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1984 A novel by George Orwell Honors Communication Skills Author: George Orwell • Pen name for Eric Blair • Great education (usually only afforded to the most wealthy) – best boarding schools in England • Described self as “lower-upper-middle class” = never quite fit in with peers at school • Bought ragged clothes to live among the poorest and homeless of London and Paris (wrote book) and then among coal miners • Based on those experiences, abandoned capitalism in favor of democratic socialism Author: George Orwell • Journalist • 1936: traveled to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War - witnessed firsthand the atrocities committed by fascist political regimes • Dictators such as Adolf Hitler in Germany and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union inspired mounting hatred of totalitarianism and political authority • Wrote politically charged novels – Animal Farm in 1945 – 1984 in 1949 Context • Recall our discussion of the late 1940s and early 1950s before and during Fahrenheit 451 • Rapid growth and fear of technology • Threat of nuclear war • Advent of mass media (television) 1984 • One of the most powerful warnings ever issued against the dangers of a totalitarian society • Technology makes this threat greater • Dystopia: shows the worst human society imaginable, in an effort to convince readers to avoid any path that might lead toward such societal degradation 1984 • Abusive nature of authoritarian governments • Psychology of power (what it does to those with power and those without) • Manipulation of language for control • Manipulation of history for control The World of 1984 • Not the structure of the world we know today (continents and countries) • Three perpetually warring totalitarian states control the world: – Oceania: (ideology: Ingsoc, i.e. English Socialism) Newspeak is the official language – made up of Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, Polynesia, Southern Africa, and the Americas – Eurasia: (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism) made up of continental Europe and northern Asia – Eastasia (ideology: Obliteration of the Self, i.e. "Death worship") made up of China, Japan, Korea, and Northern India The World of 1984 The telescreen war: the arrows of the warring Black (Eurasian) and White (Oceanian) forces (source: Wikipedia). Totalitarian State • Each of the states is totalitarian • This chart shows the social heirarchy of Oceania, but we can assume that Eurasia and Eastasia are very similar. Pre-reading Activity #1 • What is totalitarianism? – a political system where the state, usually under the control of a single political organization, faction, or class domination, recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life (Wikipedia) – total control • Group Assignment: Create your own totalitarian government – YOU’RE IN CONTROL! Pre-reading Activity #2 • What is a utopia? – An ideal society – perfect – taken from Of the Best State of a Republic, and of the New Island Utopia, a book written in 1516 by Sir Thomas More describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean, possessing a seemingly perfect socio-politico-legal system – Often used to refer to something impossible (perfection as unattainable) • Group Assignment: Create your own utopia Works Consulted • "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 4 Dec 2009, 05:35 UTC. 4 Dec 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nine teen_Eighty-Four&oldid=329615011>. • SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on 1984.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 17 Nov. 2009. 4 Dec. 2009 <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/1984/>.
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