Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reading Period 36: May 21-27: George Orwell


Animal Farm chapters 3-4.
1984 chapter 1.

If you've finished reading Animal Farm, just move right on to 1984 and read as much as you like. It's available for free online here as a nicely formatted PDF. If you want the actual book, I tried this combined volume of the two novels with an intro from Christopher Hitchens and it's a nice hardback. Even if you haven't finished reading Animal Farm, I at least want you to read the first chapter of 1984.

Choose 2.

Art Connection:

1948, the year the novel 1984 was published, was also an Olympic year. At the 1948 Olympics, there were medals awarded for arts as well as sports in competition categories such as architecture, graphic design, and sculpture. Take a look at this page documenting this now-defunct competition, and do a bit more research via Wikipedia and other internet sources. Then write 250 words answering any or all of the following questions: Did the topic or subject matter of these artistic works have to be sports-related? Why was no gold medal awarded in so many events in 1948? Were any of the winning works recognized as artistically valuable outside the Olympic games? Why was the artistic competition removed from the Olympics? Should there be a country vs. country competition in the arts?

History Connection:

The events in the animals' rebellion in Animal Farm are meant to connect to the real life events of the Russian Revolution. Take a look at this comparative timeline and do a bit of research into the main players: Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. Then write your own short essay comparing the characters in Animal Farm to these historical figures, and focus on this question: Do you think Orwell means to suggest that the animals should have never rebelled? Should they have stayed in servitude to Farmer Jones? Was the revolution worth it? And what does this say about his opinion of the Russian Revolution? Do you think Orwell would have said the Russians were better off under Czar Nicholas? Here's another video to help you:

Writing Connection: 

You have just received word that all electronic screens, in addition to providing information, playing audio, and displaying pictures, have also been collecting information, recording audio, and taking pictures. Every time you have been near a screen, you have been watched and your words and interactions have been monitored. Write a 250 word message to your fellow citizens revealing this fact, calling them to action or giving advice as to what to do next. How will you distribute your message? How will you break your friends and family free from their connection to the screens that we all use every day?


From chapter 1, 1984:

1. What is the function of the telescreen?
2. Where does Winston work?
3. Which do you think is the most damaging of the three slogans of the party?
4. How is the Ministry of Truth different from its surroundings in London?
5. What expression were you supposed to wear when you faced the telescreen?
6. Why is nothing any longer illegal?
7. What does Winston write about when he first begins his diary?
8. Who is the regular target of the Two Minutes of Hate, and what characters does this remind you of in Animal Farm?
9. Why does Winston find himself hating the girl sitting behind him?
10. Why is Winston so worried about what he has written in his diary?

What a cliff-hanger, eh? I dare you not to read chapter 2. :)

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