1984 Reading Questions and “Writing” prompts
Read each of the passages during class and answer the following numbered questions. What you do not finish will be homework. The questions that are not numbered will be used for discussion as an entire class.
For each “Writing,” record your response in the designated section of your notebook.
Part One: I (p.1-20)
This society shows everything as thoroughly manipulated as possible. In the first sentence, what strikes you as wrong?
In looking at his room and the housing, what is unusual?
How does the government try to control everybody?
What are the three party slogans?
What do you suppose they mean?
What does Winston keep behind the brick?
What thought did Winston finally write down?
How is the journal “thoughtcrime”?
Why wouldn’t the government want this?
What is Two Minutes Hate?
Who do they scream at?
Why do they hate him?
What principles does he promote?
As a government, why would you want this exercise?
What other examples of Two Minutes Hate exist in history (or present day)?
Describe the government of Oceania. Use lots of specifics.
Part One: II-IV (p. 21-48)
Describe Winston’s next door neighbors.
Why does she need Winston’s help?
Why do the kids scare him and the woman?
How does he act when he is confronted by the kids?
Why are “Spies” an effective idea?
Complete this quote; “Whoever controls the past, _________________________”
What does this mean?
How is it true in this society?
What is the converse of this?
What is an example of this principle from history?
Why does Winston place a speck of dust on the cover of his diary?
Why does Winston choose dust as his means of detecting whether or not anyone has disturbed his diary?
What are the Physical Jerks?
Where does Winston work?
What is his job?
Why does it’s name strike us as odd?
How does he feel about destroying all these facts?
Why does he feel this way?
Why is his job important?
Explain the meaning of doublethink.
Part One: V-VI (p. 48-69)
What is Syme working on?
Why is his job important?
Would the Eleventh Edition and the movement of language to strict newspeak be effective?
What is the prediction or hope for 2050, according to Syme?
What spy work have his children been involved in recently?
How do most Minitrue people look? Why?
What is the ideal physical appearance of the Party?
Who is more likely to live to age 40: Parsons, Syme, or Smith? Why?
How does Winston describe Katharine?
What was their marriage like?
Why did they separate?
How does the Party feel about marriage and family?
What is facecrime?
How does the Party feel about sex and prostitution?
Why would they not frown on prostitutes as much as other crimes?
According to Winston, “Your worst enemy, he reflected, was you own nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.”
Describe the paranoid nature that Winston refers to in the above quotation. What factors lead to this paranoia? What other instances and people have Winston described that cause him to worry?
Part One: VII-VIII [end of Part One] (p. 69-104)
How does Winston view the proles?
How are the proles controlled (prole control)?
What lies/half-truths does the Party teach about history?
Winston suspects that the Party lies about progress made since the war. What Party claims does he doubt?
What is the story of Aaronson, Jones and Rutherford?
Why is this story so meaningful for Winston?
What is Winston’s unanswered question (p.80)?
Why does Winston go off on his own?
What activities is he missing out on?
What is life like in the proles’ end of London?
What does Winston think about after...
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