1984 by George Orwell - Literary Analysis Essay

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According to Oxford Dictionaries, a dystopia is an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. (Oxford Dictionaries) In terms of literature, dystopia is a genre that depicts the place and atmosphere opposite to the writer’s ethos, which has different traits the readers may tend to avoid in the real-world (Jolley). as for the main traits of dystopia, they are the following:

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  • propaganda as a tool of control over society;

  • dehumanization of the state;

  • worshiping of a state leader or idea;

  • ban of everything unique and individual;

  • the constant fear of all the citizens.

The novel 1984 by George Orwell depicts a totalitarian state which is completely dehumanized. It is reflected in the way people live how they behave, how they talk, the clothes they wear, even the language they speak (Newspeak). Their world is ruled with the help of propaganda and total control over the citizens (telescreens, which people cannot escape). As for the leader, who is supposed to be worshiped, it is Big Brother, who was constantly watching everyone in the country. Therefore, 1984 is a perfect example of a dystopia.

Compare and Contrast Julia and Winston’s View of Rebellion Against the Party



Experience in rebellion

Has never rebelled before, so he does not know how to resist the system.

Has been rebelling for years, so she knows how to deceive telescreens and not to believe the propaganda.

Attitude towards the party

Hates the Party and is remembering the times before Big Brother came to power as good times. Is dreaming about what the society will look like when the Party is overthrown.

Hates the Party, but accepts it as it is.

Attitude towards rebellion

Sees rebellion as an external process. Wants to protest openly and change something, not only his attitude.

Sees rebellion as an internal process as she lives a life of a typical citizen, behaving in a very patriotic way.


Cannot cope with the protest themselves, so needs some support, this is why are looking for allies.

Is perfectly happy with her internal protest, so does not need any extra support and is not looking for allies.

The goal of rebellion

Wants to find allies and overthrow the party.

Wants to survive mentally inside the totalitarian society.

The Role of Media in Society in “1984″ by George Orwell

Things, depicted in the novel 1984 by George Orwell seem terrible and impossible in our modern world. Constant control over every sphere of life, ban of individuality, life in fear is undeniable characteristics of a totalitarian society, which many countries have experienced in the 20th century. Anyway, many of its traits remained unchanged or slightly transformed in the modern society of many well-developed countries. E.g. people are still being manipulated, though nowadays the ways and instruments of manipulation have been improved.

Probably, one of the most powerful manipulation instruments is social media, which is present everywhere. Waking up, many citizens turn on TV or radio, from which they get great amounts of information, mostly from news bulletins. The problem is that a big part of this information is not trustworthy or truthful, but most people have no time or wish to check every fact or idea they get from various media sources. With the popularization of the Internet peoples, lives have become simpler on one hand. But on the other hand, the world web contains amounts of fake sources and ideas, unseen before. This is how people’s opinions are easily manipulated with the help of mass media.

Another side of social media is the industry of entertainment. Already in the middle of the 20th century Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer coined the theory of culture industry. By producing cultural goods, based on particular standards the ideas and mood of society are easily shaped from above (Horkheimer, Adorno). Making films with similar plots, publishing books and magazines with the same ideas manipulators make citizens think what they want them to think, consume the products they dictate and even love people it is fashionable to love. Therefore, the culture industry is the pure form of mass manipulation. Moreover, it kills individuality which is the characteristic of a totalitarian society. This is why modern society is easily manipulated as well with the help of mass media.


Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment. New York: Herder and Herder, 1972. Print.

Jolley, Marc Alan. Apocalyptic Literature. Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Pub., 2012. Print.

"Oxford Dictionaries - Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar." Oxford Dictionaries - Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar. Web. 11 May 2016.

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