Classic Novel Foreshadows Current Corruption

March 15, 2018

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“Freedom is slavery,” “War is peace,” and “Ignorance is strength,” are quotations from George Orwell’s 1984 that currently are displayed on large posters in the windows of Jake Donohoe’s English classroom at the back of the E wing. Her sophomore classes are currently studying the novel.

Considered a classic, 1984 presents a dystopian society where the truth is corrupted and people are controlled by Big Brother. People in this society are manipulated through censorship and propaganda. They are not able to form their own opinions, as all accessible information is biased in support of the government.

Donahoe said, “The quotes are an example of the way that truth gets blurred in the constant use of these quotes to represent ideas in 1984. Ultimately you have people who start to believe that, in fact, freedom is slavery, war is peace, ignorance is strength, even though, obviously, they are the opposite.”

The book, and these quotes in particular, seem particularly relevant in the increasingly polarized society of today. Sophomore Nina Naffzigger, a student in Donahoe’s class, said that the book was “very interesting because it is very topical with the impact that our government has on us today, and how it is still relevant even though it was written a long time ago.”

“I definitely see different aspects of the book in our daily lives,” said sophomore Isabella Gill, another of Donahoe’s students.

1984 also foreshadowed the emergence of the concept of “fake news,” a strategy of manipulation that has been used on various social media platforms in recent years. “1984 is considered to be an example of how we live currently in a post truth world where the idea of what is real and what is not real is not provable and is changing,” said Donahoe.

Naffziger said that having the signs in the classroom “sets the whole tone and mood for what we are going to be doing every day in class. It really sets the scene for our discussions.”

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