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1984 Thesis Statement

Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for 1984 by George Orwell that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in Orwell's 1984 and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements for offer a short summary of 1984 in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from 1984 by George Orwell, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: The Forced Repression of Natural Impulses in 1984

Nearly every aspect of the society presented in 1984 by George Orwell is controlled, including the most natural impulses of sex and love. The suppression of these innate urges is encouraged through a program instituted by various forms of media in society in 1984 by George Orwell that propagates mistrust so severe that even mothers and fathers cannot trust their own offspring—another supposedly natural bond and impulse. Throughout the novel there are many examples of oppression of natural reactions and they cause a number of problems, not just for the main characters, but for the society at large. For this essay, you could provide detailed examples of how natural impulses are stifled and what consequences there are.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: The Lack of Privacy and The Effect of No Individualism

Personal privacy and space is never granted throughout 1984. Every person is always subject to observation, even by their own family members and friends. Furthermore, since Big Brother is always watching and the Thought Police are always on the lookout, it is impossible for any kind of individualism to flourish. For this essay you can look at the ways this occurs and how various characters attempt (successfully or not) to subvert it. Then move out to consider how this lack of privacy (and by proxy, individualism) influences individuals and society as a whole.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Role and Representation of Women in 1984

Although it's often considered to be an “easy” topic choice for a paper, examining the role of women would make for an excellent essay, especially since many of things that make women what they are in many novels (adhering to ideas of romantic love, sex, femininity, marriage, etc) are subverted by the totalitarian society. For this essay, look at the depictions of women, keeping in mind such issues as the Junior Anti-Sex League, Winston's Wife who is the “human soundtrack,” and others. All of the women or groups of women presented offer a very twisted view of all of the things typically associated with women in literature. Look at why this is and offer numerous examples.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: The Power of Words and Rhetoric in 1984

Rhetoric, words, and language have enormous power in this society. Consider the phrase, “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength” as well as the fact that the state of war and who it is with is constantly shifting. In this society (much like ours) reality is based on information and Orwell's novel, the information is all related by words. The power of language in this novel (just as in Animal Farm, another novel by George Orwell) is one of the most potent forces that exists and as a result, the state goes through great lengths to influence and control language. For this essay, find a number of examples of contradictory, misleading, or otherwise bad rhetoric and how it is used to manipulate the population. A good essay might include three examples and then use one paragraph for each to fully pick apart the language and discuss the effects it has.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5: 1984 in Historical Context: How Current Events Shaped the Themes in the Novel

In some cases, it is not always feasible or worth it to consider too heavily the time period during which a novel was written. This is not the case in 1984. In fact, the historical context is of the utmost importance as the threat of totalitarianism, fascism, and domination based on skilled rhetoric was at the forefront of public fears during Orwell's time. Written in 1949, 1984 reflects the period as fascist empires were growing and the effects of others were becoming more clear with each passing day, such as was the case Germany. For this essay, make sure you include some biographical information about Orwell and what he witnessed during his lifetime and make reference to the many fascist regimes that are reflected in the novel.

* For an excellent article on the influence of the media on the society in 1984, click here *

To write this essay, it is useful to start with the following quote from O'Brien in Part Three, Chapter Two:

"Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves."

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To write this essay, it is useful to start with the following quote from O'Brien in Part Three, Chapter Two:

"Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves."

This quote shows that the Party's aim is the dehumanization of its members. In doing this, the Party can, as O'Brien says, fill its members with nothing but Party propaganda and Party ideals.

Room 101 is, perhaps, the best example of how the Party achieves this. In Room 101, a Party member is forced to confront his deepest, darkest fear. In Winston's case, this is rats. When confronted by this terror, Winston begs O'Brien to "do it to Julia." In other words, he would rather sacrifice Julia than experience this terror.

Room 101, therefore, enables the Party to dehumanize Winston on the most basic level, that is, forsaking his loyalty to Julia and pledging fealty to Big Brother. While we do not know what terror Julia faces in Room 101, we know that this tactic also works: she, too, betrays Winston and becomes a faithful Party member.

Terror, then, is the Party's primary means of dehumanization. Through forcing Winston and Julia to confront their deepest fears, the Party erodes all traces of personal loyalty and love, replacing them with total submission.