What attitudes or traditions does Orwell wish to modify and what techniques does he use to influene the reader in 1984?
I'm not looking for a plot summary, I'm just having trouble finding what to write about. I've read the book, but am stuck on how to develop an essay on it.
I would suggest that Orwell's main "tradition target" is our willingness to accept whatever we hear about the past/present as true just because it is said or common knowledge. Thus the key phrase who controls the present controls the past; who controls the past controls the future. Orwell was very concerned about the manipulation of the past through selective information "creation," especially through the use/misuse of language. He thought much of our modern writing wasn't intended to enlighten, but rather to obfuscate, that much of what pasted for information was propaganda (cf. "Animal Farm"). Since the past doesn't exist, our only knowledge of it is through verbal and written records. When the information in these is created for control purposes, you have propaganda. We seem to become more and more taken by this, especially with the Internet flooding us with information that is almost impossible to verify.
He influences his readers by showing where such slavish following of misinformation leads ... people put their faith in a government to protect them, even if what they are protect against isn't real. All countries carry on Wars against the others, not because they are angry at them, but because the ongoing nature of War makes the people dependent on their government for security, and makes them more willing to make whatever "sacrifies" are demanded for that security. Sound familiar? Orwell may have been on to something ....