How To Write 1984 Essay Example
George Orwell's 1984 is one of the greatest literary works of dystopian fiction. It's a novel that captivates its readers with a thrilling, yet also the bleak story of extreme totalitarian life whereby people live under authoritarian rule, guided by a figure called Big Brother. Ordinary people are at the mercy of Big Brother and, if rules are not followed, one can end up being severely punished by the Thought Police and Big Brother’s people. Members of society live in an intense personality cult and are slaves to a party for which they are expected to pledge allegiance to and give everything they have towards. The novel follows the central protagonist, Winston Smith, through a journey of rebellion against the party that ultimately leads him confronting his worst fears.
There are a lot of thrilling novels out there but what could be more exciting than a tale of a fear mongering party and the authoritarian superpower that watches over your every move? Orwell's iconic piece of literature provides the perfect essay topic
for writing a great analysis essay. Packed full of tyranny, socialist fiction, and plotting, this novel employs some of the greatest themes imaginable to analyze in great detail.
What’s Your Essay All About?
Of course, your essay will be about Nineteen Eighty-Four, that's obvious! However, this is not going to cut it for a deep and meaningful analytical essay. Having read this novel, ask yourself what have been the most memorable parts for you? Are there any sections of this novel that have made a significant impact on you? If you can answer these questions and find something interesting for you to narrow your focus down on, you’re halfway there to writing a decent analytical essay.
Narrow down your focus, perhaps, think about one particular element in the story - you may believe that you know it all and that there are too many things you’d like to talk about but put your focus on only a few ideas. As a suggestion, you could try basing an essay on various literary devices that have been used such as the main symbols in the story. 1984 contains numerous powerful themes that you could discuss at great length, from totalitarianism and the control of information to technology - there’s a lot of things up for discussion. It’s all about getting a hot topic, so what are you most passionate about? Let’s explore a few suggestions.
Focusing on a Character
From Winston the main protagonist to Mr. Charrington, the characters in Orwell’s novel each have a unique outlook personality and attributes that make them shine. There are many things to talk about each character, but one favorite that you’re likely to provide real in-depth analysis on is O’Brien. He is, of course, the mysterious member of the inner party whom Winston trusts to be part of the anti-establishment rebel group but later betrayed his trust; however, you’ll need to go deeper than a pure description when making an analysis.
Winston looks up to O’Brien at the beginning of the novel, seeing him as more of a father figure that he can trust. He trusts him implicitly and believes that the two of them will be good friends that can work together on a common goal of rebellion. Even after O’Brien reveals himself as a traitor to Winson, in an odd kind of way he even seems to torture him with a certain degree of care. This caring attribute is a part of O’Brien’s character and a usual attribute of many fathers and parents. Within the purification process, O’Brien does whatever any good father wants and tries to get Winston to love Big Brother because he thinks this is the best thing for him, even if it involves torture.
Interestingly, O’Brien’s character follows more of devolution than an evolution throughout the novel. The reader begins by finding out more and more about O’Brien but after his betrayal, we begin to learn less and less about who he is - there’s more left to the reader’s imagination as O’Brien becomes increasingly mysterious. By the end of the novel, the reader is left wondering exactly who O’Brien is.
The mystery of O’Brien is, perhaps, best encapsulated by the phrase “they got me long ago”. What can be meant by this? This further adds to the reader’s imagination, Orwell intending the reader to ponder the meaning of this phrase. Does it mean that O’Brien was once a dissident and that party tortured him until he became more passive? Perhaps, this is the case, but possibly this is just another lie that O’Brien is commanding as to gain Winston’s trust and make brainwashing an easier process. It is also possible that O’Brien is putting on a facade, claiming that the party got him so that he avoids being tortured just like Winston.
Thematic analysis is one of the best common literary examinations that you can employ, giving you the ability to discuss the insight or message throughout a piece of work. There are several universal ideas that Orwell explores in Nineteen Eighty-Four that run throughout the work.
The Perils of Totalitarianism
Orwell was a socialist himself, but he has always objected to serious totalitarian society. He saw first hand what totalitarian regimes changed in Russian and Spanish governments, and this novel is a reflection of his animosity towards these regimes.
In 1984, Orwell paints the perfect picture of a pure totalitarian society, with absolute power and all people being subservient towards the party and Big Brother. Big Brother is the ultimate dictator watching over everything that people do, commanding total control. Even though the identity of Big Brother is not revealed throughout the novel, everything revolves around this person or entity and allegiance towards it is mandatory.
Even the title of the novel is symbolic, outlining that this is the way that things would pan out if totalitarianism wasn't confronted. The novel was published almost thirty years before the year Nineteen Eighty-Four and so Orwell viewed this scenario as highly plausible and a real possibility for society by that time.
Disloyalty to the party is completely forbidden and against the law, with Winston, unfortunately, succumbing to the ultimate of punishments for disobeying the totalitarian regime.