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A Guide to 1984

Steph Atkinson | Tuesday April 17, 2012

Categories: Hot Entries, Prose, Nineteen Eighty Four, Writing, Prose Analysis, AQA A Level, AQA A Level English Literature A, LITA3

image1984 Film Artwork by Shepard Fairey

Love and Relationships in 1984

1984 is commonly studied at A Level and is often cited as a fine modern example of dystopian fiction. At the heart of the narrative lies a relationship between two characters: the protagonist, Winston Smith and his girlfriend and accomplice, known simply as Julia: this has both thematic and symbolic significance. In addition, Winston’s relationship with his mother, his colleagues, and O’Brien, and the relationship between the present and the past, are important, as well as the nature of love.

The aim of this teaching guide is to trace love and relationships through the novel looking at aspects of language, form and structure as well as narrative aspects such as plot, characterisation, description and theme. Such a critical approach covers many of the assessment objectives required on various A Level courses:

  • Close textual analysis and following a line of argument.
  • The consideration of different readings of a text.
  • Analysis at the levels of form, structure, language, narrative and genre.
  • Application of literary and linguistic terminology.
  • Comparison within and across texts.
  • Use of social, cultural and historical contexts.

This guide is therefore intended to be useful for any syllabus for which 1984 may be studied, either as a set text or as wider reading. It may be of particular use for AQA A LITA3 (Love through the Ages). Page references are to the Penguin edition of the novel (2008, although earlier editions may have the same page numbers).

Overview of Relationships in 1984 | Key Aspects to Explore

The following main aspects of the novel will be analysed throughout this guide:

  • The relationship Orwell creates between the characters of Winston and Julia
  • The relationship between Parsons and his family
  • Concepts of love as portrayed in the novel, particularly different attitudes to love and relationships in the novel’s present and past
  • Winston’s relationship...

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