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How does Orwells writing here make this extract so horrifying? This passage is from Part 3, Chapter 3 during Winstons interrogation at the hands of OBrien.

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Introduction

Essay Question: How does Orwell's writing here make this extract so horrifying? This passage is from Part 3, Chapter 3 during Winston's interrogation at the hands of O'Brien. In this passage Orwell describes how Winston's imprisonment within the Ministry of Love has lead to the horrendous emaciation of his body, which is now terribly hideous. Orwell makes this passage horrifying through his description of Winston's emaciated body, the portrayal of how Winston and his rebellion are completely meaningless and the fact that Winston isn't able to argue with O'Brien. In this passage Orwell further emphasizes the dangers of totalitarian regimes, the immense control the Party has over its subjects and the importance and fragility of freedom. Firstly, Orwell makes this passage horrifying through the description of Winston's emaciated body. Orwell portrays Winston as having become a "skeleton-like thing" suggesting that he no longer considers himself to be a person. ...read more.

Middle

At the beginning when Winston was miserable it was described as "itching unbearably". These symptoms however seem to subside when Winston meets Julia, starts to rebel and is fed more wholesome foods. This seems to reflect his content attitude and the slight freedom he obtains. In stark contrast to this when he is captured and separated from Julia his ulcer deteriorates as does his health and his desire to rebel. Secondly, Orwell makes the passage horrifying through the portrayal of how Winston and his rebellion are completely meaningless. Orwell illustrates how the Party can "control life...at all its levels" demonstrating that the Party has complete and utter control over every aspect of Winston's life which implies that their power is invincible which is exactly what Orwell saw as the true danger of totalitarianism. O'Brien also states that "men are infinitely malleable" suggesting that the Party is able to do what they want with the Party members and that the Party can change their very thoughts through the use of propaganda, language and the control of history. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows the reader the power of the Party as they are able to use a person's words against them, to make them feel "irrelevant" and to ultimately make them "confess" to the so-called "thought crime" they have allegedly committed. O'Brien also says that everyone "outside" the Party has no humanity when in actual fact the only people with decency are the proles who are ultimately "helpless". In the passage Orwell attempts to make a horrifying scene in which Winston learns of how emaciated his body has become. Orwell manages to make such a horrifying passage through his description of Winston's emaciated body, the portrayal of how Winston and his rebellion are completely meaningless and the fact that Winston isn't able to argue with O'Brien. The passage also manages to illustrate that there are many dangers to totalitarian regimes, the Party has immense control over its subjects and freedom is important but very fragile. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay responds well with the task, exploring what Orwell is trying to achieve with this passage. Then, there is some analysis of the techniques used to make this extract horrifying. The difference between retelling the story, and analysing techniques ...

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Response to the question

This essay responds well with the task, exploring what Orwell is trying to achieve with this passage. Then, there is some analysis of the techniques used to make this extract horrifying. The difference between retelling the story, and analysing techniques is great, but this essay manages it well which was great to see at GCSE. Paragraphs focus on Orwell's techniques rather than looking at what happens in the passage. Some literary terms are bolded here, but these seem limited to adjective and portrayal. As an examiner, I would hoping to see more sophisticated terms used, and especially asking how Orwell portrays the story using language, form and structure. Structure is so often ignored, but would be an interesting point to analyse by looking at the preceding and proceeding chapters and discussing its significance as to where it places in the novel.

Level of analysis

The analysis here is sound, and despite showing potential I feel a lot of improvements could be made. What limits this essay is the way it feature spots, analysing single quotes and uses of techniques, rather than building a bigger discussion of how Orwell makes the passage horrifying. For example "The adjective 'malleable' suggests that the people are little more than pieces of metal which can be shaped as the Party wants" is great, but it doesn't really relate to the question. This could be made possibly be a sentence following it, looking at how the Party has control over society making the reader fear what they may do to Winston. It is not good enough at GCSE to simply discuss meanings of quotes, as this will gain you little credit. If you relate your explanation back to the question, then suddenly your points will become relevant.
If I were answering this question, I would be discussing how the techniques come together effectively to make the extract horrifying. What I dislike about this essay is the way they assert Orwell emphasises the danger of totalitarianism, yes doesn't explore it whatsoever. For example "O’Brien also says that everyone 'outside' the Party has no humanity" would be a great quote to analyse and explore how the Party is controlling everything. Then, looking at how this makes the passage horrifying you could argue that this is a warning from Orwell. But, without such explicit explanation, the comments in the introduction are simply unfounded and won't gain credit. There must be a sustained focus, and this is best done through linking back to the question throughout.

Quality of writing

The introduction here is good, giving a strong overview of Orwell's aims with this passage. I'm not sure it's necessary to say what happens in the passage, other than to secure your knowledge of the novel. The strong argument set up in the introduction is not explored whatsoever in the points. As mentioned above, analysis stops at looking at what quotes mean, and so there is no discussion of how techniques are used to make the extract horrifying. I would've liked to see some engagement with the word horrifying, looking at what it means and how different readers may perceive horror differently. This would've shown to the examiner that you understand there are numerous interpretations, which is always one of the assessment objectives. Unfortunately, the essay perceives that a good conclusion is simply repeating the argument. I would advise you don't simply repeat your introduction, but add a justified judgement and some insightful comment to leave your essay on a high note. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine. I did like the style of this essay, but I feel it needs to explore meanings further to get to the top band.


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Reviewed by groat 16/04/2012

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