1984

Lesson #1:

1984 by George Orwell is the a satire/prediction of a future where things aren't so perfect. In fact, Orwell writes of the "nightmare scenario" in which the future is a place where the freedoms of speech, press, religion and more are all controlled and/or relinquished. Though this scenario did not come to past in the actual year, this book has been tagged as a reference point for fighting against this dark future.


Main Standard you are achieving (the number and full description):
Standard 3.5: Viewing and Media Literacy. The students will view various websites, listen to media on the Internet and watch videos using computers. They will then use these sources to “construct meaning from the media” and figure out how much of a cultural impact that 1984 has had.

Pop Culture Reference #1:

Talk Shows On Mute by Incubus

Reason for writing the song:

Lead singer Brandon Boyd: "I was on an airplane when a talk show began playing on the TVs. I decided to start narrating for the people, which is a really great game if you're ever bored enough. I realized a time will probably come when television will watch us if we're watching it, if that hasn't already happened, figuratively or literally. It sounded like some sort of pseudo-Big Brother nightmare, so I wrote it down."

Lyrics:

"Talk Shows On Mute"

Take a bow

Pack on powder

Wash 'em out with buzzing lights

Pay an audience to care

"Impress me" personality

Still and transfixed

The electric sheep are dreaming of your face

Enjoy you from the chemical

Comfort of America

Come one, come all

Into 1984

Yeah, three, two, one

Lights, camera, transaction

Quick, your time is almost up

Make all forget that they're the moth

Edging in towards the flame

Burn into obscurity

Still and transfixed

The electric sheep are dreaming up your fate

And judge you from the card castle

Comfort of America

Come one, come all

Into 1984

Yeah, three, two, one

Lights, camera, transaction

Your foundation is canyoning

Fault lines should be worn with pride

I hate to say it but

You're so much more

You're so much more

Endearing with the sound turned off

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Questions for thought:

1) Why is title of the song "Talk Shows on Mute?" Does that have anything to do with 1984?

2) Think about the last lines in particular: "You're so much more Endearing with the sound turned off." Does this tie in at all with the use of language as opposed to visuals?

3) Come one, come all, into 1984. Does the year hold more meaning thanks to Orwell's novel? On the flip side, does the novel lose some of its meaning since 1984 has come and passed?

Pop Culture Reference #2:

Big Brother (TV Show)

Wikipedia Summary:


Big Brother is a reality television show where, in each series, a group of people live together in the Big Brother House, isolated from the outside world but continuously watched by television cameras. Each series lasts for around three months, and there are usually fewer than 16 participants. The housemates try to win a cash prize by avoiding periodic evictions from the house. The idea for the show came during a brainstorm session at the production house of John de Mol Produkties (an independent part of Endemol) on September 4, 1997. The first Big Brother broadcast was in the Netherlands in 1999 on the Veronica TV channel. It has been a prime-time hit in almost 70 countries. The show's name comes from George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (see Big Brother).

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Questions to think about:

1) How does the show have to deal with the idea of "Big Brother."

2) Does it make you more or less nervous about the idea of people watching your lives?

3) Does it... in a sense, lessen the intense idea that 1984 provokes? Does it suggest that maybe them watching you would be hilarious!

Find Your Own 1984 Reference:

Using the Internet go and find another reference to 1984. Briefly answering the following questions on paper or in your laptops
1) How does the topic incorporate 1984? Is it a positive light or negative light?
2) Define Popular Culture
3) Is the topic considered Pop Culture? Additionally, is 1984 more of a warning for a futrue dystopia or anther example of Popular Culture?

Wrap-Up

Check out the following video clip! If this doesn't prove that 1984 has had an impact on Pop Culture still today, I don't know what does!



Lesson #2:

In Book 2 of 1984, Winston and Julia decide to join "The Brotherhood." The Brotherhood is the exact opposite of Big Brother with its focus on the idea of a more perfect equality where there is no upper, middle and lower class. To Winston, led by the mysterious ideals of O'Brien, this represents a clear break and ideology that means so much more than that the dark world he currently lives in. Students will decide which "world" is more efficient and more likely in our time and whether or not Winston's goal is really amiable.


Main Standard you are achieving (the number and full description):

STANDARD 3.1 (Reading) All students will understand and apply the knowledge of sounds, letters, and words in written English to become independent and fluent readers, and will read a variety of materials and texts with fluency and comprehension. Section G: Comprehension Skill and Response to Text


Opening Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):
The Students will listen to Revolution by the Beatles and respond to the following questions:
Revolution Lyrics
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
Ah

ah, ah, ah, ah, ah...

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
all right, all right, all right
all right, all right, all right


1) Why did Winston and Julia want to revolt against the government?

2) Did the two expect something to come out of their revolution?
3) Why does O'Brien make them pledge to a variety of terrible things?


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Middle/Main Activity Description (What the students and you are doing):


Each Student will select a revolution from History and compare it with the "Revolution" that occurs in 1984. The students have free range on this subject and can compare it on a basic level, an overall level, or an in-depth level. In the end they will create a chart that COMPARES the "Brotherhood" to any of the following Revolutions:


The American Revolution
The French Revolution
The Russian Revolution
Revolts against Nazi Germany
Modern Day Revolutions
Etc.

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Viva La Vida (uh... Revolution!)


Then answer these questions:


What makes a revolution occur?
Is a Revolution possible in the world of "1984" or has the government locked off all possibilities?
Do you think a Revolution WILL happen? Will it be thanks to Winston or in the hands of the Proles? Or not at all.



Closing Activity Description (What the students and you are doing_
Think about the "Brotherhood" for a second. How would you describe the organization and more importantly the world it strives for. Is the world that the book describes a Utopia or just a more modern version of our world? Can this world be achieved via a revolution of the Party or is that unlikely.


Now, it is known that Julia and Winston are captured at the end of Book II. Did they accomplish a revolution or did they fail?




Lesson #3: History So Strong and the Elements of Double-Think

STANDARD 3.1 (Reading) All students will understand and apply the knowledge of sounds, letters, and words in written English to become independent and fluent readers, and will read a variety of materials and texts with fluency and comprehension. Section G: Comprehension Skill and Response to Text

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Introduction:
The lesson starts off with the students going to Mr. Saxon's Front Paige and Editing it. One by one the Students will each edit the page and then we will see what they have left. It can be anything they want.

Afterwards, the teacher will ask how it is possible to know that this page was Mr. Saxson's in the first place. An astute student will suggest that the history button will show that many people have edited the page and thus, once upon a time, Mr. Saxson had ownership of the front page.

Bulk of the Lesson:
However, in the world of 1984, things are different. Ask students to browse Book 3 to find a quote that has to deal with this idea of History changing.
They should briefly compile a chart (Three Columns) that act as follows (an example included below):
----Quotation from Book 3------------How the Party Views This----------------------How Winston Does-----------
1) "2 + 2 = 5"
2) The party believes that whatever it believes is the truth and thus if it says that 2 plus 2 = 5 then this is a fact
3) Winston believes if you have 2 of something and another two of something, it logically makes four.

After the students compile a chart of these "truths" stated by O'Brien. They will now take a look at the party's propoganda:
"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength."
1) How does this statement fall in line with the chart and the parties ideologies?
r2) Is there really a difference between these two ideologies in the world of Big Brother?
Is important to remember the whole concept of Double-Think as it is important to the entire essence of the novel. In fact, it is Orwell's key idea that allows Big Brother to take over. Everything that occurs is two things in one. Big Brother is also its own antagonist in the form of the Brotherhood, Goldstein is the enemy of the government yet hero of those who oppose the government, Black IS white, War is Peace. Understanding these will allow one to see how the government works.
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Closing:
In conclusion, the students will listen to "Save the Population" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and see why History itself is so important:

Lyrics:
History's so strong
History's so strong
History's so strong
History's so strong

Sing another drinking song the honkytonk will do
Making another breaking bone your favorite ingenue
This the distant dawn
This the distant dawn

I put my cards upon the table
I do this because I am able
One picks his broken down devotion
I threw my pistol in the ocean
Eyes wide with revelation
Shine at the police station
And when the verdict comes round
I'm sure that you will go down

CHORUS:
Stay all night
we'll save the population
Stay all night
we'll save the population
Stay all night
we'll save the population
Stay all night
we'll save the population

(Instrumental Bridge)

Pistol and its pawn
Sell it to the lexicon
A pistol and its pawn
Blood and border lines be drawn

Take another bottle down the brothel and the shrew
Make another awful sound, a rather gothic brew
History's so strong
History's so strong

I put my cards upon the table
I do this because I am able
One picks his broken down devotion
I threw my pistol in the ocean
Eyes wide with revelation
Shine at the police station
And when the verdict comes round
I'm sure that you will go down

Stay all night we'll save the population....