I predicted my 1984 lesson plans and my science fiction lesson plans would be a big hit with my class. They weren’t. It was clear I had to come up with something new. Out of everything I came up with for my class, this went over the best. It can be used with 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, or any story in your Science Fiction collection.
Use the following procedures as a guideline:
- Review the elements of science fiction. Emphasize that science fiction examines what could happen and often warns of the dangers of technology. Science fiction writers who emphasize science include Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov. Science fiction writers who focus more on societal ills include Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, and George Orwell.
- Instruct students to make a two-column chart: (1) Orwellian Prediction; (2) Modern Example
- The Orwellian prediction can be a summarized portion of the novel with relevant page numbers or a direct quotation in MLA format. Modern examples should be relevant, accurate, and written in complete sentences. Modern examples can include instances that negate an Orwell prediction. You should, however, limit the number of negaters (after all, we want students to think as they’re supposed to).
Prediction: “Here were produced rubbishy newspapers, containing almost nothing except sport, crime, and astrology, sensational fice-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means…” (39).
Modern Example: Rubbishy newspapers include tabloids and tabloid-like news outlets. Romance novels are written according to a specific formula–only the names are changed. I need not list films oozing with sex. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then google “films oozing with sex” (on second thought, don’t). There are about 3.872 billion songs written from one hopelessly in love individual to another not-in-love at all individual. Fortunately, these outlets are not owned by the government.
Prediction: Telescreens can never be turned off and are a part of all party members’ homes.
Modern Example: It’s difficult to go anywhere–the grocery store, public transportation, dentist office–without seeing a giant TV transmitting messages. As of yet, these messages are not controlled by government, the barrage of media resembling Fahrenheit 451 more than 1984; the apparatus, however, is in place.
Prediction: “Where the Lottery was concerned, even people [The Proles] who could barely read and write seemed capable of intricate calculations and staggering feats of memory” (73).
Modern Example: Statistics show that an overwhelming majority of individuals who play state lotteries are uneducated and economically disadvantaged.
For more examples, check out my 1984 Study Guide.
Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1977.