Writing George Orwell essays

When writing George Orwell essays about his novel 1984, you should mention that this is a dystopian novel that has gained worldwide fame. Despite the artistic form of the presentation of the novel, a large number of serious scientific research, considering it from philosophical, sociological, and political science positions was devoted to this novel. The influence of the novel can be traced both in art and literature, and in the social sciences of the second half of the twentieth century.

Along with the political satire Animal Farm, the 1984 novel was an important stage in the choice of Western intellectual elite for the direction of civilization. It in a concentrated form contained answers to basic political and philosophical questions, which bothered all progressive humanity in the 1930s–1940s:
  • Attitude to socialism and fascism
  • The danger of a totalitarian society
  • Further development of democracy
Since the events in the novel take place in 1984, which at the time of writing was the future, spaced apart by 35 years into the future, the author was able to predict the global geopolitical challenges of our time:
  • A hidden confrontation between the superpowers that developed into bloody local conflicts
  • The division of the world into spheres of influence, with which whole nations turn out to be a small change.

To express his position, George Orwell chose the artistic form of the social-fiction novel, the dystopian novel. The work describes several months of the life of Winston Smith – an ordinary member of society, which was built on the principles of English socialism in the fictional superpower of Oceania, in 1984. The prototype of the socialist society of the future can be seen quite transparently: this is the Soviet Union of the 1930s–1940s. Mustachioed leader called Big Brother, higher companions from the Inner Party, thought police, big cleaning, labor camps, the hysterical search for internal enemies sent by mythical traitor Goldstein-Trotsky, gloomy atmosphere of general suspicion, beggarly life – well-known elements of Stalin’s dictatorship.

However, the company management and technology to suppress dissent are further developed in the book. More and more sophisticated technical devices, manipulation of information on a large scale makes it impossible for even the appearance of unlawful thoughts. The geographical location of the novel – Air Force Zone 1, a faceless province of a huge totalitarian Oceania – is the former United Kingdom is also dramatic. The author shows that even this bastion of European democracy that has a long tradition of political freedom without surrendering any external or internal fascism can become a grim giant prison, if people lose their vigilance for 35 years.

The artistic form not only does not interfere with the comprehension of the author’s position, but, on the contrary:
  • It gives Orwell’s predictions persuasiveness and relief
  • It allows to expound political arguments to the smallest detail

The author’s position is extremely clear – totalitarianism is a danger to humanity. Depriving a person of freedom, both personal and political, cannot be justified by any ideals.

George Orwell essays consider a political point of view, that is, focus on the power structures of the state described by Orwell, on the interaction of a hypothetical future states on ways of formation and execution of political decisions in the public administration.

In Orwell’s consideration of the phenomenon of totalitarianism, it is logical to single out three levels of consideration of the problem:
  • The first one is foreign policy, or, more precisely, geopolitical, on which the author considers mutual enmity and mutual support of totalitarian superpowers.
  • Then there is the level of the state, detailing the structure of society and the technology of the power of Oceania.
  • And, finally, the micro level of the individual, the conflict of the system of suppression and the person desiring to preserve the remnants of personal freedom.

George Orwell – writer and man

Each writer’s biography has its own pattern, its own logic. This logic is not always easy to feel, and even more so – to discover beyond it a higher meaning that time dictates. But it happens that the old truth, which speaks of the impossibility of understanding a person outside his age, becomes irrefutable not in the abstract, but in the most literal sense of the word. The fate of George Orwell is an example of this kind.

Even today, when a lot is written about Orwell than he himself wrote, much in it seems mysterious. Striking breaks in his literary path are amazing. The extremes of his judgments are evident – both in his young years and in his last years. His books seem to belong to different people: some, signed by his real name Eric Blair, easily fit into the context of the dominant ideas and trends of the 30s, others, printed under the pseudonym George Orwell, adopted in 1933, resist such trends and ideas irreconcilably.

Political forecasts of George Orwell

As already mentioned above, for convenience of consideration, it is possible to divide George Orwell’s series of political forecasts, given in the novel 1984, into three levels:
  • The first is the level of global geopolitical forecasts
  • The second is the level of general forecasts on the structure of state power
  • The third is the level of interaction of the state with a separate person

The work is written in the form of a first-person narrative, which imposed certain limits on the way Orwell gave his ideas. The interaction of man and the system of power is transferred in the form of the personal experience of the protagonist. The structure and functions of the state and the international situation are known to the protagonist only superficially, despite the fact that, according to the plot, he is a member of the leading party and an employee of the ministry of truth responsible for the mass media. The fact is that the manipulation of information is raised in Oceania to the rank of state policy and no one, except the ruling elite, can know anything definitely about domestic and foreign policy. Therefore, Orwell has to use the book in the book technique. The main character is the book of the mythical organization of resistance, in which the policy of the Angsots regime is exposed. On the pages of this seditious book, Orwell sets out global ideas about the state power of Oceania, which the hero of the novel could not have realized independently.

Social type of the novel

It is hard to say if Orwell himself would have agreed to give the Elder Brother a physical resemblance to Stalin as the filmmakers of the novel did. Stalinism, of course, has the most direct relation to the order of things that is established in Oceania, but not only Stalinism. The very concept of totalitarian dictatorship for Orwell was not synonymous with Stalinism alone. Rather, he saw here a phenomenon capable of germinating in circumstances not entirely specific to Russia, as if adopting a different ominous form, it germinated in Nazi Germany, in Spain crushed by francism, or in Latin American banana republics under the rule of patriarchs like the one described by Garcia Marquez.

One need to talk not so much about the specifics as about a social disease deeply rooted in the atmosphere of the twentieth century and differently manifested, although this is the same disease that methodically kills a person, strengthening ideology and power. It can be the power of the Elder Brother, who looks from a thousand portraits, or the power of an anonymous bureaucracy. In one version it is the ideology of Stalinism, this is the doctrine of racial and national superiority – in another, and in the third – a set of ideas of aggressive technocracy that dreams of universal robotization. But all these options presuppose a person’s insignificance and absolutism of power, based on ideological concepts.

In the twentieth century, the idea paved for itself numerous pathways, becoming the foundation of utopias, which, being realized, turned out to be a nightmare. Orwell showed the society where it happened. And it is recognizable, as a model that had enough casts and imitations.


Thus, the novel 1984 gives a collective image of the totalitarian regime, which is recognizable and characteristic for the twentieth century. Therefore, its resonance turned out to be long. This cannot be said of many books objectively possessing a higher artistic merit, in any case, greater prestige, implying the aesthetic aspect proper.

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