24th May 2017

NCEA 3.1 Writing

Today: 17/05/17

‘Form a hypothesis about 1984 and develop a bank of evidence to support it’

Hypothesis: totalitarian dystopian futures mainly feature a corrupt government.

Evidence: For example, George Orwell’s  ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ has a corrupt government, that lies and gives false information to its people. Inner party members are treated better, similar to how the higher up districts in The Hunger Games do not compete in the games, instead place bets and encourage this inhume behaviour for personal entertainment. Th

Phase 1: Research

  1. Make a decision about what aspect of Nineteen Eighty-Four is relevant today


    • Totalitarian State
    • Control through fear
    • Invasion of privacy
    • Newspeak vs Fake news
    • Surveillance
    • Thought crime
  1. Identify KEY MOMENTS and supporting quotes in Nineteen Eighty-Four

“It’s a beautiful thing, the Destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word, which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take ‘good,’ for instance. If you have a word like ‘good,’ what need is there for a word like ‘bad’? ‘Ungood’ will do just as well – better, because it’s an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of ‘good,’ what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like ‘excellent’ and ‘splendid’ and all the rest of them? ‘Plusgood’ covers the meaning or ‘doubleplusgood’ if you want something stronger still. Of course we use those forms already, but in the final version of Newspeak there’ll be nothing else. In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words – in reality, only one word. Don’t you see the beauty of that, Winston? It was B.B.’s idea originally, of course,” he added as an afterthought. (1.5.23, Syme)”

  • By reducing the words, the inner party seeks to narrow the range of thought altogether, such that eventually, thoughtcrime will become impossible. This can be seen in the present, through modern examples of newspeak/doublespeak. Examples include; citizens being referred to as “taxpayers”, implying that the primary source of a citizen is to pay taxes. “Human intelligence” refers to the government being able to spy on the population for the greater good. However most people don’t realise that this is just a name given to distract the population from what is really happening.


“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.” (1.5.23, Syme)

  • This just proves the point above.
  1. Consider the actual 1984 era in the light of this
  1. Research parallels with 2017
  • This can be seen in 2017 through
  • News items – Fake news constantly keeps the population amused/distracted whilst major events happen in the background that the population never hears about. Almost similar to the iceberg effect.
  • Media – The media is able to select what they want the population to see, therefore articles/news on the media is not always representative of the actual event. “Iceberg Effect”
  • New media internet – Internet such as Wikipedia is so unreliable, anyone with an account is able to access and alter almost any wikipedia article. Many people use this and collect fake/false information, as there is no solid way to deem any article false or correct. 
  • Social media such as; Facebook, Youtube – Provide constant fake news and complete nonsense that distracts the population often gives them a wrong headset towards events. For example the page ‘NZ Herald’ which is supposed to be ‘news’ constantly posts derogatory nonsense, completely irrelevant to the actual news. This is just a big distraction for the population – similar how Orwell uses the war propaganda to distract the population in 1984 from the actual events occurring.
  • Multinationals – Facebook? Could potentially have algorithms to portray events differently to different populations. 
  • Contemporary dystopias
  1. Decide on your tense:
  • Feminism
  • Marxism
  • Dystopian Genre Study
  • Setting
  • Historical context
  1. Plan the structure of your answer

Essay format.

  1. Draft a practice paragraph

In the novel, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ by George Orwell


I’m not sure how I should go about writing what I want: I want to talk about how the media uses fake/irrelevant news to suppress/distract the population from the real events occurring – similar to how Orwell distracts the population through war Propaganda.

Do you have any quotes about fake news/distracting the population from 1984?


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Hi Jack,

    I would be thrilled to read something on the topic you propose. I recommend that you explore the following lines of inquiry:

    1) Make sure you have some strong material from Nineteen Eighty-four itself in order to anchor your observations about the present day. I’ll paste a range of quotations, some of which should be of use to you, to the end of this comment.

    2) Instead of trying to explain how ‘everything’ from 2017 is fake news, focus your exploration of the present day occurrences to one or two key events/texts and analyse these with the same depth of analysis (right down to the words people are using) that you’ll use when making references to Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    (I would be fascinated to know the extent to which the “Five Eyes” alliance spies into the lives of everyday people, for example – or how the Big Data generated by the likes of Facebook or Google could be used to manipulate us by knowing things about us (like what we love or are afraid of, just like Room 101))

    3) Re-read the article “The Death of Truth” about the connections between Cold War propaganda and how our governments are operating now.

    4) Find other articles about the area of 2017 society on which you want to focus

    Here are the promised quotes:

    • Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.
    • Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer; though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing
    • The Ministry of Truth contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below. Scattered about London there were just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see all four of them simultaneously. They were the homes of the four ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided: the Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts; the Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war; the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order; and the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs.
    • He had set his features into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear when facing the telescreen.
    • He had committed—would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper—the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
    • The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past.
    • To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word “doublethink” involved the use of doublethink.
    • The great purges involving thousands of people, with public trials of traitors and thought-criminals who made abject confession of their crimes and were afterwards executed, were special showpieces not occurring oftener than once in a couple of years.
    • The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act.
    • All children were to be begotten by artificial insemination (artsem, it was called in Newspeak) and brought up in public institutions.
    • Desire was thoughtcrime
    • In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?
    • When once you had succumbed to thoughtcrime it was certain that by a given date you would be dead.

Respond now!