Practise External

Discuss the extent to which you agree with your chosen statement. Respond critically to the statement by making a close analysis of the text(s). 

The most satisfying text is one that is uplifting and optimistic. 

Everyone likes a happy ending; therefore they are popular in many types of texts. This is not true, however, for dystopian literature. Dystopian texts explain oppressive society issues and often provide readers with warnings for the future. Dystopian literature does not need to be optimistic to encourage readers, because the connection between fiction and reality is enough, which is the reason why I disagree with the statement. The novel Nineteen Eighty Four, written by George Orwell opens doors to a new way of looking at the world and the society we are currently living in. In his novel, George Orwell introduces the idea of a totalitarian government that possesses all the power over its citizens. The government uses many tools to gain control and while stripping citizens off all privacy through telescreens, the party also seems to manage manipulating the citizens thoughts. An omnipresent companion of Winston which is the main character in Nineteen Eighty Four, is BIG BROTHER. The slogan ” Big Brother is watching you” is with the citizens on every step they take and makes the thought of escape almost impossible. The feature of constant control indicating a less happy and optimistic environment, which supports the idea that texts can be satisfying without being uplifting. Another sophisticated idea of the party is its slogan: “ War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” The juxtaposition of this slogan is not detected by the citizens of Oceania, though it is always in their minds. While the reader realised how wrong theses ideas are, it seems impossible at the same time that a whole population believes it. This, however, is another feature of the book that makes it even more interesting and compelling. Nineteen Eighty Four introduced another character called O’Brien, who is a member of the party and later triggers Winston into believing he was like-minded. O’Brien confronts Winston with the idea that “Who controls the past; controls the future. Who controls the present; controls the past.” In this very moment Winston realised how much power the party possesses over its citizens. The idea of a manipulation from such a big capacity is scary but also compellin. It draws attention to the text and transforms Nineteen Eighty Four into a thrilling novel. This moreover proves the  point that a text does not need to be optimistic to be successful. 

NCEA 3.7 – Significant Connections

Oppressive Totalitarian Control

A dystopian world exists when a government gains control of its citizens through skilful manipulation and indoctrination. A minute group establishing control over the rest of the world is hard to fathom. However,  dystopian literature takes us to a place where we not only believe these societies exist, but begin to question our own. It points to issues current in today’s society, leaving us to question wether we are already living in a dystopian world.

It can be argued that this genre should be taken as a warning for readers. These warnings are particularly evident in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen-Eighty Four. The novel describes a dystopia in which a totalitarian state possesses all power over its citizens. More than one method makes it possible for the dystopian government to gain control. This is illustrated in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and additionally in the novels Anthem by Ayn Rand and The hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. 

  1. Control through Surveillance and Invasion of Privacy 

Computer hacking, convert bugging and GPS tracking are a part of our  society today. These features were all predicted in dystopian literature. George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty Four novel has proven the power of a totalitarian state and pointed out, how surveillance and the invasion of privacy made it possible for the government to control their citizens.

Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing.

Winston describes the presence of “tele screens” as a standard item in every room of a party member. Without the possibility of turning it off, the screens record every movement and conversation. The uncertainty of knowing when somebody is watching leaves citizens of Oceania living a life of fear and anxiety about being caught by the thought police.


By conveying this message to its constituents, the totalitarian state’s aim is to influence and make them aware of the constant surveillance. This justifies why everybody conforms to the state’s norms. 

Additionally, the method of control through survelliance can be related to the novel Handmaid’s Tale in which the “Eyes” are spies who work for the government and are situated throughout Gilead.  The Handmaids, women who are used as reproductive objects, are to have a shielded view of life. All rights have been taken from them and they are fearful to open up,  even to the other handmaids, as they cannot be certain who is a spy.

It occurs to me that she may be a spy, a plant, set to trap me; such is the soil in which we grow. 

Being found as noncompliant to Gilead’s teachings is so frightening that even if an escape was available, the brainwashing by the government prevents them from doing so. 

2. Loss of individual identity

Individuality makes people who they are. It distinguishes them from others of the same kind and makes them unique as an individual. Dystopian literature takes away the ability to be seen as an independent human being.  The totalitarian government controls its citizen through the natural human instinct of acceptance. Familiarity is the social glue that bonds people together and enables individuals to fit society’s expectations. 

We strive to be like all our brother men, for all men must be alike.

The society’s significant feature in the novel Anthem in the fact that every individuals purpose is to serve their “fellow brothers” while everybody can only speak of themselves as “WE” and not in the first person.

Men never see their own faces and never ask their brothers about it, for it is evil to have concern for their own faces or bodies.

In Anthem, to think of themselves as an individual or to stand out as one is forbidden and is considered as socially unaccepted. This leaves the “great we” group identity, being the only identity they have.

The reproductive objects known as the Handmaid’s in Margaret Atwood’s novel are ripped of all their rights. Everyone has been renamed and repositioned while the woman are grouped into classes.

We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths. In this way we exchanged names from bed to bed.

The disconnection between names and people allows the society to entirely vanish the woman’s individual personalities.

3. Language

Language is used for much more than linguistic communication; we also express our feelings, moods and ideas. Language made the growth of civilisation possible and developed societies.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.

The Party, in 1984, narrows the range of thought by erasing essential words from their language. This is intended to make a thoughtcrime impossible. Through the manipulation of language, the state of Oceania gains control and makes thinking innately pure. Newspeak is invented from the government as a reassurance to maintain the control of its citizens minds.

We are one in all and all in one.
There are no men but only the great WE,
One, indivisible and forever.

Similarly, in Anthem, the society of Equality 7-2521 has forbidden individuals to have an own identity. This is possible through the nonexistence of the word “I”, which makes thinking or speaking of themselves as individuals impossible.

I am done with the monster of “We,” the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

Due to the fact that everybody considers themselves as a member of one big and collective state, the individuals can just speak in the first-person plural. This is allowing the idea of the life purpose, which is serving the state. By restricting the ability to express their thoughts in language, the totalitarian government is eliminating any individuals activity against the state. 

4. Controlling citizen through fear

Anxiety and fear have become daily companions. Trepidation is the justification for security precautions and surveillance. These omnipresent precautions, approved by the government, are considered essential for safety but also grant control over citizens. The sophisticated idea of the novel Nineteen-Eighty Fours is promoting that war is a tool the party uses to keep the standard of living in check whilst maintaining that there are no inequalities in the totalitarian state. 

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living.

The character Winston reads about the importance of warfare in Goldstein’s Manifesto which reveals that the state has been controlling its citizens through their fear. Warfare encourages the people to be peaceful due to the fact that rebellion is far from their minds.

In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently at war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years.

Winston had always suspected the Party of changing the enemies systematically over time. Goldstein’s Manifesto proved his theory right, indicating the manipulative motive of the totalitarian government. 

In The Hunger Games the meaning of the white colour, controversial to its innocence meaning, a colour of fear. It is worn by the authorities and so called peacekeepers which are dedicated to keep the districts in order.

Twelve were defeated, the thirteenth obliterated.

The fear of execution hinders the citizens to stand uo for themselves. The formation of the 12 districts, including the execution of district 13, is teaching a lesson whilst extinguishing all thoughts of a possible rebellion.


While oppressive control is significant in every dystopian novel, each of the texts above express a unique feature of representing it. While observing  citizens through “tele screens” in Oceania, the Handmaids are watched by unknown spies called eyes,  sent from the government. Frightened by the constant surveillance, the individuals are forced to play by the state’s rules in order to prevent getting caught. In comparison to surveillance, Equality 7-2521 society removes individuals identities to achieve full power. This however is indicating the variability of a state to manipulate its citizens. The Hunger Games society uses the colour white to establish constant fear, through the uniform of peacekeepers. Constant fear is also well known in 1984 in which the government uses warfare to trigger its citizens into fear and anxiety. These features show more than one method of control through a totalitarian government. This is prove of the idea that dystopian literature  describes oppressive control and total loss of freedom for individuals. 

Control of government over citizen

Handmaids Tale :

  • We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths. In this way we exchanged names from bed to bed: Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. June. (1.5-6)
  • When I’m naked I lie down on the examining table, on the sheet of chilly crackling disposable paper. I pull the second sheet, the cloth one, up over my body. At neck level there’s another sheet, suspended from the ceiling. It intersects me so the doctor will never see my face. He deals with a torso only. (11.6)
  • My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden. I tell myself it doesn’t matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter. (14.37)
  • Falling in love. […] It was the central thing; it was the way you understood yourself; if it never happened to you, not ever, you would be like a mutant, a creature from outer space. Everyone knew that. (35.13)


  • I think of the motto I read in my Faction History textbook: Faction before blood. More than family, our factions are where we belong. Can that possibly be right? 
  • I didn’t jump off the roof because I wanted to be like the Dauntless. I jumped off because I already was like them, and I wanted to show myself to them. I wanted to acknowledge a part of myself that Abnegation demanded that I hide. 


  •   . But I still wonder how it was possible, in those graceless years of transition, long ago, that men did not see whither they were going, and went on, in blindness and cowardice, to their fate.
  • There was no pain in their eyes and no knowledge of the agony of their body. There was only joy in them, and pride, a pride holier than it is fit for human pride to be.


  • war is peace 
    freedom is slavery 
    ignorance is strength 
  • Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.” (1.5.23, Syme)
  • Attention! Your attention, please! A newsflash has this moment arrived from the Malabar front. Our forces in South India have won a glorious victory. I am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may well bring the war within measurable distance of its end. Here is the newsflash –”Bad news coming, thought Winston. And sure enough, following on a gory description of the annihilation of a Eurasian army, with stupendous figures of killed and prisoners […] (1.2.30-31)
  • Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war, but it was evident that there had been a fairly long interval of peace during his childhood, because one of his early memories was of an air raid, which appeared to take everyone by surprise. Perhaps it was the time when the atomic bomb had fallen on Colchester. He did not remember the raid itself […]. (1.3.12)
  • Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no color in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The black mustachioed face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. (1.1.4)

NCEA 3.4 – Writing Folio – Niqab

Be flawless’ written in white letters on the black poster above the classroom door. Walking into the full classroom was always the most horrifying experience of Hadiyahs school day. Everybody’s eyes lay on her as she stood on the threshold, taking a deep breath before walking to the empty desk in the back of the classroom. She pretended to ignore the facial expressions of her classmates as she passed them. They weren’t exactly her mates, more like people who accepted her existence in their class. She rushed to her desk, desperate to sit down without being the middle of all the attention. As she sat, Hadiyah realised she was still holding her breath.

Once her heart stopped racing, she realised how quiet it was. Too quiet. By the time she looked up, the classroom burst into laughter. Her name was in big capital letters on the board in front of her, slurs drawn around it like a mind map. She had heard it all before, but as always TERRORIST cut the deepest. “Don’t cry, don’t let them see your pain”, her sister used to say, “your eyes are the window to your soul”. In fact, they were the only thing that could reveal her feelings and emotions, since everything else was covered in her Niqab. She would give everything to be normal, just for one day. She wanted to be like all the other students. One day without being different, not being an outsider but instead, fitting into the school like a perfect match. In this society everybody looked the same except for the NSEs which stands for New Society Endangerer. The war against Middle East had pointed out that all Muslims were terrorists and must be kept in special Islamist camps, shielded by security guards with their bloodthirsty dogs at the gates.

Ms Millen entered the room, which stopped her thoughts and brought her back into the plain classroom. The teacher inspected the board, without showing interest in the repetitive action. Her eyes remaining cold and empty. Hadiya’s emotion bracelet turned orange, indicating her pain and anger. Calm down, she thought, do not let it turn red. She once saw the black/white police troop marching into the NSE camp, hoisting a man out of his apartment with a red light shining on his arm. His eyes were empty when they brought him back into the camp.

Pushing this thought to the back of her head, she tried focusing on the students around her. Everybody was wearing the same white uniform. Her black Niqab was standing out like a blemish on a clean plate. People think they want to be different but the truth was everybody wanted to be the same. Life was only enjoyable if you are flawless.

Holding that thought, she noticed the girl next to her which was wearing a pink hair-tie instead of a white one. Why on earth would she want to be different? Why would she put herself voluntarily in this position? Hadiyah felt the anger swell up to her head but her emotion bracelet reminded her  like a warn sign before entering a danger zone.

The girl had a choice and she chose to stand out while Hadiyah would give everything for one day of being just like the others. She imagined walking into the school with the white silk dress flattering around her body almost  as if she wasn’t wearing anything at all. The wind that arises while passing other students would swirl through her long brown hair, and she would walk along the corridor with elegance, pride and confidence. Being one in a crowd. Fitting into the school like a perfect match. Being flawless. Nobody could determine whether she was one of the other students or not. She could be normal. Maybe she would even have friends. She wouldn’t have to sit separate at lunch or in the classroom, fitting into the society would make her life easy and after time, they would even appreciate her as a person with a genuine personality.

The bell rang. The sharp sound cutting through the silence in her head. Indicating it was time to leave the class, but it was so much more. It was a wakeup call. She made her decision and one last look at the girls pink hair-tie reinsured her in her decision. This was her last day of being a spot in a flawless society.

Practice External

Good literature enlightens, great literature inspires action

  • Showing the truth, holding a mirror in front of us
  • Seeing what goes wrong and where we need to take action
  • Inform about things that you didn’t know before so u have to change it ( take action)
  • Cause u to think twice about what you read and how it may affects you
  • 1984 showed what could happen – surveillance
  • → it concerns me now and caused that i am more aware and take action for instance being more careful with my devices
  • Without reading it, we wouldn’t have noticed it in the first place

Reading a book can have the same effect on you as for instance holding a mirror in front of you. A mirror shows you how you really look, without a filter or cover up.

Books do a similar thing. Books reveal the truth and with this idea we open our eyes and see how our society really works and what is really behind the big face of a leader.

Those things are shown to us in the 1984 novel from George Orwell. We get confronted with the Big Brother as a leader saying “Big Brother is watching you”  but throughout the book we question if he is real or just a role that the government made up to manipulate its citizen.

Those concerns make us think about our own society and where we get manipulated.

We begin to open our eyes to what is obvious and even though we just read about a dystopian world, we ask ourselves if it is really so different from the one we are living in. 

The uncomfortable moments in a text teach us the most

  • Dystopian texts are so successful because of that
  • We remember it through emotions
  • We start paying attention
  • Maybe you question yourself why you feel that way
  • Maybe it relates to the real world and that is what scares you

The movie “Minority Report” directed by Steven Spielberg carries us into a society that seems so far from the one we are currently living in. The movie shows a dystopian future version of the world and how our society could develop.

Those features are brought to us in a disturbing way which makes us feel uncomfortable, even almost scared. We might find ourselves questioning why we are feeling that way in a particular scene. Maybe it is disgust or anxiety. Associating our emotions to specific moments in the film leads to a better memory of those scenes.

While asking why we might have those emotions we refer back to the film scene and try to analyse these by understanding the cause of our reaction.

With most things in life we have to experience them before we are able to learn or understand the depthful meaning of those. Having a bad experience or associating painful emotions with it, help us to learn from these because we do not want to feel that way again. 

Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad experiences. 

As this quote underlines the statement before, bad experiences help us to learn what we have to be careful about and where we need to take action. 


“The terrible thing that the Party had done was to persuade you that mere impulses, mere feelings, were of no account, while at the same time robbing you of all power over material world. ” 1984, Chapter VII

Winston judges his own behaviour as a child since he blames himself for killing his mum and younger sister. He is not very emotional and could never understand why his mum gave him all their food even though everybody else was starving. 

As he groves older he thinks of his mum as being special because her thoughts and feelings belonged to her while she made decisions out of intuition. She decided on a morally base because she loved him even though it was not efficient and most likely her own death. Winston sees this ability as a useful and important skill because just you can say whats wrong or right and nobody can take this decision from you. 

The party took that away with persuading the people that they don’t have to think because they would do the thinking for them. It causes that the people can’t make a decision just out of intuition because those are not always the most smartest ones. 

To think and to make our own decisions makes us human and taking it away from us, takes a part of being a human away. 

If we dont have own feelings and our own thoughts, how do we know what we truly like or desire. 

Maybe it saves you from loosing time thinking bout stuff that is not important or protects you from making a wrong decision but it also takes your identity away.

“If you can feel that staying human is worth while, even when it can´t have any result whatever, you´ve beaten them.” 1984, Chapter VII

“And when memory failed and written records were falsified—when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standard against which it could be tested.” Chapter VIII



“All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain.”

The main character Winston from george orwells book 1948 themes in Chapter 4 in a quote how the population gets manipulated by the leaders.

Winston clarifies not just the significant fraud, he also states his opinion about the system he is living in.

Choosing the example of boots is a sign for how obvious the population gets manipulated because it just takes a little bit of intellect to notice the wrong numbers of produced boots if most of the people dont have shoes at all.

The last sentence of his quote makes clear that the system manipulates the people in multiple things and they dont even stop before changing the date of the year.

After looking closer on the language used by George Orwell in the quote it appears to me, he used the symbolic of a shadow to led up to the dark side of the human nature, emphasising the dystopia of the future.

A shadow world can be also an sign for a future without happiness and sun. It would be cold and odd. The reason he used a shadow world to express his feelings shows how much he fears it.

He used a strong impression which everybody can emphasise with. Shadows are normally linked to bad happenings without sunlight and related to bleakness.

New Generation

Yesterday I drove passed a high school on my way into a new town and i spotted a destitute girl walking home with a top shoving her abdomen and shorts which revealed her backside.

My inner voice was screaming in the back of my head trying to convince me to show compassion.

Her parents probably do not have enough money to pay her new clothes which is why she has to wear the same stuff for years even though she grew out of them.

So I pulled the car over and ran after her with my new bought blanket which smelled like my exclusive leader seat. When I had caught my breath I gave her my blanket because she must have been so cold and exposed. I offered her a ride in my sophisticated and extremely fashionable car because that is what well-behaved Gentleman do. She must have been so overwhelmed owing to my kindness which leaded to her preposterous reaction. Her expression was a mix of sceptical thoughts and a little bit of fear. I noticed her hand slipping into her bag. I persuaded her she would not have to remunerate me for my actions. The girl grabbed hairspray and sprayed it into my face.

Those children were more traumatized than I thought.

This town needed a hero! The perfect preoccupation for a selfless person like me.

I , Charles Carlo had a mission but all respectable and successful heros have a friend on their side.Shortly after the idea crossed my mind I already located a upper-class girl with gorgeuos tights and a revealing red dress. She must be related to a princess. I hastily went to her and tipped on her shoulder because I did not want to lose more precious time searching for an assistant.

Gracefully her head turned around and I was like struck by lightning.

Her lips were swollen and suck in dark red blood. Her eyebrows were two bars above her green and blue coloured eyes. They must have attacked her because she was the only person dressed presentable. Not just inadequate social performance, this town occupied seriously dangerous lunatics. I convinced the woman to take a seat and reassured her because her massive lips hampered her while she tried to talk.

I poured cold water over her face to reduce the swelling. Her skin and her eyebrows began to peel away so I attempt to dry it with a tissue. It seamet to get worse because now her whole face gleamed in different colours. The woman got upset and extricate herself from me.

The people around us started taking pictures and videos and encouraged me because they were so happy about a person who helped a victim of pure aggressiveness. I was a blessing for this town.

The police officers thought the same about my action because they helped me to get out of the crowd by holding my arms. At least they were dressed acceptly!!

I was planning to give light to other people as well.



This is your online portfolio

Hello and welcome to your personal online journal.

This platform has been created to enhance and enrich your learning at Mount Aspiring College. Its purpose is to provide you with an audience for your work (or work-in-progress) and you have the choice (by altering the ‘visibility’ of your posts) of whether your work on here is visible to the world, or only to your teacher.

Anything you post here in the public domain represents you and thus it’s important that you take care with that decision, but don’t be afraid to publish your work – as the feedback you may get from people at home, your peers and people from around the internet is only likely to enhance it.

Remember you can always access your class blog and all manner of resources through the Department of English main website – and by all means check out the sites of your peers to see what they’re getting up to as well.

If you have any questions for me, an excellent way to get an answer is to create a new private post on this journal. I am notified of any new posts and will reply swiftly to any queries.

Make the most of, and enjoy this new freedom in your English learning.



Chris Waugh