CSWR George Orwell Exhibit

George Orwell (1903-1950)




Note to Teacher:  This lesson can be used to explore the exhibit in person or online.  As with all three lesson plans, the amount of time spent on this is at the discretion of the teacher.  The research required to answer the questions can also be assigned as homework.


Here is the link: goto.unm.edu/orwell



As you explore the George Orwell Exhibit, answer the following questions.  When you return to your class (or to your group as a whole), perhaps later today, discuss your answers with your teachers and peers.


George Orwell: An Enduring Legacy


1.  What are the trends that Orwell writes about in his ANIMAL FARM and 1984?


2.  The second to the last paragraph on this page is a quote.  Is this a prediction that Orwell made and is it, or has it come true?  Give examples of why or why not.


George Orwell: A Timeline


1.  Who was Eric Arthur Blair?


2.  In what year did Orwell join the Indian Imperial Police Force?


3.  What language is “Adelphi” in and what does it mean in English?


4.  Draw a map that includes India, France, Spain, Morocco, and England.


5.  On the map that you’ve just drawn, label and identify Burma, Paris, London, and Marakech.  Feel free to draw a landmark in each city. J


6.  Who was Sonia Brownell and where was she born?


7.  What year was 1984 published and who published it?


8.  Where did Orwell die and what did he die from?


9.  What was the name of Orwell’s first wife and how did she die?


10.  Where is Orwell buried and what is on his gravestone?


Discussion and Activity:  As you continue your research, be thinking about what you would put on Orwell’s gravestone to describe him and his life.  Differentiation:   Once your exploration of the exhibit is complete, write an obituary for George Orwell.



The Revolt Against Empire and Privilege


1.  Why did George Orwell resign from the Indian Imperial Police?


2.  Name the two themes of Orwell's post-Burma life.


3. According to Christopher Hitchens, Orwell's highest allegiance was his loyalty to what?


Discussion Prompt: What forms of economic and social injustices do you see in the U.S. today and what do you see as the truth that underlies these issues?



Learning from Spain

1.  Why was the Spanish Civil war fought?

2.  What do you think Orwell means when he writes, “…the working class was in the saddle.”?

3.  Why sis Orwell join the militia and what was he fighting for?

4.  How would you define the “common decency”?

5.  Who wrote the introduction to HOMAGE TO CATALONIA and why do you think he was chosen to do so?

Discussion Prompt/Activity:  When it comes to rights and privileges, what is the difference?  How would you classify the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of the working class in comparison to the ruling or elite classes?


Orwell’s Mature Vision

1.  What is the difference between totalitarianism and social democracy?  Give one real world example of each and how the people have felt about living within each of these types of government.

Discussion: Have the students present their research and discuss the results.



Prophet of Our Own Age

1.  Based on your research thus far, you can see that Orwell is widely considered a prophet of our own age.  Based on what you have learned in your discussions and research, imagine that you have been asked to make your own prediction(s) about how society will evolve, or devolve in the next One Hundred Years.  Solitude or Interdependence?

Write a minimum of one page on how you think this will play out.  Imagine that you are the Orwell of our own times.


Discussion/Activity:  Have the students read out their predictions and discuss the real possibility of these, look for similarities and differences and see if the class can come to a common assumption…and solutions for that assumption.