1984 Vs Brave New World Essay Prompts

Driving Question:
Who should we fear the most--
the government, or ourselves?

​​​"In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us.
Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us."
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Your Task: Identify a common theme in 1984 and Brave New World, and decide which depiction of a dystopian society is more relevant to us today.

English 12 Honors Requirements

  • Independent Reading: You will read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley independently. You are expected to acquire your own copy of the book (if finances are an issue, please see me privately). You will discuss the book at five discussions on Thursday office hours. To prepare for discussions, you will complete a reading log for each chapter that I will check at our meetings.
  • Compare-Contrast Literary Analysis Essay: You will write an essay comparing and contrasting 1984 and Brave New World.
    • Topic selection due 10/26: You will select a topic from the list in the project packet (or propose your own).
    • Essay outline due 11/2: You will submit an outline of your essay, including your thesis statement, evidence and basis of analysis.
    • Rough draft due to GC on 11/9: Submit your rough draft to Google Classroom. You have the option to also attend office hours to have a writing conference with Deepti about your work.
    • Final essay due 11/16 In your essay, you will assert and explore a thesis statement by comparing and contrasting examples from Brave New World and 1984. You will support your thesis statement with at least 12 quotes from both novels, followed by your own original analysis.
  • Speaking/Listening: You will actively participate in four weekly Socratic seminar discussions about the assigned weekly reading. You will receive one score demonstrating mastery in this area. 

Project Documents

Brave New World Resources

Brave New World and 1984 are alike in envisioning a dystopic future in which the state robs individuals of their deepest humanity. The two governments depicted, however, are different in the ways they attempt achieve their goals. Brave New World's government succeeds by making life very comfortable for its citizens through conditioning, consumerism, orgies, and the drug soma. The citizens, thinking they are happy, don't realize they are being cheated of the pain, art, religion, and deep relationships that make us fully human. 1984's government succeeds in maintaining power by crushing outer Party members into conformity through fear, surveillance, dumbing down the language, and economic deprivation. 

A comparison/contrast paper could compare and contrast Winston Smith to John the Savage. Both rebel against their dystopic worlds. However, Winston fights back through pursuing such comforts as a loving relationship. He also fights back by trying to join a purported underground rebellion. He does not want to die, but to live.

In contrast, John the Savage embraces an austere lifestyle without a woman to prevent himself from being corrupted by the comforts of his new world, and in the end, he commits suicide as a way out.

A thesis might say something like this: Both Winston Smith and John the Savage rebel against the soulless conformity of their dystopic worlds, but the different natures of their dystopias dictate different modes of rebellion: for Smith, rebellion involves embracing ordinary human comforts and a love relationship, while for John it means rejecting the temptations of both materialism and superficial sexual relations. 

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