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What linguistic devices does Orwell use to communicate rising tension and a sense of horror in this passage?

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Introduction

What linguistic devices does Orwell use to communicate rising tension and a sense of horror in this passage? In this passage Orwell uses emotive language, specific punctuation as well as other themes found previously in the book to create a rising tension and a sense of horror in this passage. Also, given this passage is set in a place where Julia and Winston thought they would be safe, it is ironic that they are captured in it. Therefore, the surprise of the attack adds to the horror of the passage. Orwell also uses emotive words, which add to the increasing tension and horror of the invasion. ...read more.

Middle

Towards the end of the passage Orwell uses the word 'meditatively' to describe one of the thought police. This suggests that he is thinking which seems uncharacteristic given the robotic way Orwell describes them. Orwell also uses a lot of short sentences followed by long sentences in this passage. For example, in the last paragraph, Orwell writes, 'The man protruded the time of a white tongue, licked the place where his lips should have been and then passed on. There was another crash.' This accentuates the clipped sentence at the end and creates a panicked atmosphere because when the reader is reading the passage it is similar to the thoughts racing through Winston's mind very quickly. ...read more.

Conclusion

This adds to the horror because they are neither human nor robotic. This would lead to uncertainty about their capabilities and cause a lot of tension to build up. He again adds to the horror because of the way Orwell reveals how Winston was deceived. For example, after this passage when Winston sees how Mr. Charrington has changed and realises that he is a member of the though police. This leads to a horrific atmosphere because the reader has also been deceived so they experience first hand how easy it is to trust the wrong people though Winston's delusions. In conclusion, Orwell uses emotive words, sentence structure, specific punctuation and Winston's delusions to create a sense of horror that is portrayed effectively to the reader. ...read more.

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Here's what a star student thought of this essay

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Response to the question

This essay engages well with the task. Rather than focusing on what happens in the passage, there is a sustained discussion around Orwell's techniques as the question prompts. There are some good ideas here, but the comments on Orwell building ...

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Response to the question

This essay engages well with the task. Rather than focusing on what happens in the passage, there is a sustained discussion around Orwell's techniques as the question prompts. There are some good ideas here, but the comments on Orwell building terror and horror are basic. Often, this essay explains quotes and doesn't then comment on how this makes the passage more horrifying. If I were answering this essay, I would've defined horror and terror in the introduction, this allowing a tight argument which focused back to the key definitions when looking at the effect of Orwell's techniques. I feel this essay could've discussed why Orwell chooses to create this passage as horrifying, as this would then allow more structural analysis. I should note that I am asking myself throughout this essay what is terrifying about the passage. It needs to be explicit that Orwell's presentation of the Party as a totalitarian state is terrifying, posing a warning to the reader.

Level of analysis

The analysis here is good. I liked the close textual analysis here, looking at emotive language and sentence structure. Some of the points are great, looking at Orwell's use of onomatopoeic words build tension, but I feel the links to the question could be more explicit. For example "this leads the reader to panic too because of the uncertainty of what is to come" is correct, but there is no reference to horror or terror in this paragraph. This essay does have a tendency to feature spot, simply picking out a quote and looking what it means. I would recommend trying to identify techniques as collective identities, looking at how these shape meanings as a whole. Your analysis will become much more sophisticated as a result. Some points would benefit from more terminology. For example the paragraph commenting on "how easy it is to trust the wrong people though Winston’s delusions" would benefit from discussing the narrative position. I would be looking to explore how Orwell allows the reader to perceive Winston as an unreliable narrator, making the reader question who is in control and then building terror. The introduction touches upon the significance of this passage in the context of the novel. This is really good, as examiners are looking for analysis beyond just language. But, unfortunately this point was not explored in the bulk of the essay, and so will gain little credit.

Quality of writing

The essay has an okay structure. The introduction is okay, looking at the techniques Orwell uses, but there is little focus on horror and terror. These key words should be the core of your essay and the argument must be built around it. It was a shame to see a sentence unfinished at the end of a paragraph. Although I did have to laugh as this came immediately after commenting on Orwell using incomplete sentences for an effect! The conclusion here is awful as it repeats the introduction and adds nothing to the argument. A strong justified judgement or an insight which draws upon your analysis, possibly looking at the purpose of the passage and Orwell's warning, would have been strong here. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine.


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Reviewed by groat 18/04/2012

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