1984: HSC English Cheat Sheet

Written by Elisa Han. 

The multifaceted nature of human behavior can be created through the introduction of new ideas that are realised through storytelling. 

Does this ring any bells for the English Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences? If it doesn’t, I highly recommend you revisit our other blog post where we have broken down keywords of the Common Module rubric and some handy tricks to elevate your writing. 

Today, we will delve into Nineteen Eighty-Four(1984) by George Orwell, a popular text studied for this module by considering the genre, social and historical context of the novel, author, and ultimately, why is this text still relevant today.

Here are some key words that we have compiled together that you should include in your 1984 essay to maximize your marks and let the marker know you are an expert on the text!

Genre of the Text:

1984 is a precautionary tale, a novel that is told to raise awareness in hopes to avoid danger.

1984 is also a dystopian texts, which means it often focus on a particularly significant aspect of our current world and then hypothesize about the potentially extreme, negative consequences of that event, belief, or situation. 

Furthermore, it can be described as an elaborate satire on modern politics, prophesying a world perpetually laid waste by warring dictators.




George Orwell’s political satire reflects Orwell’s personal experiences post-WWII, acting as a precautionary tale towards the restrictive nature of political power in defining identity.

1984 is set in a totalitarian reign, a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state. This is seen through the only existing political force,The Party, with one direct ruler- “Big Brother”.



Jargon from the text:


Limits the capacity for autonomous expression, thus preventing natural human emotions from arising in response to negative words

Example: instead of BAD it is UNGOOD



The ability to hold two contradicting thoughts in your head simultaneously. This represses an individual’s ability to think independently to prevent a rebellion towards The Party. 

Example: Winston describes his job both as “a mathematical problem- delicate pieces of forgery” which is paradoxical and cannot hold true at the same time.


The Party:

It is an all-controlling political party and notable characters that we interact with is O’Brien who initially presented himself to Winston and Julia as a follower of Emmanuel Goldstein and rebel towards The Party. The Party is also the only political choice within Oceania. 


Big Brother: 

Supreme ruler of Oceania and leader of The Party. Also a symbol of constant surveillance and suppression despite an amicable title. He is also the mascot and representative of the Party. 



Someone who has been vaporized– extinguished from society and all traces or history has been erased. For example, Syme became an Unperson and was vaporised as all evidence of his existence has been destroyed alongside the work he has done for The Party.


That’s it for today’s blog and I hope it helped you understand the novel more as well as given you some inspiration for vocabulary that you should include in your essay or multimodal presentation 🙂

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