A successful text helps us to think but it doesn’t tell us what to do.
PARAGRAPH ONE (Address the broader context of the question – take a clear position on the proposition and first speak about literature and the world in general and THEN talk about the specific text as evidence of this position)
Literature is essential to human society for many reasons; chiefly due to its function as a means of helping us to think about ourselves, our lives and each other within our societal and political structures, it makes us more aware of the world we live in. Unlike George Orwell’s Dystopian world of Nineteen Eighty Four, where the Party famously claims “Ignorance is Strength”, literature is able to cure us of our ignorance and elevate our existence beyond that of being mere consumers and units of labour or production. Literature helps us to think about our world and consider alternative perspectives and ideas to those we currently hold. This is a subtle art, as texts that are too didactic, that tell the reader what to do, miss one of the key purposes of literature which is to enable thought, not to shut it down.
PARAGRAPH TWO (Introduce your primary text and explore how it supports your position in general – this will read much like your introduction paragraph from a Level 2 Essay)
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is just such a title; it carries the philosophical force of George Orwell’s warning to the world of the perils of Totalitarianism, and embeds itself deeply in its time, picking up strands of politics and culture that are then projected into what can only be described as a very bleak vision of the future. Orwell’s vision of England in the year 1984 presents us with a totalitarian state, styled on Stalinist Russia, ruled over by The Party and its ubiquitous figurehead Big Brother, which extends its arms of control into the population of Airstrip One via its ministries of Truth, Love and Plenty. The state uses a range of futuristic technologies to keep the population under its control and to quell any rebellion. Even thoughts of rebellion are squashed by the state though such means as the modification of language and the constant re-issuing of all Newspapers and documents to reflect the current official ‘truth’; all enforced by the shadowy “Thought Police”. The society of Airstrip One have sacrificed their privacy and with it, much of their personal and moral agency. George Orwell has, through the writing of this one text, provoked deep reflection across the entire Western world, and as a result, has become a touchstone for any conversation about the relationship between the individual and the state and the ceaseless impingement on our privacy to which we have now become familiar.
BODY PARAGRAPHS (This is a chance for you to practice writing the key content, with strong links to the question and quotations from the text, references to other texts and contemporary examples with similar societal effects)
1) TOTALITARIAN STATE
2) THE IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUAL REBELLION
3) CONVENIENCE VS PRIVACY
CONCLUSION (Strongly reinforce your answer to the proposition and make a clear and NEW reference to our contemporary society in the light of what we have learned from the text)
Nineteen Eighty Four is successful because it has successfully predicted the future – references to today