1984Study Questions for George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

Introduction to the novel

Before you read the novel, do some research about George Orwell and familiarize yourself with his life and his major work. Also find out what impact the historical, social and cultural settings of his times might have had on Orwell’s work. (Suggested links: BBC Historic Figures / The Orwell Prize: Biography / Voice of A Lon Generation / YouTube: A Life in Pictures / Britannica / )

Read George Orwell’s famous essay “Why I write” and familiarize yourself with Orwell’s motives for writing.

Examine the following concepts: “utopia” and “dystopia”, and find out in what way(s) they can be related to George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.

Find different definitions of “totalitarianism” and examine what is common and what is not in these definitions. Identify characteristics of a totalitarian system of political rule.

According to Herbert Marcuse, the famous Frankfurt School philosopher, liberal democracies “exhibit totalitarian features” (Heywood, 2003, Political Ideologies, p. 227). Find out why he thinks so and discuss to what extent you agree with his view.

© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul.

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