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1984 Essay Topics

  1. 12-12-2005, 11:00 PM#1
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    Topics for 1984 paper

    Hey guys-
    I was wondering if anyone could give me some ideas or topics to write a paper on for Orwell's 1984. I really loved the book, but I can't seem to think of a great essay topic to write about! (my weekly case of writer's block, i suppose?) Thanks for any help!
    Everybody's wearing a disguise To hide what they've got left behind their eyes. But me, I can't cover what I am.-- Bob Dylan

    And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
    Love itself shall slumber on.--P.B. Shelley Rest in peace, my friend.

  2. 12-13-2005, 02:03 PM#2
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    Here are a few . . .

    1) Orwell wrote '1984', in part, as a warning against the Soviets and their totalitarianism and their great social experiment. Compare and contrast the Soviet Communist party with the Party in '1984.' Compare and contrast life in Oceania versus life in the Soviet Union.

    2) Julia and Winston both hate Big Brother and the Party, but their motives are very different. Compare and contrast the motives behind Winston's and Julia's opposition to the Party. How do they differ in their ideas of fatalism?

    3) How does Newspeak enable the Party to control thought and limit emotion? How important is Newspeak in the plan for perpetual Party power?

    4) What role do the Proles play in the society of Oceania? Do they provide a link to the past, as Winston hopes to find?

  3. 12-13-2005, 02:32 PM#3

    Prole is a corruption of the word proletariat (worker), as in the supposed dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union. In truth the Soviet Union was a dictatorship of Communist Party bureaucrats from day one. Workers weren't treated any better than they were in capitalist systems. They were used like tools and party leaders felt the means justified the ends (as all politicians do.)

    But the wisest statement I ever read about politics was this: "There are no ends, there's only means." Ends are dreams -- pie in the sky bye and bye. Means are realities that ordinary people have to live with on a day to day basis. If only politicians could learn this simple truth ...
    Originally Posted by cr4909
    What role do the Proles play in the society of Oceania?
  4. 12-17-2005, 11:04 PM#4
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    Everybody's wearing a disguise To hide what they've got left behind their eyes. But me, I can't cover what I am.-- Bob Dylan

    And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
    Love itself shall slumber on.--P.B. Shelley Rest in peace, my friend.
    Thanks for the suggestions, I went with the theme of why Big Brother rationed or ended sensual pleasures like aromatic and enjoyable food, makeup, and sex.

  5. 12-22-2005, 06:10 PM#5

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  • 1

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

  • 2

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

  • 3

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

  • 4

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

  • 5

    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?

  • 6

    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?

  • 7

    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?

  • 8

    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?

  • 9

    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?

  • 10

    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.

  • 11

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