12th November 2018

Practice Exam, Sean Eaton.

Statement:Our reading experience is heightened when we care about the fate of the protagonist

How am i going to respond to this statement?  Firstly in my introduction i am going to make it clear that i do not agree a hundred percent that our experience is heightened or dictated when we care about the fate of the protagonist, while i do believe that having emotion invested in a character can sometimes be helpful in making a piece of literature enjoyable and engaging,i believe that it is not a necessity for making a piece of literature so. 

I will be using the Dystopian text”Nineteen Eighty Four” as a example/evidence to support my point of view of disagreeing to the statement that “Our reading experience is heightened when we care about the fate of the protagonist.  In great pieces of literature our reading experience being good or bad is dictated by weather the message of the piece is realatable,engaging and inspiring. 

In my first body paragraph i will be talking about how George Or Well was more driven by ideas for writing, than he was in using character development for heightening our reading experience.  For example in the dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty Four” George Or Well used a character called Winston Smith to embody the image of an ordinary non heroic average citizen.  He did this purposely so that the character didn’t detract from the ideas that Or Well was trying to get across to the reader.  There for by having us readers not forming a emotional connection with the protagonist Winston Smith,our reading experience was able to be heightened as we were more focused on the idea’s that Or Well was trying to convey.   Orwell managed to captivate us despite not using the conventional type of protagonist.  This writing technique of focusing more on the warning’s and ideas that the writer is trying to get across,than trying to get the reader to want to be the protagonist, is true of most dystopias as they are more about idea’s and warnings about possible dystopian futures,where the writer takes a idea from our society and writes about it in futuristic setting to try and get us to understand the negative implications that it could have on society in the future.  In the case of Nineteen Eighty Four it would be that totalitarianism in government is controlling and manipulative.

In my second body paragraph i will be discussing how 1984 (A dystopian text) is still able to be engaging and inspiring through the use of interesting messages and ideas rather than Winston Smith being a particularity interesting character,one of these important messages is that technology can be used to manipulate and strip us of our individuality.  Orwell used surveillance in the futuristic setting that Nineteen Eighty Four was staged to give us a warning,this warning was that under the rule of a tyrannical government or even just in the wrong hands technology can be dangerous.  In the novel the community of Oceania was oppressed and under constant surveillance to make sure everyone stayed in line.  Surveillance was every where,it was on the streets in your work place and even in your own homes.  Government police called the “thought police” watched and listened through telly screens “There was no way of knowing if you were being watched at any given moment”  this quote is so interesting now days as it has become so relevant with the increase of the use of technology in our day to day lives.  Technology is everywhere and can be used to survey and record our personal lives.  Or Well tried  to warn us how controlling technology could become,and it has silently become so.  Do you read the terms and conditions of the apps and websites that you use? now days we unconsciously sell our personal lives to websites for increased convenience. If a tyrannical leader came into power they would be able to manipulate us into what ever they wanted.  Even tho Nineteen Eighty Four may not have inspired us to take action against technology that spy on us,it did inspire us to create the technology’s that Orwell creepily predicted would be part of our future.  Despite the fact that Or Well didn’t use the typical heroic character that we all get attached to,he was still able to inspire and invoke change in us, this supports my point of view that 

Introduction…The dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four, written by George OrWell in 1944 is a good supportive text to my point of view on the statement “Our reading experience is heightened when we care about the fate of the protagonist”, Personally I believe that Our reading experience can sometimes be heightened when we care and have emotion invested in the protagonist.  How ever I believe that caring for and having the typical heroic protagonist is not the only way that we enjoy and have our reading experience heightened.  This is particularity relevant for dystopias as a genre, as they often rely more on idea’s that come with there futuristic setting/world.  In Nineteen Eighty Four one of the main idea’s that heighten our reading experience is that the novel prompts thought about the world we live in,by giving us an insight to the dangers of totalitarianism in government.  The novel also is able to inspire change,even though it may not of been in the direction that OrWell was hoping for,it did this by taking technology that did not yet exist and using them to show the dangers that they could bring.  Nineteen Eighty Four also uses the idea that Knowledge is power which tells a lot about our world today.

George OrWells Nineteen Eighty four carries a warning to the world about the dangers and perils of totalitarianism in government.  George OrWell did this by taking strands politics from the time (around 1935-1940) and projecting his over dramatic vision of where the world could be heading to give us insight to what the future could hold. Now Days OrWells books (especially Nineteen Eighty Four) have such a large impact on readers, as over the years we can look back and see how parts of his book have pushed there way to being part of our reality,this heightens our reading experience as it prompts us to think about the parts of Nineteen Eighty Four that have yet to come to life.  In the novel the state of Oceania(which is like Orwells version of Briton)was very oppressed and in full control by the government.  The face of the government could be seen on posters found all around the city.  A caption ran under the posters “Big brother is watching you”,a constant surveillance swept through OrWells world keeping everyone in line.  This shows us that being watched/surveillance can used as a weapon and a way to manipulate state especially in the hands of a totalitarianism government.  This idea of the dangers of totalitarianism in government, heightens our reading experience as it prompts us to think about our society today.  We too are often under the careful eye of the government and with the use of technology and social media we are putting more and more of our personal lives out there essentially selling our privacy and parts of our lives for increased convenience. 

Nineteen Eighty Four has had such a large impact on the world that we live in today as I believe that it has inspired the creations of a lot of the technology’s that we see and use on a day to day basis.  In the novel there are technology that are used to control and oppress the citizens of Oceania and “Air Strip One” that resemble the technology that we have today in such a close manor that it cannot be mere coincidence.  In the novel they talk about a piece of tech that they call a “telly screen” which closely resembles what we all call a TV/Television in today’s society.  The only possible difference between the two apart from the miniature difference in name is that the “Telly screen” is being used by the government to spy on every citizen’s in Oceania to the extent where it is a crime to not have or to turn you screen off “they could be dimmed but never completely turned of”.  There were also ”  ” which closely resemble what we see today as helicopters.  The ” ” was used in the section of the novel where Winston smith was arrested for thought crime and being found having a relationship with Julia.  There are many other technology’s that were utilized in OrWells book, and as mentioned earlier it cannot be mere coincidence that they resemble each other so closely in not only appearance and use but also in name.  I believe that the creative futuristic technology’s that Orwell described grabbed our attention, heightening our reading experience and ultimately leading to the creating of the technology that OrWell was ironically trying to warn and steer us away from. 

 In the world of Oceania, Orwell described a new language that was being comprised by the government.  This language was one of the key ideas that formulated a large chunk of the book.  This language was called “News speak” ,News speak was basically a version of English that was slowly being dismantlement into words that meant basic and primitive things.  “don’t you see Winston, the whole aim of new’s speak is to narrow the range of thought” this quote confirms that the whole point of news speak was yet another manipulation technique used by the government to suppress thought, to the point where the words to speak with were so limited that we could no longer express our selves in the same way that we used to.  News speak was so powerful as those who control the words that we have to think with ultimately control what we think.  News speak is such a interesting concept as it initiates a thought process in our heads where we think about our own language and how what we might be also be having our emotion and individuality being help captive by the language that we use.  Are there emotions and thoughts that are being intentionally being held from us with out us knowing.  While we don’t care as much about the fate of Winston than we would of a character that we admire,we are still made to feel empathy towards him as we get to see the many ways that he is manipulated.  Because Winston is a direct comparison to the average person we are able to relate too and put our selves in his shoes which ultimately heightens our reading experience,but this isn’t because we care about the fate of Winston but more because he is easy to relate to.

In conclusion while our reading experience can potentially be heightened when we care about the fate of the protagonist,it is not the only way that our reading experience can be uplifted.  Dystopias as a genre don’t depend on having a particular heroic and interesting character to tell a story or get a message across,instead they often use a ordinary relatable character to not distract us from the warnings they provide,this is particular so in Nineteen Eighty Four as the boringly ordinary Winston smith is used as one of the many victims of the corrupt society, in order to bring interesting ideas to light that prompt thought and inspiration.  This can have just as large if not larger effect than a book that rely’s on reader and character relationships,as it is effectively the ideas from dystopias that help heighten our reading experiences and ultimately  our futures.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. You are really becoming a lot more fluent in your writing. This sounds strong and authoritative. I would encourage you to bring a comment about Winston as the protagonist into each paragraph should you do something like this where you twist a question so dramatically. You, in reality, would be better to choose a question that is about setting/symbol/idea as then you don’t have to twist it nearly to the same degree.

    Otherwise, this is great progress. Make sure you DO learn and use those quotes as you say you will.



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