English IV HN‎ > ‎

"My Own Private Dystopia"

Background and Purpose

In this unit, you will learn about how literature has been used as a medium for social protest of all kinds and will spend time considering why dystopian novels are so popular in society.  The main text we will be reading is Orwell's 1984, but we will also consider the implications and effects of such texts as 1984 on society.  We will also spend time with the related field persuasion, a tactic used and abused in dystopian environments to achieve the goals of those in power.  By the end of this unit, you will not only have a deeper understanding of the power of persuasion, but you will also continue to develop your analytic writing skills.


We will begin with bridging the gap between the When Times Get Tough unit and this unit with a brief discussion of the English Civil War, Interregnum, and Glorious Revolution, which sought to answer similar questions as the French Revolution which took place 100-150 years later.  We will look at protest literature that arose from the turbulence in England in the 17th century and the development of the concept of satire.  We will examine one of Jonathan Swift's most popular text; then, we'll move forward 75 years or so to gain exposure to William Blake and his poetry:  both of these writers studied society's problems and then strove for change by exposing the issues of society in their writings.  Of the same vein is Orwell, whose harrowing dystopian text 1984 has left chills down our spines with its critical commentary of the totalitarian regimes that haunted our world in the twentieth century.

1984 Resources

Full Text of 1984

1984 Book One Questions (In-Class)

1984 Seminar Questions (Book One)

1984 Seminar Questions (Book Two)

1984 Seminar Questions (Book Three)

1984 Seminar Replacement Essay Assignment

1984 Terms (First book)

1984 Analysis Quotes (through ch. 6 Book Two)

1984 Reading Guide (Consider completing if you need a little extra help with this text.)

1984 Goldstein Book Questions

Goldstein Book Explication

Three Superpowers in 1984

Politics and the English Language (Orwell)

PATEL Questions (Orwell)

Savage Satire of 1984 Article (Independent)



Connecting Lit Resources

"A Modest Proposal"

"A Modest Proposal" (Swift)

"A Modest Proposal" Questions


Utopia Selections (More)

John Milton and Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost Book One

John Milton Questions (Sonnet 19 and Paradise Lost)

"Sonnet 19" (aka "When I Consider How My Light is Spent")

About John Milton

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary + Questions

William Blake

About Blake (p. 678)

"Holy Thursday" (Blake)

"The Lamb" and "The Tyger" (Blake)

"The Chimney Sweeper" (Version One:  Blake)

"The Chimney Sweeper" (Version Two:  Blake)