1984

Ain't no party like a The Party party.

The year is 1984.

And no, not the John Hughes 1984, full of Pretty in Pink screenings, flounced dresses, and argyle vests. We're talking worse. Much worse.

Wait, what could be more devastating than '80s fashion?

Imagine a world where love is outlawed. Imagine men and women are tasked with completely erasing the past, so that the powers-that-be and their ideology can continue to reign supreme. Imagine telescreens in your home that watch your every move. Kind of like Xbox 360, except the government's on the other side. Lurking.

Oh hai, government. We, uh, didn't see you there.

Writing in 1949, George Orwell predicted a darker future for our world than what actually panned out—or did he? As you read the acclaimed1984, you might get a sinking feeling of how easy it would be for our society to fall to such totalitarian ways. Parallels between Orwell's dystopian nightmare and our real world are everywhere—the power over many in the hands of the few, the threat of constant and unwanted surveillance, and the endless struggle over freedom of the press, for starters.

As we follow our meek, everyman protagonist Winston Smith in his fight to maintain his individuality, we'll

  • explore the ceaseless conflict between tyranny and freedom, conformity and individuality, love and violence. 
  • examine the enduring appeal and relevance of 1984 in our world—and our pop culture—today. 
  • study the character, dramatic, and structural arcs of the novel that make it such a gut-punch of a tragedy. Yep, it's a tragedy. Don't let the Party tell you otherwise.

So hurry up and head inside this course, Shmooper. Big Brother might be watching. In fact, he's definitely watching.

Oh hai.


Unit Breakdown


  1. 1984 - 1984

    Don't worry. This course on George Orwell's chilling 1984 won't turn you into budding conspiracy theorists with tin foil hats. (Especially since we're pretty sure those are meant to ward off aliens, not NSA surveillance.) But it will use some pretty awesome readings and activities to keep your eyes, minds, and notebooks open.