George Orwell’s novel 1984 demonstrates a dystopian society and explains the nature of totalitarian government, using extensive imagery. Orwell shows the anti-utopian regime from the perspective of a civil worker — Winston. He is an outer party member whose job is to rewrite history. In the book, we discover his viewpoints and get an impression of the dystopian world of Oceania, one of three countries that antagonize one another. Below, you will find tips on how to choose a topic for your 1984 essay.
George Orwell’s 1984 resides on the list of the best books ever written. It is a must-read literature piece; its characters are being discussed by people of all age groups, and the novel has become an inspiration for writing essays on many attention-grabbing topics. Most of the readers note the outstanding and detailed historicism of the book and the description of the leading political party’s deeds.
Some of you might think that the novel is too old and that most essay topics have already been covered. However, this is only partially true. You should remember that an essay is an explanation of the author’s thought process, and even if you take on a theme that has already been written about, your opinions can differ from the views of others.
For example, you might want to express your attitude to the doublethink phenomenon depicted in the book. You can find volumes of think pieces about this crucial Orwell’s idea, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not up for debate. Another solution is to contemplate a more complex issue that the novel brings up.
How to Choose an Effective Topic for Your 1984 Essay
To choose a relevant topic for Orwell’s 1984 essay, you should pay attention to social problems raised in this piece of literature. Below is a list of issues that could make an interesting subject for research:
- Gender balance in the novel — pay attention to the roles of men and women in the book. How is the relationship between the main character, Winston, and Julia depicted?
- Symbolism in the novel — what images and ideas have a direct relation to real-world events? What did the author want to say about historical events by using metaphors?
- Brainwashing — how does manipulating the history affect the novel’s characters? How does doublethink impact their behavior?
- Room 101 metaphor — think about the symbolic meaning of Room 101, where people meet their worst nightmares. What are the effects of this procedure?
- Power display — look at how power is demonstrated in the book. How does the Party show its supremacy?
- Technology use — in the novel, technology is used not to expand but to limit people’s freedom. You can write about how imposing machinery of this fictional world imprints itself on the mental and physical health of the characters;
- Historicism — find the correlation between the events in the book and real-world history. How does the struggle Orwell wrote about can be contrasted to the Second World War or the Soviet Union? Take a look at the past: when was the last period without any wars?
These research ideas can become fascinating and purposeful essay topics. Consider each of them and choose a subject that other students hadn’t yet delved in, or work with the more familiar ground. But, make a point of expressing your opinions and attitudes.
How to Come Up With an Innovative Idea
Coming up with an essay idea based on the novel nineteen eighty-four is a tall order. If you wish to be innovative and investigate an unconventional topic, pick a research area from the previous paragraph, and connect it to your imagination, or find a relation with the real world. Next up, we will propose some courses of thinking that might help you find an excellent idea for your subject.
First, think about the impact of technology in the book and real life. Are there any correlations between the antisocial effects of mass media? What details did the author want to exaggerate? Also, you can analyze the use of technology in the consequential nightmarish world of the novel and real countries. You might find some unexpected similarities.
Another thinking direction can be the connection between family and politics. In the novel, internal control enforced their order, and forbade people to express their feelings — you couldn’t have a love affair; you couldn’t even be open with your family. George Orwell’s 1984 demonstrates powerfully a dystopian society without love, where family ties are less important than respect from party members. Think about the Thought police in Oceania and their influence on a person’s mental health.
One of the most intriguing and impressive characters in the novel is Big Brother — a mysterious figure who is omnipresent. In one of the biggest power moves of the regime, the characters are continually reminded that Big Brother loves them. Orwell uses several literary techniques that reveal the meaning of the symbol of Big Brother in the real world. Can you recall some examples of the same governmental apparatus in real-life countries?
In your 1984 essay, your tutor might allow you to go beyond the novel and compare it to other literature pieces and their ideas. One of such options is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Utopian and dystopian literature, although considered extreme polarities, can often be found to have a lot in common when juxtaposed.
1984 Novel Essay Topic Examples
If you’ve ever tried to come up with a dystopian novel essay idea, you know you have to choose the subject first. Below is a list of essay topics that can be useful to you. `
- It is essential for the inner party that the citizens of Oceania are kept in a perpetual state of paranoia. Consider how this state of constant fear is achieved.
- George Orwell based the totalitarian society of 1984 on real dictators and civil war. Write about historical elements that influenced the author. Use examples from both history and the text.
- Winston finds himself fighting an overbearing, totalitarian government. Finally, he fails. Bring up the reasons concerning the characters and the politics that contribute to either success or failure.
- Choose the most useful method Big Brother utilizes to keep the population in a totalitarian state and discuss why it works the best in comparison to other such practices in the book 1984.
Doublethink in Orwell’s “1984” (Essay Sample)
In Orwell’s novel “1984”, the word “doublethink” has been developed to illustrate the way the citizens blindly supported the corrupt British government. Many people define this term as the capacity of one to hold two conflicting ideas at the same time as truth. A perfect example of doublethink would involve a case in which “two and two equals five,” as presented in the seventh chapter of Orwell’s story. The author uses this slogan as a false dogma that citizens were forced to believe as the ruling party was very influential to the point that if they said, “three plus three equals seven,” everyone would have to agree. Many people did not think of the conflicting ideas as enslaving since the administration would force them to think, value, as well as act in their favor. The latter allowed the government to make changes at any point without facing any opposition from the subjects by leading them into believing in the new propaganda and suppress the previous truth (Moran, 2018). Thus, this paper will argue that the use of the doublethink doctrine is wrong and should not be in place as it inhibits people’s freedom of thought as well as creates an atmosphere in which objective reality is continuously denied.
Doublethink slogan was utilized by the government to ensure that they pass corrupt bills with the least level of opposition. For instance, in the novel, the use of this principle allowed citizens to blindly support beliefs brought forth by the totalitarian administration, even if it was against their personal opinions. Studies have shown that doublethink is an outcome of deprivation of people’s freedom to act and think based on their free will (Anderson, 2016; Kaye & Chin, 2017). Thus, this model was employed by a corrupt government to enslave the people and deny them their right to speak in society. Researchers claim that by following the doublethink slogan, “people are trained to tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them” (Orwell, 1990). The quote reflects a situation in which the subjects are coerced into trusting in false information until they take them as truth regardless of the position they hold on the case.
Doublethink is also a risky practice as it tends to block the reality and fiction of the line in society. The author claims that this doctrine “denies the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of reality in which it negates” (Orwell, 1990). The quote implies that supporters of the doublethink slogan are only persuading themselves to follow an idea regardless of whether it conforms to objective truth or not. In the novel, if the totalitarian administration tells people that the use of fruits such as mangoes is harmful, they will have to believe even though they know it is a valuable source of vitamins. The party delivers messages that are designed to entice the people rather than help them face the truth (Orwell, 1990, p.52). There is also a case involving Winston sharing lies while writing a tale that he had been assigned to amend. Thus, doublethink is a terrible practice as it is used to further the interests of selfish leaders instead of all the people.
To conclude, Orwell’s novel has been able to show that since doublethink is developed based on totalitarian beliefs, it is perilous to use it in society today. The truth is that this model hinders people’s free will as well as their freedom of thought, which allows the administration to continue enslaving its citizens. Lastly, doublethink results in people denying the objective reality by making them believe what a corrupt third party, in this case, the British government, tells them.
- Anderson, M. (2016). Charter school reform: doublethink and the assault on the vulnerable. Journal of Thought, 50(3-4), 33-48.
- Kaye, S., & Chin, C. (2017). Donald Trump’s use of post-truth double-think politics is a threat to liberal democratic norms. USA pp–American Politics and Policy Blog.
- Moran, S. (2018). Control in WWII Novels: 1984 and Brave New World (Doctoral dissertation, Worcester Polytechnic Institute).
- Orwell, G. (1990). Nineteen Eighty-Four. 1949. The Complete Novels, 7.