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Paired Text essay on Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World... where to start?

MrBlack 1 / -  
Aug 9, 2009   #1
One of the most important pieces of work for the entire year where I am is a Paired Text essay, where we choose our own two texts and our own focus/direction. As the title suggests, I've chosen the classic pairing of Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

I know I'm going to focus on the dystopian aspect of the novels, and HOW the authors warn us... or something along those lines... but I'm kind of vague on a direction and which techniques to talk about (in these essays, there is heavy emphasis on technique and HOW the author achieves a message)... it has to be 2000 words, and our best writing, so there has to be a good amount of solid content.

Some ideas I already have but can't really find a direction on...

Family made meaningless
Sex made meaningless
Setting used
Winston/John are us in the unfamiliar world

And the big difference...

BNW controlled by joy, contentment, satisfaction
1984 controlled by fear, hate, oppression
>Contrast of feelies vs. two minutes hate, lots of sex vs. no sex at all

Any help? Thanks in advance.
EF_Simone 2 / 1985  
Aug 9, 2009   #2
Those are all good ideas. But, I'm thinking... you say that "there is heavy emphasis on technique and HOW the author achieves a message," and that is not really addressed here. Clearly, both authors have written a roman a thése, a novel that serves as a vehicle for political ideas. Both use a central male protagonist through whose eyes the reader sees the world. Both try to make the reader feel for and with the protagonist, although there can be some debate as to how effectively each does so. (I personally find both novels stilted and both protagonists unsympathetic.) Both... [fill in the blank].

As to organization, I think that with an essay of this length and complexity, you are better off spending a lot of time deciding exactly what you are going to say before even trying to figure out in what order to say things.
EF_Sean 6 / 3489  
Aug 9, 2009   #3
Well, you seem to know that the "big difference" lies in the fact that BNW portrays a world that is arguably only dysfunctional from our perspective, whereas 1984 describes a world that is objectively dysfunctional. That is, from the point of view of most of the people living in BNW, the world is not dysfunctional. They are mostly all happy, have a decent standard of living, in as much as even the lower classes get everything they need to survive comfortably and are content with their lot. Technology is advanced and continues to advance. The world of 1984, though, is clearly dysfunctional even to the people living it. Those running the dictatorship suffer from ever lowering standards of living just as much as those they oppress, and everyone is pretty much fairly miserable all of the time.

So, since you have identified that as the major difference, why not start there and see if you can come up with something worth saying about that difference? Hint: start by asking yourself questions about it, and then trying to answer them.

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