George Orwell’s 1984 is a remarkable novel in part because of the many ways that it can be interpreted and applied to contemporary social, political, and cultural issues. Many of Orwell’s predictions seem prescient today, reflecting the anxieties of modern life with startling accuracy.
Prompt: For this project, you must select something from the novel that you think resonates with a particular concerning issue of our day. Your job is then to research this issue, discuss why it is worth being concerned about, and indicate a way forward.
Begin: by describing your chosen feature of the novel. Provide a general explanation as well as some examples from the text of how it functions. Be sure to make clear what makes it a negative feature of society in the novel.
In the next paragraph, indicate what contemporary issue you think reflects this element of the novel. Explain the commonalities, and concede potential differences. End this paragraph with a thesis statement that indicates what the best course of action is to mitigate the harm that might be done by this social feature/issue.
Develop: multiple body paragraphs in which you make a well-researched argument indicating
- Why you think this issue is a cause for concern
- What course of action should be followed to mitigate the harm potentially caused by this issue
This section of your essay should move mostly away from the novel and focus on the present issue you have researched and are warning your audience about. You should, however, make occasional references back to the novel to illustrate points you are trying to make.
Conclude: With a brief summary and a call to action. Invoke your audience to take action on this issue.
Suggestions for elements from the novel that may be tied to contemporary issues:
- The Party
- The Ministry of Truth
- Big Brother
- The Thought Police
- The Telescreen
- The Ministry of Peace
- The Ministry of Love
- The Ministry of Plenty
- Victory Gin
- The Junior Anti-Sex League
- The Two Minutes Hate
- Child Spies
- The Physical Jerks
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