1984 Phoenix Senior English Textual Study

Author: Barbara Stanners, Publisher: Phoenix

Socrates, a Classical Greek philosopher argued that the ability to examine, question and evaluate is what makes us human. Storytelling often explores the ‘human condition’ and timeless, universal themes such as humanity and the struggle to deal with oppression and adversity. A sensory-rich textual representation has the power to draw an audience into the world of the text and trigger imaginative, emotional and even intellectual engagement with the responder. Giving access to the motivations, actions, thoughts and feelings of others can also foster insightful self-awareness and understanding of the complex ambiguities of positive and negative societal issues. Stories that have a strong ‘human’ focus often affirm assertions made by Russian author and philosopher Fyodor Dostoyevsky, that the ‘mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for. Satire and dystopic texts often explicitly highlight such themes as well as well as the exposure of human flaws, debasement and the search for truth.

George Orwell was a prolific writer, and many of his essays, reviews and novels were inspired by what he had personally witnessed. He condemned what he called the inherent debasement, injustice and gross inequities and injustice of human existence, especially for the most poverty stricken or oppressed. The dystopic social milieu he depicts in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a nightmarish world controlled by the Party’s totalitarian politics of fear, terror and hate. A chilling ‘naturalist’ style is coupled with dystopic leitmotifs of political oppression, rebellion and human survival to portray the soul-destroying and dehumanising world of Oceania. Orwell explores the actual psyche of mania and power itself to destroy the ‘Soviet myth’ and make his novel a prophetic warning against a possible future where mankind will have been completely stripped of their humanity and made into soulless automatons. His satiric purpose is to highlight the imminent threat and the need for immediate action. Margaret Atwood aptly described the novel as a ‘visionary’ text…that gave us Big Brother and thoughtcrime and newspeak and the memory hole and the torture palace called the Ministry of Love and the discouraging spectacle of a boot grinding into the human face forever.’


  • Texts and Human Experiences
  • Why humanity has always told stories
  • The power of Story Telling
  • Textual Representation of Human Experiences
  • Developing Analytical skills
  • Essay Checklist
  • George Orwell – Biographical and Literary Snapshot
  • Historical and Political Context
  • Timeline – Major Events 1936-49
  • Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
  • Orwell’s Condemnation of Authoritarianism and Propaganda
  • ‘You and the Atomic Bomb’
  • Orwell’s Authorial Purpose
  • Satiric Dystopia
  • Narrative Structure
  • Representation Techniques
  • Dystopic World Building – Oceania
  • Proles
  • Party Propaganda and Indoctrination
  • Subjugation and Dehumanisation
  • Rewriting History
  • Doublethink
  • Thoughtcrime
  • Orwell’s Legacy
  • Quotable Quotes
  • Personal Response
More Information
Year Level Year 10, Year 11, Year 12
Edition 1st
Date of Publication 2019
ISBN 9781925169140
Subject English