How's this for a 1984 essay thesis? My essay is going to be about the dangers and effects of dehumanization in the world. I need a probable, arguable, thesis with three parts. It also needs to...

How's this for a 1984 essay thesis?

My essay is going to be about the dangers and effects of dehumanization in the world. I need a probable, arguable, thesis with three parts. It also needs to connect to the real world:

George Orwell uses Winston and Julia in order to showcase the dangers and effects of dehumanization through the obliteration of different aspects of human characteristics.

Expert Answers
kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your thesis for an essay needs to be worded more specifically.  Since it appears that you are focusing upon the theme of Freedom and Enslavement of the free will, you want to focus upon the specific effects of the totalitarian government in George Orwell's 1984.So, perhaps, instead of writing "the obliteration of different aspects of human characteristics," you can put something like this:

In George Orwell's satire 1984, the dangers of totalitarian control and its dehumanizing effects are demonstrated through the government's thought control, domination over people's emotions, and limitations of their pleasures.

With this thesis you have three ideas which you can translate into topic individual topic sentences for your paragraphs.  For support for these topic sentences, you can use specific details from the plot involving the characters of Julia and Winston.  (Since characterization always develops plot and themes, you will be able to employ your ideas on Julia and Winston in this way.)

Of course, there are parallels to some of the thought control of the media and controls that many feel that the government in this country wants to impose upon people (e.g. Patriot Act, Health Care, etc.)  So, you may wish to read about the historical context of 1984 whose Big Brother reminds readers of Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin.

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For this essay, you will want to focus on what specific aspects of Winston and Julia's humanity Orwell shows being obliterated in the novel. Orwell is very clear throughout the book that the characteristics of human love, caring, and sacrifice of oneself for another person are traits the government is trying to eradicate. One good way to approach this would be to trace out the various ways Winston (since the story is told from his point of view) is first depicted as dehumanized and alienated from human relationships; then show how his affair with Julia reawakens his sense of love, caring and self-sacrifice; then demonstrate how his experiences in Minilove, culminating in his betrayal of Julia to save himself, reveal how the state manages to dehumanize him. You could also show how Julia resists dehumanization but ultimately, at the end of the novel, admits she betrayed Winston.

Parallels to the way hate propaganda functions in today's world are not hard to find. Certain politicians work hard to drum up fear in our culture of people regarded as "other," such as Muslims, and this works to create a climate of hatred rather than of love and caring toward our fellow humans.