Questions and answers about English Essays

Question: Investigate to what degree Orwell's fictional world of psycholinguistic mind control, super-surveillance, Big Brother, and "the mutability of the past" is reflected in modern life in American society. Was Orwell totally off the mark in his predictions, or are we already- and unknowingly- living in a reality not unlike Winston's world?

This is an essay topic you can really get your teeth into. The parallels are enormous: TV, video, government propaganda/newspeak, unending war against an enemy who is reviled for evil. Use following thoughts by citing passages from the novel which illustrate the points and using newspapers, magazine and internet sources to provide information about the current state of affairs in America. Assume your reader is not specifically familiar with either area so you need to provide for each area that you wish to speak about a brief statement of what has happened, a source to provide data and your interpretation of how this works to back up your thesis.

1984 Study Guide

Video surveillance has become so ubiquitous that it is said that the average person is videotaped 10 times a day. (I don't know the exact number or source, but it is worth finding out for this essay and it would be useful in your introduction.) In many communities, police use video cameras to control crime. Police have either mounted cameras in public locations or use portable cameras to take pictures from their vehicles. This greatly expands the police ability to identify and prosecute people engaged in anti-social behavior.

However, as in 1984, the government is manipulating language in order to further its own political goals. The most obvious example is the "Patriot Act" which is really legislation that rolls back civil liberties and expands police powers of surveillance and arrest. Labelling groups as "terrorist" eliminates the need to judge the validity of their causes. Whereas once the label "terrorist" was strictly applied to non-governmental organizations engaged in lethal campaigns, today the label includes states which tolerate or encourage opposition to U.S. corporate and military hegemony as well as groups engaged in non-violent civil disobedience. Once you apply the label "terrorist" to an organization or individual, it's very hard to defend that person/group, even if they act in support of some values you support.

The war on terrorism, which was originally started by President Bush, has (predictably) evolved into a long-term struggle taking place on many fronts on an undefined timetable. This is a striking parallel with the war in "1984". (You can expand on this by citing the book and also Bush's 2002 State of the Union address.) Although President Obama officially ended the "War on Terror," drone missiles continue to kill identified enemies in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen. Finally, the novel cites a regular "two minutes of hate" for the main enemy of the state. Current American culture, fed by government propaganda, has created a culture of hate focused on Osama bin Laden in particular and Arab Muslims in general. By labelling his enemies "an axis of evil" President Bush created and reinforced an emotional reaction which legitimates the government's internal control of the American population while justifying military exploits against countries of their choice.

Question: Tom Robinson's trial is another model to Scout and Jem. When they arrive, the whole town is piling into the courthouse and there is no room down in the "white section", so Jem and Scout sit up with Rev. Sykes and the Black people without hesitation. During Bob Ewell's testimony, he is asked to describe what he saw and he said, "---I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella." This shows the other perspectives of Maycomb, and this time, Scout realizes that it is wrong the way the people in her town treat African Americans.

I don't know what to say about your question. It appears to have been plucked out of the middle of an essay.The reason I say this is that the first sentence states the trial is "another model." This makes me think there was something which came before and I don't know what it was. Even if it was following another paragraph I would want to state what this is a model of. I'm not sure if you want me to comment or proofread it. There's not enough to proofread, so I'll comment.

To Kill a Mockingbird Study Guide

What I think you are saying is that the trial is an example of the prejudice of the white people against the black people of the town.

It is significant that Scout and Jem have to sit with the black people and then realize the perspective of the black people about prejudice in the town for this is the very heart of the novel. Harper Lee uses this novel to open the eyes of white people to the bigotry of the south at this point in history. It's like the old saying about walking a mile in another man's shoes. Here, Jem and Scout literally sit in the seats of the black people in order to see things from their perspective.You can find many other places in the novel where Scout and Jem begin to observe the prejudice of Mayberry. The chapter in which Jem and Scout visit Calpurnia's church functions in this way. The children witness both the cohesiveness of the Black community, as well as see their perspective. You need to cite these passages and discuss how they work. Use the example of the courtroom in your reading and look for ways in which Scout and Jem interact with black people in ways that most white people ordinarily do not. Consider their social position. Hopefully you will find other examples of how the author uses their experience to open the reader's eyes to the experience of the black people.

My apologies to people of African origin for using the terminology of the novel to describe the characters.

Question: How would I start an essay with this thesis about Ernest Hemingway: "Hemingway's characters reflect his life and his isolation from society."

Probably the best way is to choose a particular character. Make a statement about that character and how they are isolated from society. Then you can follow it up with another observation about a different character. You probably want to choose narrators, since these are the characters that Hemingway probably identified with. This will lead you into your thesis statement. What you particularly want to do in this essay is show the parallels between the isolation of Hemingway's characters and Hemingway himself. There's a particularly gruesome description of suicide in "To Have and Have Not" which is similar to Hemingway's own death.

Question: How is the theme of loneliness demonstrated in "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck?

This is an essay question that may never die. Every English teacher in the U.S. must ask it. OK, then. Loneliness is a key theme in the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Both Curley's wife and Crooks demonstrate loneliness. Crooks is a Black man who works at the farm with the horses. He lives by himself because he is the only Black man on the farm. Crooks rejects all the kindness he is offered. Crooks is unique in ways beyond his skin color. Crooks was born in California, unlike many other people who migrated from other places, but he still feels like an outsider to the other people in the farm and home state, because his skin color keeps him separate. All Crooks wants to do is sit in the bunk house and play cards, but he is not allowed. However, one night Lennie finds Crooks in his room alone after he had played a joke on him and threatens him physically when Crooks realizes he thinks like a kid, he then invites Lennie for one night, so he won't be lonely. As a result he then becomes a part of George and Lennie's dream in buying a farm. This dream is shattered when Curley's wife criticizes it. He refuses to say she is wrong, but he doesn't say anything and accepts the fact that he lives in ever-present racial discrimination. Crooks knows for a fact he would never be able to speak freely and that his voice doesn't count as other people's in the ranch.

Crooks' statement, “I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick” shows he feels confident in talking to Lennie. Candy comes to the room and the narrator reveals, “It was difficult to conceal his pleasure with anger.” He does not want them to know he likes all the attention and that it would get the better of him because he had suffered too much already, so he keeps it to himself. Crooks does not play a big role in Of Mice and Men; however, he is a key example of loneliness because he is the only Black person. He doesn't feel welcome wherever he goes, so he doesn't talk to many people and doesn't have many friends, which causes him to be lonely. He has no family but wishes he has someone to talk to, but because of his color he is being held back. Crooks is just going crazy because of his loneliness; he has no one to talk to and no one to keep him company: it is just him alone in his house. He doesn't have any of the workers in the farmer to talk to him because they aren't allowed in his house and Crooks isn't allowed in their homes so he is separated from the other people. Crooks is just there when the other people are having fun and talking to each other while Crooks is in his house alone.

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Curley's wife is also lonely. It is significant that she is not even given a name by Steinbeck. Curley’s wife is the only woman on the ranch. Her husband, Curley, is very possessive of her. Curley tries to isolate her from everyone on the ranch. Curley’s wife says, “Sat’day night ever’body out doin’ som’pin’. Ever’body! An’what am I doin’? standin’here talkin’ to a bunch of bindle stiffs…an’ likin’ it because they ain’t nobody else.” Considering Curley’s wife was the only woman on the ranch, she was forced to socialize with many of the ranch hands. When they are out working, she was very lonely. Curley’s wife has no other choice but to flirt with the other ranch hands to sooth her loneliness. Ranch hands described her as, “She has full, rouged lips and wide-spaced eyes, heavily made up. Her fingernails were red...the insteps of which were little bouquets of red ostrich feathers.” Because of her reputation for dressing so provocatively and being a flirt, everybody was scared to talk to her. No matter how hard she tried, Curley’s wife would never fit in, so she was totally isolated.

Question: In Shakespeare's time people had a deep belief in "Fate". Shakespeare reflects this in his play "Romeo and Juliet", in which fate starts the play and is relied on up to the end of the play.

Romeo and Juliet begins with a reference to "Star Crossed Lovers" as mentioned in the obening lines by the Chorus. "Star Crossed" means that the stars influenced their actiions and outcomes. The way that Romeo ends up going to the Capulet ball is also an accident of chance. It is only because the Capulet servant, Peter, is unable to read and asks Romeo and Mercutio to help him that Romeo is motivated to attend the ball in order to see Rosalind.

Romeo and Juliet Study Guide

Furthermore, as the plot unfolds, elements of chance pushe events along. For example, an outbreak of the plague blocks the messenger from alerting Romeo in exile to Juliet's plan to fake her death. Romeo's return is only slightly early, causing a tragedy, instead f a happy reunion. Many additional references to time and chance are peppered throughout the text. If you can find and cite these, you will have written a solid essay.