1984: Part Three

As we begin Part Three of 1984 of 1984, you will be preparing for another round of group discussions over key points in the first three chapters. While you debated with other groups over about the interpretation of key scenes and were assessed on your use of rhetorical language and traits of an effective communicator last time, this round of discussions will focus on your ability to conduct ‘conversational threading’ and connect your topic of discussion with the different topics of your classmates.

The topics for chapters 1 and 2 of Part Three in 1984 are:

  1. How is juxtaposition used in chapter 1? What purpose does it serve, and how does it relate to Orwell’s overall use of paradox and irony in the novel?
  2. What is the only reason political prisoners are captured? How is this different from the proles, and how does this clearly highlight the differences between the two classes of society?
  3. Who else is imprisoned with Winston, and why are they imprisoned? How are the subtle differences in their crimes still related?
  4. What is ironic about Parson’s imprisonment? How does his reaction to his punishment differ from Winston, and what does this say about Parson?
  5. Why is physical torture used to change Winston’s mind? What is O’Brien and the party’s ultimate goal?

Questions/Topics for Round Two:

  1. Is O’Brien a former members of the brotherhood? How does the ambiguity around his character further serve Orwell’s use of paradox?
  2. Why does 2+2=5? What is the ultimate goal of the party’s torture of Winston?
  3. What is in room 101?

Additionally, we continued to discuss the possible connections and parallels to events in the book to real life. We’ve already identified to similarities between Orwell’s ‘telescreens’ as smartphones, and the ‘speakwrite’ as voice-to-text, the constant running of the screens to our constant need to be ‘plugged in’ to our phones or devices, and the microphones scattered around Airstrip One to our microphones and video recorders on our phones.

In Part Three O’Brien attempts to change Winston’s thoughts through rather drastic means – while we don’t see this in the real world, we do see  our ‘telescreens’ attempting to influence and change our habits (and maybe thoughts) through online advertising and the algorithms used to run them. After watching portions of a TED Talk about “We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads” (00:00:00-00:12:00 and 00:16:33-00:18:00), we discussed how our apps and ads target us for information, and how the information gathered on us is sold – in order to gather more information and sell us more stuff. As you browse the web, play Angry Birds or use Facebook over the weekend, pay attention to the ads and videos you are shown online – how does your phone know what to show you? Do advertisements you seen online influence you to click on or buy things? Do you think this is similar at all to the ideas Orwell discusses in 1984? Algorithms aren’t people, and therefore cannot make ‘bad’ decisions – however, what are the ethics involved in using these algorithms?

Also, I shared my anecdote in class of talking about buying new wedding bands, and having my phone show me specialized ads later for the exact rings Mr. Pierce and I were discussing – even though we never typed them into our phone – and you guys were really interested and (understandably) unnerved. After a little bit of researching I found out that apps that use software from Alphonso automatically enable your microphone to record and analyze what you say, and then use algorithms to show you ads. While this is pretty benign, it is something to consider in relation to the ideas Orwell presents us in the novel 1984 – plus, as users of digital platforms, you should be aware of how your private data is being used. Searching “Alphonso Automated” in iTunes or the PlayStore will show you a list of apps that use this software, and  You can read a New York Times article about the software here.

Just a few of the apps that use Alphonso software – do you recognize any of them?

As you consider the questions above over the weekend, also consider software like Alphonso – should companies be more up-front about using this software? Should they make it easier for users to disable it on their smart phones? How is this similar or different to the surveillance and thought-manipulation in 1984? What would Orwell say about this? You’ll have a Google Classroom discussion post about this later in the week, so consider it!

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

1984 – Part One

In Part One of Orwell’s 1984, we are introduced to the protagonist Winston Smith, the setting of Airstrip One, and the oppressive power of Big Brother and INGSOC. Part One of the novel is full of Winston’s exposition, and is important to ‘set the stage’ and help us understand the day-to-day life for Party members, the depth of surveillance instituted by Big Brother and the mental and emotional state of our main character.

As we work through part one, you should work to familiarize yourself with the important characters:

  • Winston Smith
  • O’Brian
  • Parsons
  • Smye
  • Mr. Charrington
  • Emmanuel Goldstein
  • The Proles
  • Katherine

Additionally, you should pay attention and be sure to understand the Newspeak words used in Part One, as well as understanding what Newspeak is:

  • Totalitarianism
  • socialism
  • communism
  • telescreen
  • two minutes hate
  • INGSOC
  • speakwrite
  • thought crime
  • thought police
  • the party
  • inner party
  • outer party
  • Proles
  • the Spies
  • Junior Anti-Sex League
  • The Brotherhood
  • Newspeak
  • OldSpeak
  • Doublethink
  • groupthink
  • memory hole
  • floating fortress
  • FFCC
  • unperson

Finally, be sure to understand the themes of Part One, and be able to explain how we see these themes in the text:

  • The Power of Language
  • Privacy and Technology
  • The Control of Information
  • The Importance of History
  • Individual Freedoms
  • Relationships and Human Connections

Please see the video below for background information on 1984.

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

George Orwell’s 1984

This unit we will be analyzing the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Published in 1948, it is a work of dystopian science fiction, set in England (called Airstrip One) in an alternate version of the year 1984.  As we read and analyze this novel over the course of the next few weeks, keep in mind the overarching theme that we have been examining this entire semester – the importance of language.

Orwell believed very strongly in the importance of simple language and literature to expose truth and highlight the reality of ‘ordinary people’. Please review the video below from class for background information on Orwell and his motivation for writing.

Additionally, we are reading Orwell’s short essay “Why I Write”, where he highlights the motivations behind all writers, and specifically discusses how he balanced these motivations within himself. Click here to access the essay.

As we discussed in class, the differences between a uptopia and a dystopia follow the chart below. However, you also discussed that a utopia would have a strong family focus, and would be efficient and planned, with little waste.

However, you very perceptively discussed how, if we want a system of ‘perfect’ laws, happiness, cleanliness and efficiency, we have to cede a certain amount of individual control (whether its governmental, economic, educational, or legislative) to make that happen – and that if that control is corrupted, a utopia can easily become a dsytopia.

We will be examining these ideas in-depth throughout our reading of Orwell’s 1984, so be aware of examples of dystopian control when they appear.

Additionally, please be sure to plan your time wisely to complete the readings for each week. You should come to class each Monday prepared for that week’s chapters. Please also prepare to have a test over each part of the novel. 

Part One

  • Chapters 1-4, October 8th-12th
  • Chapters 5-8, October 15th-19th

Part Two

  • Chapters 1-5, October 22-26th
  • Chapters 6-10, October 29th-November 2nd

Part Three

  • Chapters 1-2, November 5th-9th
  • Chapters 3-6, November 12th-16th
12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

From ‘Old’ to ‘Middle’ English

As we move away from the warrior culture and oral tradition of Beowulf and “The Dream of the Rood”, and into the established British culture of the middle ages, we will also look at how English changed form ‘Old’ to ‘Middle.

With the Norman Conquest in 1066AD, French became the language of the royals, the court, and the legal system, while Latin was still the language of the Catholic Church. With the introduction of French, ‘Old English’ began to change, losing the special endings off of adverbs and adjectives, introducing

Tyndale Bible

‘softer’ sounds and the upward inflecting vowel at the end of words. Over 10,000 words were also introduced into English from French during this time, though were distinctions existed French was still preferred. Despite these changes, English was still the language of the ‘common people’.

Once the black plague decimated the population and the working-merchant class grew (1340-1360)  – once the British took back over the monarchy from France (1453) – and once the Bible was translated into English by WilliamTyndale (1534), English began to take its place as a language with more power in British culture.


12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

Leading Through Language – Analysis of Modern Traits of Leadership Through Language Use

As we’ve analyzed the speeches in Beowulf and discussed how they illustrate the traits of leadership that were prized during that time period, it is important to consider what traits of leadership we expect in modern leaders, and how we expect them to convey these traits to us through their use of language.

In class you read excerpts from a variety of different leaders over the past 60 years. In each of these speeches you identified leadership qualities you believed were important:

  • Compassion and empathy for one’s fellow man.
  • Humility.
  • A focus on bringing others together.
  • Wisdom through experience.
  • Education and intelligence.
  • Reliability and trustworthiness.
  • Strong moral or ethical convictions.
  • Being able to relate to others or “real”.

Many of these speeches utilized the same techniques in language to express these traits of leadership – here is the list of most common techniques from our notes in class:

  • Allusions to other great leaders to cement education, moral and ethical convictions and credibility.
  • Repetition of third person pronouns such as ‘we’ and ‘us’  to bring the audience and speaker together and unify them behind a common cause.
  • Descriptions of lived experiences to illustrate wisdom through experience and to humanize the speaker and appeal to pathos.
  • Diction that contained strong, assertive language to illustrate a speaker’s seriousness and sincerity, their morals and ethics, or their willingness to fight for their cause and selflessness in giving up their own life/time for that cause.
  • Parallelism to reinforce the speaker’s beliefs, or to show they are confident that they have the authority to make repeated requests of higher authorities (or the audience).

While we only read one page excerpts from each of these speeches, you can find the full version of them below. I encourage you to watch them and continue your analysis of these speakers’ language use, and how they use language to demonstrate they possess the traits we desire of our leaders. Also, examine how they use their body language – though we haven’t discussed this yet in class, it is important to remember that speeches are a verbal/visual experience…though we read the text of these speeches and analyze their language use, the speaker’s physical presentation is just as important.

Click here to read the excerpt from class, or what the videos below.

The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding by John Wooden

Nelson Mandela, 1964 ‘I am prepared to die’

Malala Yousafzai addresses United Nations Youth Assembly

Martin Luther King Jr. at Stanford University – The Other America

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech

Barack Obama’s Presidential Announcement

 

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

Old English – The Dream of the Rood

So far in the course we’ve focused heavily on the depiction of the Anglo Saxon warrior culture and the comitatus – the relationship between a warrior and his lord is the focus of the poem “The Wanderer”, and a key part to understanding characters and motivations in “Beowulf”.

In our reading of the poem “The Dream of the Rood”, we will see a clearer example of how the early Anglo Saxon culture blended with the introduction of Christianity to the British Isles. Be sure to pay attention to how this text works to very different ideas – the violent, warrior culture of the Anglo-Saxon’s with the mild and forgiving culture of Christianity.

The poem comes to us from engravings on a large cross from the 8th century (700’s AD) – in fact, this version of the story is older than any of the manuscript versions that still survive. The story of “The Dream of the Rood” is engraved on the surface of the cross, and would have served the purpose of telling the story of Christ to those who could not read (because they were illiterate in general, or in Latin). The Ruthwell Cross was also created during the period of ‘The Cult of the Cross’, where the crucifixes roll as an important symbol is Christian religion was born. During this period the role and worship of the cross as a physical manifestation of Christ was common, with stories of crucifixes coming to life to protect the churches they houses in from invaders being common.

The cross was destroyed during the early 17th century (1600’s AD) during a period when Protestants rejected the praise of icon/iconography in the church. It was reassembled in the 19th century.

For more background on “The Dream of the Rood” and the Ruthwell Cross on which the oldest remaining copy of the poem exists, please watch the videos below (note: the audio on the background video about the Ruthwell Cross is very poor – apologies).

 

Click here to access a copy of the poem, if you have lost your own copy from class.

The poem of “The Dream of the Rood” also give us the chance to examine the narrative technique of ‘framing’.

The poem itself is the recounting of a dream by a monk – he opens up the poem by describing going to sleep and being awoken by a brilliant ‘tree of glory’, and from there the tree itself tells us the story of his journey to become the cross that Christ was crucified on, before the narrative returns to the monk finishing up his retelling.

The frame narrative is used often to highlight the mystical, fantastic or magical nature of the ‘inner story’. By first presenting the reader/listener with a ‘normal’ set of characters and actions, it make the interior story seemed even more removed and distant, thus heightening how fantastical the actions of the story are view.

In “The Princess Bride”, a grandfather tells his sick grandson the tale of Princess Buttercup and the Pirate Wesley. The frequent interruptions by his grandson into the story remind the viewer of the framing device, and heighten the absurdity of the story.

Forrest Gump is actually sitting on a park bench, telling each new stranger the story of his life. By cutting back to the framing device bench and finding a seemingly new person/listener each time, the also unbelievable and fantastic events of his life are broken up. This means the accepting reactions of the individuals on the bench make it easier for the viewer to accept the reality that Gump is presenting.

cruc62

In “The Dream of the Rood”, the visitation of the ‘tree of glory’ that Christ was crucified on heightens the mystical, supernatural power of God in the poem. The fact that it is a Monk, a man of God, that see the cross in a dream reinforces this idea. The supernatural elements of the tale would also appeal to the recently converted Anglo Saxons.

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

Senior Project Paperwork

As a senior, you will also have a complete a senior project. This constitutes 25% of your grade for this course, and is a sustainable part of the skills we will be mastering in class. You can review the documents for senior projects below, or by clicking on the ‘Senior Project’ drop drown menu under ’12th Grade English’ in the toolbar at the top of the website. Additionally, you can keep up with senior project news by visiting the school website at https://ga02202829.schoolwires.net/Page/1827.

Click here for the overview document of senior project details

Senior Project Permission and Release Form

Senior Project Proposal Rubric

Senior Project Paper Rubric

Senior Project Checkpoints

Senior Project Presentation Rubric

 

Senior Project