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What makes this passage so powerful? This passage is from Part 3, Chapter 1 when Winston has just been captured by the Thought Police and has been imprisoned in the Ministry of Love as a political prisoner.

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Introduction

Essay Question: What makes this passage so powerful? This passage is from Part 3, Chapter 1 when Winston has just been captured by the Thought Police and has been imprisoned in the Ministry of Love as a political prisoner. In this passage George Orwell tries to emphasis the dangers of totalitarianism and how totalitarian governments can control their subjects through both physical and psychological means. Orwell makes this passage so powerful through the use of negative diction, the illustration of the Party's strength over its subjects and the vivid description of the "skull-faced man". Throughout this passage Orwell uses negative diction with strong connotations to make the passage powerful. Orwell states that the chinless man's eyes "flitted timorously". The adverb "timorously" implies that the chinless man fluttered his eyes in a nervous fashion. ...read more.

Middle

In the passage Orwell says how the telescreen let out a "furious, deafening roar" to force the "chinless man" into dropping the piece of bread he offered to the "skull-faced man". The telescreen is said to have let out the imperative "Let fall that piece of bread" and Orwell states that "the chinless man obeyed". This shows the reader that the Party has control over "life at all levels" as it is able to make the Party members do exactly as they order. In the passage Orwell also conveys how the threat of "Room 101" has such an impact on the prisoners that they "seem to shrivel and turn a different colour when [they] heard the words". This demonstrates the great fear the party member has of their rulers as they are so scared of Room 101 (the room in which they are "reeducated") ...read more.

Conclusion

This further emphasizes that the Party has physical control over its subjects as it is able to completely starve a Party member to death if necessary. The Party is also able to humiliate the chinless man as shown further in the passage when the guards beat him. The skull-faced man is also described to have eyes which were "filled with a murderous, unappeasable hatred of somebody or something". This shows the reader that because of the Party's torture the skull-faced man now deeply abhors the Party, something which is likely to never change. Orwell makes this passage powerful through the use of negative diction, the illustration of the Party's strength over its subjects and the vivid description of the "skull-faced man". In this passage Orwell portrays the dangers of totalitarianism and describes how totalitarian governments can control their subjects through both physical and psychological means. ...read more.

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3 star(s)

Response to the question

This essay engages well with the task, looking immediately what the purpose of the passage is. Then, there is an exploration of the techniques used to make this a powerful passage. I particularly liked how each paragraph is centred around ...

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Response to the question

This essay engages well with the task, looking immediately what the purpose of the passage is. Then, there is an exploration of the techniques used to make this a powerful passage. I particularly liked how each paragraph is centred around Orwell's techniques rather than simply looking at what happens in the extract. There is a clear difference between retelling and analysis, and I think this essay manages this well. I'm not quite sure why they've bolded and underlined things, but I feel as if this has been a tip from a teacher to ensure the essay remains focused. It seems to work, as the literary techniques bolded are frequently used.

Level of analysis

The analysis here is good and shows potential, but there is plenty of room for improvement. The essay has the ability to pick out single uses of techniques well, looking at the meanings of quote. For example "The adverb 'timorously' implies that the chinless man fluttered his eyes in a nervous fashion" and then goes onto explain what the quote offers. However, I feel as if this essay simply feature spots rather than collecting ideas and discuss how they make the passage powerful. There is a discussion of single words and quotes, but exploring how negative diction makes the passage powerful would have made this a more convincing argument. If I were answering this essay, I would be considering the effectiveness of the techniques as a collection by looking at the reader response and how it resonates throughout the novel. Although this essay manages what many others at GCSE cannot, which is to analyse rather than narrate the story, I feel it needs to go that next level to reach the top band. A good example is "This further emphasizes that the Party has physical control over its subjects as it is able to completely starve a Party member to death if necessary." Yes, they have explained what the quote does, but there is no reference to why the passage is powerful. You must have a sustained focus, and this is easily done through linking back to the question after each point or insight.

Quality of writing

This essay has a good introduction, looking at why the passage is significant and then summarising the techniques which make it powerful. However, the argument ends there and there is little reference back to the passage being powerful. Although a strong introduction is great, it's not going to gain you extra credit unless you can sustain the argument throughout the essay. The conclusion is simply a repeat of the introduction and adds nothing new. Try and use the conclusion to make a justified judgement to why Orwell has made this a powerful passage, and what overarching effect it has on the novel. There are a few slips in spelling, punctuation and grammar. For example "George Orwell tries to emphasis" could be easily corrected with a proof-read. I liked the style here, and the essay reads well, it just needs to go to the next stage with exploring meanings.


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Reviewed by groat 16/04/2012

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