Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Gabriel Hankins

Committee Member

Dr. Brian McGrath

Committee Member

Dr. Maria Bose


George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four carries a “cultural afterlife” as a result of “interested” criticism, which has a set political/practical barometer or motive. While everyone agrees that the novel presents a frightening dystopia, many also consider it a prophetic piece that illuminates the possible corruption of executive power of a nation thanks to this cultural afterlife; the modern and popular term “Orwellian” resulted from these sorts of analyses and have only escalated in the years since its inception. As a result, within the past decade, multiple scholars, analysts, and journalists have referenced Orwell’s novel as a factual representation of this executive power left unchecked, bolstering it as a warning and emphasizing the need to preserve the rights of both free speech and privacy. This sort of criticism became rampant during the era of the Snowden Trials (2013–15) and has not slowed down since. Comparisons and analyses like these could digress into a discussion of some other sociopolitical idea rather than Nineteen Eighty-Four, the novel, which Orwell argued against. Orwell himself could be classified as a “disinterested” critic, shedding light on the interested criticism performed by the Party and presenting the manipulation and opportunism on display in Nineteen Eighty-Four. This style of critique is not void of politics or even motivation, in fact, quite the opposite, but his presentation of the fictional texts’ use and abuse within the novel is highly reflective of the interested criticism that I just described regarding Snowden. I aim to accomplish a disinterested, Orwellian criticism of Nineteen Eighty-Four versus “1984” that is still inherently political, with a focus on the Snowden revelations after 2013.



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