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Laura Amy Schlitz

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Theme 2: 1984

1984 by George Orwell 60second Recap Decoder Resources PageIn George Orwell’s world of 1984, there’s no such thing as truth. Facts aren’t facts, except for when they’re manufactured to be facts. As for lies…well, the Party can manage lies that are lies…and truth…at the very same time.

Confused? Good. That means you’re ready to tackle Orwell’s second theme.



George Orwell, 1949
Famous for: Big Brother, doublethink, and some of the 20th century's most memorable quotes: "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Themes like "Truth" in 1984 by George Orwell | 60second Recap® Decoder™

Recap Six, 1984

Orwell’s Dystopia: The Truth About the Lies

Truth. It’s easy to take for granted, right? Facts are facts. Period. But not in the chilling world of 1984. Consider Orwell’s second theme a wake-up call.

After Winston is caught with anti-government literature, he’s taken to the prison-line Ministry of Love. There’s he’s tortured by the man he thought was his friend and ally, O’Brien. In one of the most horrifying passages of 1984, Winston is tortured into accepting the lie that 2 + 2 = 5.

1984 by George Orwell Theme 1

Recap Five, 1984: Theme 1

At first, Winston rebels. Even when O’Brien torments him with excruciating pain, Winston continues to rebel. No one can make 2 + 2 = 5, can they?

Oh, in the world of 1984 they can. Because eventually O’Brien uses one of his maniacal machines to manipulate Winston’s mind. And when Winston comes to, he sees, for the first time, the possibility of 2 + 2 equaling 5.

You might laugh at that because the thought of messing with the laws of mathematics seems beyond absurd. But Orwell picks such an extreme example for a reason. He wants his audience to recognize that truth is truth … only insofar as we defend it.

1984 by George Orwell Motifs 60second Recap by Jenny Sawyer

Up Next…Recap Seven, 1984: Motifs

That’s Orwell’s second major theme in 1984.

We know, of course, that O’Brien can’t change the laws of math. What he does is he breaks down Winston’s ability to think those laws through fearlessly. He crushes Winston’s ability to defend the truth.

A warning about the side effects of totalitarianism? Definitely. But also a call for us to stand up for truth, for what we believe in.

Or else.


How to Write an A+ Essay: Thesis StatementsA+ essays are never formulaic. But they do have a few things in common.

Engaging lead sentences. Provocative thesis statements. Drum-tight arguments supported by facts that are always relevant and sometimes surprising.

It’s easier than you think. In How to Write an A+ Paper: A Step by Step Guide to Acing Your Next Assignment, you’ll learn my strategies and techniques for writing essays that are both persuasive and engaging to read. In other words, essays that earn an A+.

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