CSWR George Orwell Exhibit

George Orwell (1903-1950)




TIME:  The time spent on this lesson is entirely up to the teacher and level of the class.  The teacher may want to spend one hour on this lesson with minimal discussion, or up to 5 hours based on length of discussions, research, and the opportunity to share out the results of the student’s research.


You will find three short videos below.  These are intended to be shown in your classroom prior to your visit and/or prior to experiencing the on line exhibit.  Discussion prompts have been provided for each video.  Please feel free to use them or to come up with your own.




Discussion Prompt:  If Orwell was alive today, what might he be writing about?  He would have lived during Vietnam, the Civil Rights Era, and of course, today's current events.  What do you think he would have to say about these things? Who might he be working with and for?





Discussion Prompt:  Are we living in an "Orwellian" dystopia?  How so?  How not so?  Come up with some of your own examples of "Double Speak", "Double Think”, and "Newspeak".





Discussion Prompt:  If you were to rewrite this allegory based on current events and political leaders, what animals would you choose to represent whom, and what would the plot of your story be?





  Here are 10 George Orwell quotes.


As a class, read through them and analyze their validity.  If they are indeed true statements, try to come up with a factual example of what he is saying/describing.


Optional: Have the students research the quotes and find out what book these quotes came from.  They can also provide a brief synopsis of each book or manuscript. This can be done in groups or individually.  Remember that you are free to differentiate these lessons in a way that they can be most effective for your particular students.


"In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."


"The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history."


"The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection."


"Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else."


"A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices."


"On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time."


"Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness."


"Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood."


"The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better."


"If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself."