A* Comparative Essay for Leaving Certificate Curriculum

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Comparative of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell,

                             "Blade Runner" directed by Ridley Scott &

                             "Sive" by John B. Keane.

Question:  “The dramatic presentation of a theme or issue can add greatly to the impact of narrative texts. Write an essay comparing how the presentation of a theme or issue, common to the texts you have studied for your comparative course, added to the impact of the texts.

"Under the spreading chestnut tree / I sold you and you sold me: / There lie they, and here lie we / Under the spreading chestnut tree" 

The dramatic presentation of the theme of dehumanisation added greatly to the impact of the narrative texts that I have studied; ‘Nineteen-Eighty four’ by George Orwell, ‘Sive’ by John B. Keane and ‘Blade Runner’ directed by Ridley Scott. The theme of dehumanisation conveyed that humanity’s capacity for evil knows no limits, never has and never will. I believe ‘Sive’ shows that dehumanisation took place in the past. ‘Nineteen-Eighty for’ shows that it took place in more recent years, as the novel was written about a time of around thirty years ago. And ‘Blade Runner’ shows that dehumanisation will continue to take place in the future. There is no escape from dehumanisation, no matter how hard we try, there will always be an upper hand to oppress the people “unworthy” of them. Whether it be through poverty or slavery, oppression or fear, destruction of love or destruction of the human spirit or through mental and physical torture. There is no escape. I complete agree with the above statement, without the theme of dehumanisation, ‘Nineteen Eighty four’ would mean nothing, ‘Sive’ would just be a story of a young girl in 1950’s rural Ireland, the typical story and ‘Blade Runner’ would just be another sci-fi movie. I believe the great impact of dehumanisation truly makes each of the texts.

 

“… Proles for whom the lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive.”

Dehumanisation is achieved, in each text, in many different ways. The first I’m going to address is poverty. Throughout ‘Nineteen Eighty four’ images of poverty of both the Proles and the Outer Party are conveyed in contrast to their oppressors, the Inner Party, who live a life of luxury. The image portrayed of the former city of London, now called Airstrip One, in the opening chapters of the novel illustrate an impoverished world. The Outer Party members suffer a life of sparseness and inadequacies highlighted by how Winston must covet rationed items such as razor blades and even food. They are forced into this poverty by the Inner Party and Big Brother. They control everything and by forcing the rest of society into poverty, it is easier to control and dehumanise.

This is reflected in ‘Sive’ by how money controls morals. Mena, Sive’s Aunt, agrees to sell her niece to an old farmer, Sean Dota. The poverty in this society forces people to give in to greed. Money is an obsession with most of the characters and happiness is conceived only in financial terms. It is saddening to think people are so impoverished, they are willing to sell a young girl for an amount of money that wouldn’t have lasted as long as she would, had she not killed herself. “Money is the best friend a man ever had.”

 This poverty is again mirrored in ‘Blade Runner’. Here, poverty is portrayed by how the population of Earth has been forced to move to off world locations. Only few remain and the image we see of them is quite an impoverished one. The only person seen with any sort of wealth is Tyrell, the creator of the replicants, it is almost as if he created them just to be in control over them. “If we gift them with a past, we create a cushion, or a pillow for their emotions, and consequently we can control them better” The theme of dehumanisation presented through poverty adds great impact to each of the narrative texts.

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