George Orwell’s 1984 is more than a work of fiction. It is a dire warning. Explore the means by which Orwell reaches through the decades and grabs us by the neck: what is he trying to tell us?
Phase 1- Research
- Make a decision about what aspect of 1984 is relevant to today. e.g. Totalitarian State, Control Through Fear, Invasion of Privacy, Newspeak vs Fake News, Surveillance, Thought Crime.
- Identify Key Moments and supporting quotes in 1984.
- Consider the actual 1984 era in the light of this.
- Research parallels with 2017. e.g. News Items, Media, New Media and Internet, Multinationals, Contemporary Dystopia.
- Decide on your lens. e.g. Feminism, Marxism, Dystopian Genre Study, Setting, Historical Context.
- Plan the structure of your answer.
- Draft a practice paragraph.
1) The aspect of 1984 that holds most relevance today is small percentages of the population holding the majority of the wealth and power. It the novel, the state is the controlling influence of the country, but in modern day society the situation is very similar, only corporate interests are the ones determining the way that resources are divided. In addition, the issue of surveillence is very topical nowadays, in a very similar way to 1984, with Governments being accused of spying on their citizens. The parallels are so evident that 1984 is topping bestseller lists again, decades after being written.
2) The first key moment is when Winston writes the diary, planting the seed for his thought crimes and attempted rebellion. Then Winston meets Julia, someone he can trust and share with, and he gets out of Big Brother’s constant gaze with her guidance. Later on, Winston joins O’Brien and commits to the idea of rebelling against the Party. Winston and Julia get caught, imprisoned, tortured. They betray each other, signifying the triumph of the Party (and therefore thematically power) over love and freedom. Winston loves Big Brother. The Party beats everyone eventually.