Mary Ziegler

English Portfolio

Six word memoir

Adventure makes me feel so free.

Author Study: George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair, also known as the author George Orwell, is most famous for his book Nineteen Eighty-Four. Eric Blair was born in Motihari, Bengal, India in the early 1900’s. His father was stationed there during the British colonial rule in India. Not long after Eric’s birth, Eric, his sister, and his mother moved to England. His father rarely visited and never tried to keep a relationship with his kids.


In the town of Henley-on-Thames, Eric attended English Boarding schools, like many other boys, and recognized his talent for writing by the age of six. At the age of eleven he published “Awake Young Men of England” a poem encouraging English men to enroll in the army. Eric’s family was not rich and he noticed by the way he was treated in class. He saw that the teachers treated wealthy kids with more respect than the poor kids. Eric’s outlet for all of his emotions was writing. He did not have many friends, but he stood out in academics. He was offered scholarships to Wellington college and Eton college. He chose to attend Eton college, but at the end of his studies he could not carry out the career that he had hoped because of the lack of money he had.


In order to become a writer, Eric made the decision to join the police force in Burma, India. After five years of being an officer, he decided that he had enough money to become a writer. For a time, he could not get his writing career off the ground. Then in 1933 he published The Down and Out in Paris and London. This was a book written about the tough life of the working poor. He did not mean to insult his family so he published the book under the name George Orwell.


Three years later he was happily married to Eileen O'Shaughnessy and the couple traveled to Spain to participate in a riot against General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. During the riot he was shot twice, but managed to stay alive. Because of the gun-shot to the throat, Orwell could not speak for months.


After returning to England with his wife, George underwent periods of sickness and bad health. In 1938 he was officially diagnosed with tuberculosis. After finding out this devastating news, Orwell buried himself in writing. He became famous for writing critics and was hired for a BBC producer position. Orwell found he was using his job for propaganda in the ongoing World War II. He hated that he was taking advantage of the people and quit his job. Towards the end of his life he published Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell lived long enough to see how famous Nineteen Eighty-Four was but he died shortly after in the fight against tuberculosis. Both of these books were made into movies, and they are still popular among the modern world.

Dystopian World Map~ 1984

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1984 Blog Post with Song Quote Analysis

Shake Me Down

By Cage the Elephant

Shake me down,
Not a lot of people left around,
Who knows now,
Softly laying on the ground, oh
Not a lot people left around, oh, oh

In my life, I have seen,
People walk into the sea,
Just to find memories,
Plagued by constant misery,
Their eyes cast down,
Fixed upon the ground,
Their eyes cast down

I'll keep my eyes fixed on the sun

Shake me down,
Cut my hair on a silver cloud,
Broken sound,
Softly laying on the ground, oh
Not a lot people left around, oh, oh

In my past, bittersweet,
There's no love between the sheets,
Taste the blood, broken dreams,
Lonely times indeed,
With eyes cast down,
Fixed upon the ground,
Eyes cast down

I'll keep my eyes fixed on the sun

Turn back now its time for me to let go,
Way down had to find a place to lay low,
Lampshade turned around into a light post

Walk around the corner,
Never saw it coming still,
I try to make a move,
It almost stopped me from belief,
I don't wanna know the future,
But I'm like rolling thunder,

Even on a cloudy day,
Even on a cloudy day,
Even on a cloudy day,
Even on a cloudy day,
Even on a cloudy day,
Even on a cloudy day,
Even on a cloudy day,

I'll keep my eyes fixed on the
I'll keep my eyes fixed on the
I'll keep my eyes fixed on the sun

Shake me down,
Not a lot of people left around

The song "Shake Me Down" by Cage the Elephant relates to George Orwell's book 1984 in many ways. One of the first lines in the song says "not a lot of people left around" and this relates to 1984 on page 45 when Winston remembers that about thirty people he knew had disappeared. Winston had no idea where they went and he thinks they had disappeared in the middle of the night. Not many people from his childhood that he could remember were still around. Also the song says "who knows now" which also relates to the book because the government creates these "perfect" people, who are displayed on all of the telescreens, for the rest of the citizens to follow in the example of. On page 42 the book describes the studios in the Records Department that are used for faking photographs, movies, and erasing history. Nobody knows that this is happening except for Winston who is the anti-hero in the book. The lyrics "even on a cloudy day, I'll keep my eyes fixed on the sun" relates to Winston's role as an anti-hero because everybody else is agreeing with the government (cloudy day) but Winston knows that there is a better world out there (I'll keep my eyes fixed on the sun). The lyrics about people walking to the sea to find memories relates to 1984 when Winston tries to remember things from his childhood, but it is like trying to find an oyster with a big pearl in the great blue ocean. It is almost impossible for Winston to remember his childhood and before Big Brother ruled. Winston tells us this on page 29 when he vaguely remembers about his mother and father. This line "In my past, bittersweet" relates to the book 1984 the most because Winston can somewhat recall a time when Big Brother did not rule the government and he knew he was not being brainwashed. That is a bittersweet memory because it was such a good time thirty years ago and it is bitter to think how bad the society is now compared to it before. Lastly the words "turn back now its time for me let go" relates to Winston when he writes in his journal. He turns his back to the telescreen and he lets all of his emotions out on a piece of paper. He does not care if the government finds him because he thinks it is worth it to write. Winston is doing the best he can to keep himself from being brainwashed by the government. Also he could be letting go of his life when he writes in the journal. This song relates to George Orwell's 1984 in the themes of brainwashing, a bittersweet past life, and a theme of memories. This song sums up most of 1984.

1984 Movie Trailer

1984 (1)

Winston Smith Journal Entry

Winston Smith Journal Entry

Today, I am putting myself in danger. Today, I could be caught. I am writing in this journal because I am angry. I am angry at people, at the government, and at big brother. I am angry at my life and I am angry about everybody else’s lives too. We are living in a world of lies. Every day we are being brainwashed by Big Brother. Everyday his image appears on my telescreen and tells me how lucky we are to be living in Oceania. I do not believe this is true. I have no freedom. I have no rights. I cannot think what I want to think. I cannot say what I want to say. I have to talk in newspeak. All of my words sound short and choppy and they have no meaning, no emotion. I am living in a world where things are not acceptable, and nobody else gets that. Everybody screams and yells at the telescreen for two minutes hate. I sit there and realize how much truth is coming from the people on the telescreens. I hate the way that there are two parties and you must fit into one of the two parties. If you don’t you will become a prole. Proles live on the side of street; they have no purpose. Why are they looked down upon? Uniqueness and differences should be a good thing, but Big Brother tells us that society must all be alike to be productive. That is the biggest lie, above all the lies that are spit at me every day. I am sitting here, hiding from the video cameras that prowl on me like I am a mouse and they are an owl. I am sitting here with back turned and I should be fearful for my life for if they catch me, writing down and expressing my thoughts, I will be put in jail for thought crime. What type of world do we live in where thinking is illegal? How am I supposed to cry, laugh, break things? How am I supposed to feel emotion in a world like today? I am writing to someone who is like me. Someone who will understand that Big Brother is wrong. Someone who is fearless to defeat the wrongs of today’s world. The proles have more knowledge than all of both party members combined. The proles are the future of Oceania yet they are looked down upon. I don’t know what to do with myself. I do not want to be sent to jail, I do not want to die, yet I do not want to live how I am living. I must continue my daily routine, but I will continue to journal. I will continue to write my thoughts down in a notebook that has collected dust for a lifetime. It is worth the risk. I have to act the same, however. Nobody can know how I am doing illegal things behind their backs, nobody can know that I know everything. I am not being controlled by the government, I am being smarter than the government. I must go, for the video cameras are becoming closer and closer to me.