Philadelphia novelist and educator Simone Zelitch tackles the Orwellian state of police-citizen relationships in this thoughtful and provocative essay. Check it out! #ICantBreathe #GeorgeOrwell #1984
I’m always afraid to teach George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. Frankly, I feel too close to the book. Full disclosure: my husband gave me a facsimile edition of the original manuscript as an engagement present. It’s the size of a coffee-table and has insertions in Orwell’s spidery handwriting. We quote lines of the novel to each other like a secret code.
What motivated me to teach it last Fall? I’d read an excerpt from David Eggers’ The Circle, a satirical novel about the seductive power of internet transparency, and I decided that the only way to help my students understand that novel’s ironies would be to open with the Orwell. I thought I’d teach the first hundred pages of Nineteen Eighty-four, show the film version to fill in the narrative gaps, and move on to the breezier, easier world of Eggers’ social-media addicts.
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