truth, which is responsible for propaganda. He has doubts about imposed dogmas that are shared by the majority, and at heart, he hates the Party and the Big Brother.

Winston buys a thick notebook where he writes down his thoughts about the reality that surrounds him. In his world, each step of the individual is controlled by the Thought Police, whose main function is to punish people who think differently from what is contained in the official propaganda. Everyone reports on each other, and even children are taught and encouraged to denounce their parents. Winston knows he commits a crime when he denies the Party’s slogan: “War is Peace. Slavery is Freedom. Ignorance is Strength,” but still he writes in his diary: “Down with the Big Brother.”

At work, Winston recalls recent “Two Minutes Hate” periods of time, when all Party members must gather in special rooms where they watch a short film about Emmanuel Goldstein, the former leader of the Party, who betrayed it and organized the underground movement called the Brotherhood. People are obliged to express hatred towards Goldstein’s image on the screen. During one of these periods, Winston fixates on O’Brien—a member of the most powerful Inner Party. For some reason, Winston imagines that O’Brien could be one of the leaders of the Brotherhood. He wants to talk to him, and he even has a dream in which O’Brien’s voice says: “We shall meet at the place where there is no darkness.”

After the Two Minutes Hate, he received a note from a girl named Julia that reads “I love you.” Julia is a member of the Anti-Sex League, so at first, Winston treats her with mistrust, and he even considers her to be a member of the Thought Police. However, she manages to prove to him that she hates the Party too and they start a love affair. It brings Winston to the thought that they are both doomed, because free romantic relationships between a man and a woman are prohibited. Julia is more optimistic about their situation, because she simply lives in the present moment and does not think about the future. They meet in an old second-hand shop in the Prols’ district—a place where people who have not yet joined the Party life. They seem to be more free and light-hearted than the rest of Airstrip’s One population.

Eventually, Winston and Julia get arrested. They are held separately, tortured, and interrogated. Winston is beaten by jailers and he is forced to confess to various crimes, legitimate and fictional. But still, the physical pain is nothing for him compared to the shock that he experiences when he meets O’Brien and finds that he is a loyal servant of the Big Brother. O’Brien uses a special device that causes incredible pain to “re-educate” Winston, make him love the Big Brother and adopt all the Party’s false dogmas. Winston resists and he declares that despite the fact that, under torture, he has betrayed everything he valued and believed in, there is one person that he is still devoted to: Julia. But here, Orwell depicts the Party’s endless possibilities to monitor the thoughts of each citizen in Oceania. The Party knows exactly what Winston fears most, though it is a secret for Winston himself. O’Brien puts a swarm of rats in front of his victim’s face and, driven to panic and horror, Winston finally cries: “Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off and strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!”

The novel ends with a description of how Winston is sitting in a cafe, drinking gin. Sometimes he meets Julia occasionally, but they dislike each other now because they know that both of them are traitors. Winston looks at the screen, where an announcer gladly informs everyone that Oceania has won the recent war, and he understands that he now loves the Big Brother. The system managed to break and completely remake Winston.

Orwell, George. 1984 . London: Penguin Books Limited, 2005. Print.

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — 1984 — “1984” George Orwell: Quote Analysis


"1984" George Orwell: Quote Analysis

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examples of essay 1984

Common Module – Essay on 1984 (Multiple Examples)


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ESSAY WITHOUT ADAPTIVE MATERIAL ANDJUST SYLLABUS: Texts shape the audience’s understanding of individual and collective human experiences, as they reveal the complexity of human qualities and emotions. George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eight-Four (1949), represents how a totalitarian authority controls individuals by eradicating all personal freedom and individuality. Furthermore, Orwell demonstrates how within this political system, individuals are unable to establish genuine, loving relationships. Ultimately, Nineteen Eight-Four reveals how the power of storytelling influences an individual’s identity and their experience of the world. Hence, Orwell explores an individual’s interaction with the world and how this affects their lived experiences. Orwell portrays how individuals are restricted in their freedom of thought and expression within the control of a totalitarian government. Orwell represents Winston’s restriction of individuality through the kinesthetic imagery during “Two Minutes Hate”, “In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heels violently against the rung of his chair.“, which shows how Winston is overwhelmed into complying with society’s collective emotional reaction of rage towards Goldstein, even though he is not personally invested in the exchange. However, the capitalisation, “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” reveals how Winston is able to privately access his personal truth of disagreement towards the Party’s ideology and express his desire to overcome their beliefs. Winston’s desires to overthrow the party are revealed when he confesses his motives to O’Brien in the anaphora, “We are enemies of the Party. We disbelieve Ingsoc. We are thought criminals.”which reveals Winston’s newfound sense of individuality, as he is able to openly express his complete rejection of the Party’s expectations, and admit his unwillingness to obey their expectations in favour of free thinking. Despite Winston’s ability to freely admit his thoughts, the Party inevitably is able to oppress this through violence, as conveyed by O’Brien’s violent imagery, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” This symbolises how the Party disregards the individual experiences of its citizens and utilises fear to intimidate society into a collective acceptance of their ideology. Winston is ultimately shown to surrender to this collective acceptance as upon his release from the Ministry of Love, he unquestioningly rejoices for the Party’s military achievements in the auditory imagery, “He was with the crowds outside, cheering himself deaf.” The juxtaposition between his final compliance and his earlier wary participation in Two Minutes Hate portrays how Winston’s individuality has been eradicated, to ensure his full compliance to the Party.

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