RECEPTION CONTEXT – Readers in 2018 (i.e. YOU)

If you happen to be studying the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell with your teacher this year, then you need to be thinking about how this text relates to you today in Western Australia in 2018.

As of this moment, 1984 couldn’t be more relevant!  In fact, Amazon sales are going through the roof, despite it having been written sixty-nine years ago!

If you were watching the news channels this morning you may have noticed two bulletins that would make your eyes pop!

  1. Michigan University - Bias Response Teams

The University has assigned a group of students to SPY on their fellow students and report them if they say or express ideas, language, thoughts that are not in keeping with the universities values.  Anyone else thinking ‘Thought Police’?  Contravention of freedom of speech rights?

  1. Change in the enemy

For quite some time now America has identified Russia as the enemy, however, this morning we were told that it is, in fact, China who are the enemy.  It was Eurasia – now it is Eastasia

We face the same dilemma that Winston does.  How can we know?  What is the truth?  If a future war is likely with China, then the implications for us here in Australia are far more significant and far-reaching.

These are just two examples of things happening TODAY that allow us to make connections between our modern 2018 context and George Orwell’s novel written 69 years ago.  And the comparisons don’t stop there:

  • Just last month we discovered that Facebook has been allowing agencies to ‘harvest’ our data.
  • In 2018, there are ‘telescreens’ EVERYWHERE - TVs, tablets, kindles, smart phones, CCTV, surveillance drones.
  • Trump’s administration has been accused of issuing “alternative facts” and we hear phrases like “controlling the narrative” from our governments on a regular basis.  Think about what this means!
  • Julia says in 1984 “one knows the news is all lies anyway.” Today fake news permeates social media and it is difficult to tell what is true and what is not.
  • 2017 – Google is secretly listening to us through our devices and tailoring advertisements and newsfeeds to suit us.
  • 2017 - CIA discovered to be hacking into Apple iPhones.
  • 2015 it was leaked that the National Security Agency was listening to our electronic communications.
  • And then remember Edward Snowden urging us to be far more concerned about our privacy?

As an audience and readers in 2018, your RECEPTION CONTEXT - what is happening in your life, in your school, in your city, in your state, in your country and in your world - will have an impact on how you receive and respond to the ideas, themes and issues in a text.

The more you know about the world around you the better!  Could you imagine the look of horror that would fall over George Orwell’s face if we could sit him down and show him our news and our world today in 2018?  What would he say?  Probably “I told you so.”

SHARE THIS POST with any mates you may have studying 1984 for ATAR English this year.  It's got some great info they could use! 🙂

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