Do you remember reading George Orwell’s 1984 in school?
It was required reading for me.
Let me remind you what it’s about. First, it's a dystopian novel published in 1949. Between The Hunger Games and Divergent, it’s tempting to believe that dystopian novels are a new trend.
Dystopian novels typically describe an oppressive society that gives the illusion of a perfect society.
1984 is a classic example.
Great Britain has become a province of Oceana and the story takes place in London, the chief city. The “Party” rules the society and the “Thought Police” persecute individualism and independent thinking. Remember the phrase, ‘Big Brother’s watching you”?
Winston Smith is a member of the Party but while he appears to be a diligent worker, he dreams of rebelling. And then he has a secret... forbidden relationship.
The book is full of satire.
The Ministry of Love oversees law and order…and torturing. The Ministry of Plenty oversees rationing and the Ministry of Truth, where the main character works, oversees propaganda. He’s in charge of revising records to keep up with the changing party line—going as far as deleting people’s names who were killed by the state.
Back to that secret relationship. They’re discovered. It ends badly for both of them.
So, what’s the purpose of bringing up this book?
Dina Leygerman’s been running an experiment with her students. In true “Orwellian” fashion, she tells the students that she must, as part of an evidence-based strategy, fight “senioritis”. It’s her way of introducing the book in a real life fashion.
1984 may have a distressing ending but Dina’s got good news to share about today’s teenagers.
You can read about it here.