Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for 1984 by George Orwell that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in Orwell's 1984 and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for offer a short summary of 1984 in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from 1984 by George Orwell, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Forced Repression of Natural Impulses in 1984Nearly every aspect of the society presented in 1984 by George Orwell is controlled, including the most natural impulses of sex and love. The suppression of these innate urges is encouraged through a program instituted by various forms of media in society in 1984 by George Orwell that propagates mistrust so severe that even mothers and fathers cannot trust their own offspring—another supposedly natural bond and impulse. Throughout the novel there are many examples of oppression of natural reactions and they cause a number of problems, not just for the main characters, but for the society at large. For this essay, you could provide detailed examples of how natural impulses are stifled and what consequences there are.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: The Lack of Privacy and The Effect of No IndividualismPersonal privacy and space is never granted throughout 1984. Every person is always subject to observation, even by their own family members and friends. Furthermore, since Big Brother is always watching and the Thought Police are always on the lookout, it is impossible for any kind of individualism to flourish. For this essay you can look at the ways this occurs and how various characters attempt (successfully or not) to subvert it. Then move out to consider how this lack of privacy (and by proxy, individualism) influences individuals and society as a whole.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Role and Representation of Women in 1984
Although it's often considered to be an “easy” topic choice for a paper, examining the role of women would make for an excellent essay, especially since many of things that make women what they are in many novels (adhering to ideas of romantic love, sex, femininity, marriage, etc) are subverted by the totalitarian society. For this essay, look at the depictions of women, keeping in mind such issues as the Junior Anti-Sex League, Winston's Wife who is the “human soundtrack,” and others. All of the women or groups of women presented offer a very twisted view of all of the things typically associated with women in literature. Look at why this is and offer numerous examples.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: The Power of Words and Rhetoric in 1984
Rhetoric, words, and language have enormous power in this society. Consider the phrase, “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength” as well as the fact that the state of war and who it is with is constantly shifting. In this society (much like ours) reality is based on information and Orwell's novel, the information is all related by words. The power of language in this novel (just as in Animal Farm, another novel by George Orwell) is one of the most potent forces that exists and as a result, the state goes through great lengths to influence and control language. For this essay, find a number of examples of contradictory, misleading, or otherwise bad rhetoric and how it is used to manipulate the population. A good essay might include three examples and then use one paragraph for each to fully pick apart the language and discuss the effects it has.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5: 1984 in Historical Context: How Current Events Shaped the Themes in the Novel
In some cases, it is not always feasible or worth it to consider too heavily the time period during which a novel was written. This is not the case in 1984. In fact, the historical context is of the utmost importance as the threat of totalitarianism, fascism, and domination based on skilled rhetoric was at the forefront of public fears during Orwell's time. Written in 1949, 1984 reflects the period as fascist empires were growing and the effects of others were becoming more clear with each passing day, such as was the case Germany. For this essay, make sure you include some biographical information about Orwell and what he witnessed during his lifetime and make reference to the many fascist regimes that are reflected in the novel.
* For an excellent article on the influence of the media on the society in 1984, click here *
Totalitarian Government In George Orwell's 1984
The 20th century has shocked the world with its atrocities and the truth is that most of these disasters have been related to the two major totalitarian regimes the world knew: fascism and communism. George Orwell is definitely one of the foreseers of this entire century of horror and both his novel 1984 and Animal Farm show just how far the totalitarian madness can go.
George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948 and he gave his book this title precisely because this is what he believed the world would have been until 1984. In this novel, he describes a world in which totalitarianism has taken over completely and in which freedom seems to be just a myth that has been long forgotten.
Everything in the world portrayed by Orwell is completely controlled by an almost-invisible government that seems to have taken over every single moment and aspect of its citizen’s life. From the moment people wake up in the morning and to the moment they go back to sleep, every single part of the day is thoroughly controlled. There is no such thing as intimacy, not to mention actual freedom.
The totalitarian ruling portrayed by George Orwell in his 1984 novel controls the minds of the people living in this society. Every single household has a giant telescreen that constantly promoted propagandistic messages and they control the minds of the people with the idea that the “Big Brother” is watching everyone everywhere they go, like an omniscient and omnipresent God.
Even more, the government in Orwell’s 1984 also controls the bodies of its “subjects” as well. The control reaches such a high point that even a face twitch can show that a person has not been loyal to the Big Brother and to the totalitarian ruling in the society.
The information people have access to and the history of the place in which they live is also thoroughly controlled and nothing gets through without thorough beforehand analysis. The totalitarian government in this novel has completely reinvented history, so that they are portrayed in a good light.
All in all, Orwell’s novel can be considered to be a great alarm signal over the wide series of bad things that can come with a totalitarian ruling. Written in 1948 when the Nazi party and the fascist parties had already fallen, but when communism was flourishing in the entire Eastern Europe, this book can be considered to be an actual premonition on the things that might have happened if things had been let to go too far.