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Create three questions that could lead to discussion and controversy, and answer them...
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Middle School Teacher
I think that one compelling question that would prompt some level of reflection exists in how the past is perceived. In the "Appendix- The Principles of Newspeak," language is introduced as a way to eliminate memory. In "making all other modes of thought impossible," there is a desire to eliminate the past and remove that which existed before. I think that it might be interesting to see how and/ or if this done today. Do we live in a world where memory is not valued? In a world of increasing speed and constant movement, do we value the past in our institutions and our cultural practices?Does memory lie at the heart of a globalized world?
Another issue that has to be examined is the betrayal of Julia and Winston. It can be debated in an entirely separate forum if they loved one another. Yet, when Winston recalls their betrayal and the manner in which it was executed, a good discussion point would be how Orwell shows the realm of the personal in light of the political. Our romantic tendencies and even our hope and faith in mythology and illusion compels us to believe that the realm of the personal will overcome that of the political. Resistance through love will rebuke authority structures that seek to negate it. As old as Shakespeare, this sentiment is triggered when we see Winston and Julia. In the detailing of their betrayal in the close of the book, it might be an interesting element to examine if individuals can withstand the pressure from external reality. Can love conquer all? Put another way, is the betrayal that is shown in the end when both confess to Big Brother or even when Winston "loses sight" of Julia realistic? Essentially, the relationship between Julia and Winston can become an interesting discussion point on what love is, how relationships are formed, and how individuals act towards one another in the realm of the personal. It will not be an earth shattering discourse, but it will probably reveal much about individual predisposition towards love.
I think that the last question that needs to be raised upon the conclusion of the book was whether Orwell was right. Orwell concludes that "Big Brother wins." The authority of the totalitarian regime is impervious to just about everything. Certainly, this conclusion has to be reexamined in the modern setting. In the last two plus decades, we have seen the Soviet Union fall, the Iron Curtain drop, dicators like Ceausecu, Saddam Hussein, Gadaffi overthrown and executed in favor of rock music, Coca- Cola, and blue jeans. Castro is no longer in power in Cuba, where there are signs of change. China's brand of communism has become synonymous with capitalism. The all- encompassing power of authoritarian structures around the world have seen their match with the passage of time. They have become replaced with high speed internet through wireless technology, mobile smart phones, and the ability to text in a winner to "American Idol," "Indian Idol," "Arab Idol," and any other nation to whom the "Idol" brand name has been sold. Orwell's conclusion in the ending that the machinery of the dictatorship is beyond toppling might have to be questioned in the modern setting. I think that this might be an interesting discussion point to have given the ending of Orwell's novel and where we are now.
Posted by akannan on July 20, 2013 at 2:57 AM (Answer #1)
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