1984 Essay by TE

1984: Selfishness Superiority

          Humans’ natural instinct of self-preservation creates an innate selfishness within all people. Humans are genetically wired with the desire to live, causing them to put themselves and their needs above others. Through a healthy, loving family dynamic, this selfishness can be blunted to some extent and altruistic tendencies develop. In1984, the Party uses innate selfishness to their advantage, creating love only for the Party. The manipulation of the Outer Party differs from the Proles, due to their varying roles in society. The Outer Party members possess knowledge of the Party’s activities and therefore pose more of a threat. Consequently, the Inner Party manipulates the Outer Party Member’s selfishness in order to control the Outer Party. The Party destroys familial bonds, and creates dire living conditions as a way to fuel the Outer Party members’ selfishness. Because of their lack of power, the Proles can maintain their family bonds, allowing them to remain human. Orwell juxtaposes the ability to love in the two different groups to demonstrate how the Inner Party manipulates social hierarchy and family dynamics to accentuate humans’ innate, selfish tendencies. [Read more…]

1984 Essay by EBK

1984: A Life of Dreams

            In 1984 by George Orwell, dreams, flashbacks and memories are an important mental guide for the main character, Winston Smith.  Living in a time where Big Brother wields complete control over the mind, Winston does all he can to maintain his human nature, particularly his loving emotions.  However, he cannot fight Big Brother by simply using his innate moral compass, so he uses his dreams to strengthen his identity and morals.  Mostly of his mother and lover, Winston’s dreams are filled with important values and ideas that he uses to build his identity in defiance of Big Brother.  In dreaming of his mother, he is inspired by her compassionate gestures and loyalty toward him.  While dreaming of Julia, love and romance fill his mind, as he incorporates these aspects into his identity as well.  In each dream, Winston takes another step towards maintaining his humanity, as they teach and inspire him to maintain his love, compassion and loyalty, thus allowing him to grasp his humanity until the very end. Through Winston’s flashbacks and ultimate love of Big Brother, George Orwell demonstrates how dreams guide, reinforce and reflect one’s personal values, for Winston only loses his humanity once he disconnects from his original dreams. [Read more…]

The Death of Ivan Ilyich Essay by JB

The Russian industrialization greatly affected Leo Tolstoy’s views on modern society, causing him to reject the society to which he once belonged. This blatant rejection of bourgeois society is illustrated throughout The Death Of Ivan Ilyich through Tolstoy’s skillful use of devices. The devices are utilized to make the superficiality of this society evident. The devices consist of narrative, theme, and juxtaposition which all contribute to Tolstoy’s existential disdain. The juxtaposition of Gerasim to the Russian bourgeois society, the unenthused narrative, and the focus on materialistic pursuits, all illuminate Tolstoy’s disdain for mass-man’s loss of humanity in an emotionally detached society. [Read more…]

Siddhartha and The Alchemist Comparative Essay by JF

The Significance of Love and Wealth on Human Fulfillment

In their early teenage lives, both Hermann Hesse and Paulo Coelho struggled to cope with their parent’s conflicting outlook on their lives and ultimately, their purpose. For separate reasons, Hesse and Coelho spent time in institutions designed to “reinvent” the individual. The authors endured many months in this compulsory prison yet after release, proved their individuality and perseverance was more than a product of teen angst– they pursued their aspirations. Moreover, Hesse and Coelho’s persistence through a childhood polluted by parental control yet followed by complete success, demonstrates not only the genuine existence of destiny, but also the continuous opportunity to achieve happiness and greatness. Exemplified by the stories of their lives, Hesse and Coelho channel this idea in their works Siddhartha and The Alchemist. Using the wisdom the protagonists obtained from personal journeys, both Hesse and Coelho convey the importance of sacrificing love and common human pleasures to become entirely fulfilled. However, only Coelho advocates an ultimate return to such pleasures suggesting that love and possessions are essential in a truly authentic life. [Read more…]

1984 and Invitation to a Beheading Comparative Essay by EY

The terrifying nature of freedom causes individuals to assimilate into society to shirk their responsibilities.  Societies thus take advantage of this by oppressing individuals to maintain stability.  1984, by George Orwell, and Invitation to a Beheading, by Vladimir Nabokov, both exhibit oppressive environments and individuals who accept these societies.  The protagonists believe in the ideals and opinions perpetuated by their respective powers, and choose to subject themselves to the oppression put forth by those in control.  Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay, “Existentialism is a Humanism”, discusses the freedom and responsibility inherent to humanity.  In Orwell and Nabokov’s works, the protagonists, faced with the burden of decision and consequent responsibility, choose to suppress their freedom.  Out of fear, not of oppressive forces but of self-dependence, they turn to another to control their lives.  Thus they ultimately engage in deceiving themselves and choose lives of bad faith, where they are dishonest with themselves and refuse to embrace despair and anguish.  They suppress their individuality to ignore the responsibility inherent to freedom.  Both 1984 and Invitation to a Beheading exhibit the intrinsically oppressive nature of society and show that, through an existentialist lens, structured society is unnatural and accepting it is ultimately a form of self-deception as it suppresses an individual’s freedom. [Read more…]