Essay #2 on 1984 by George Orwell

Complete a research essay that demonstrates your ability to find, cite, integrate and analyze strong research. Using the novel, 1984, as your inspiration, I will ask each of you to select a topic that interests you amongst those I provided and find research that relates to our text and society. If you notice, most questions are broad enough to include an analysis of the novel as well as our society or people in general. The ultimate goal is to maintain your thesis with researched support that is both credible, convincing and reflects critical thinking. Even though you can make connections to our current society, you are still required to provide a literary analysis of the novel.

Literary criticism is an extension of the social activity of interpreting. One reader writes down his or her views on what a particular work of literature means so that others can respond to that interpretation. The critic’s specific purpose may be to make value judgments on a work, to explain his or her interpretation of the work, or to provide other readers with relevant historical or biographical information. The critic’s general purpose, in most cases, is to enrich the reader’s understanding of the literary work. Critics typically engage in dialogue or debate with other critics, using the views of others to develop their own points. This is precisely our goal with this last assignment – to enrich the reader’s understanding of 1984. With your literary analysis, the goal is to move, convince, and enlighten your audience.

Summary: 1984 was published in 1949 by George Orwell who mastered the dystopian style of writing. In this novel, Orwell tries to warn society of the dangers of an authoritarian regime, creating an allegory centered on a protagonist, Winston Smith, who finds himself rebelling against the Party and Big Brother.

* Your essay should be 4-6 pages long, in MLA Format and a correctly structured Works Cited page
* You are required to use 4 sources: first, is the primary source (our novel). Second, is a scholarly source from a literary journal. Third, is a web source (a credible newspaper or magazine). The fourth is your choice (it can be a book, scholarly article, web article, blog, or a multimedia source such as a visual, film, speech, song, poem, and so on).
* You should provide at least 2-3 quotations from the novel as support throughout your essay.

Essay Topics: Choose only one from the seven indicated below.

Should we obey? – analyze the importance of obeying those with power and authority over us. In your analysis, you might want to consider authority we find questionable and possible repercussions we may face should we disobey.
Should majority rule? – analyze whether the majority should have power in society. In your analysis, consider whether we, as a collective people living in a common society, should have the ultimate power or if it is necessary to govern or limit the powers of the majority.
Is media toxic? – argue whether media and technology influence over society is damaging to our well-being. Consider what the limitations and restrictions of the media should be, and you may also want to consider the ethical responsibilities of the media.
Should we sacrifice privacy? – analyze whether it is acceptable to forego privacy for the sake of safety. Think about what privacy means to you and when it is acceptable, if at all, to invade a person’s privacy. Consider the ethics behind this issue.
Can we have a sexless society? – analyze the effects of sexual repression and whether or not one’s sexual identity is important. Consider what certain societies hope to accomplish by placing restrictions on sex.
What is the power of words? – analyze the importance of words to sway people’s ideologies and actions. Consider all the famous leaders who have swayed masses with their words (ranging from Martin Luther King Jr. to Adolf Hitler) and what kind of power those words hold.
The allegory of 1984 (literary analysis) – analyze the importance of symbols in the novel (ex. Big Brother, the Thought Police, telescreens, Emmanuel Goldstein, The Place Where There Is No Darkness, Victory Gin/Cigarettes, Memory Holes, etc.). Be sure to provide a close reading of the text throughout your project.

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