Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. 1984 is full of images and ideas that do not directly affect the plot, but nevertheless attain thematic importance. What are some of these symbols and motifs, and how does Orwell use them?
2. Discuss the idea of doublethink. How important is doublethink to the Party’s control of Oceania? How important is it to Winston’s brainwashing?
3. Describe Julia’s character as it relates to Winston. How is she different from him? How is she similar to him? How does Julia’s age make her attitude toward the Party very different from Winston’s?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Describe Winston’s character as it relates to his attitude toward the Party. In what ways might his fatalistic streak contribute to his ultimate downfall?
2. How does technology affect the Party’s ability to control its citizens? In what ways does the Party employ technology throughout the book?
3. Discuss the idea of Room 101, the place where everyone meets his or her worst fear. Keeping in mind that for most of Winston’s time at the Ministry of Love, he does not know what he will find in Room 101, what role does that uncertainty play in making Room 101 frightening? Does the cage of rats break Winston’s spirit, or does it merely play a symbolic role?
4. What role does Big Brother play within the novel? What effect does he have on Winston? Is Winston’s obsession with Big Brother fundamentally similar to or different from his obsession with O’Brien?
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