Orwell’s DYSTOPIA 1984

Orwell part 1: Last week, with my presentation, you entered a new world, a totalitarian state as foreseen by George Orwell’s 1984. “Don’t speak, don’t show your emotions! Big Brother is watching you!” The following video is a very effective supplement for studying 1984, with footage taken from the movie by M.Radford.

The next video is a quick and easy 1984 synopsis, analysis, and discussion of major characters and themes in the novel.

The man who wrote this prophetic novel was George Orwell. Watch this video to integrate the biography you have studied in your text-book.

To integrate the extracts you have in your textbook, read here some more chapters from the novel 1984. Then, to check how much you know of the novel try doing the QUIZ on 1984, you’ll discover some new things you didn’t know unless you’ve read the novel.

As, in these days, the term “Orwellian” is rather abused, I found very interesting and knowledgeable the following video by TedEd. After watching it can you now define what the correct meaning of the word Orwellian is?

Here’s the trailer of 1984, the movie from Orwell’s novel. Is this the future we want?

In order to reflect on the meaning and relevance of Dystopic novels, I’ve adapted a previous TedEd lesson  How to recognize a dystopia – Alex Gendler. Go to the given link and do the activities as home assignment TASK ONE.

I now cannot help embedding the stunning, mind-blowing Apple’s commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh Computer to the world by explicitly referring to Orwell’s novel. It was shown & broadcasted during the Superbowl in 1984. Apple is always one step beyond the others! 😉


  1.  What do you think is the message of the advertisement?
  2. Is the ad effective also for those who don’t know the novel or does it need a certain amount of…education? LEAVE A COMMENT.

One of the best novels I’ve read in the last years is without any doubts, The Circle by Dave Eggars.(2013)  If you like this genre you must read it, I highly recommend it. (The New York Times’ review). While writing this post I’ve just discovered that they’ve  made a movie from it. I cannot wait to see it at the movie theatre!

Last but not least for those who love the Eurythmics and Annie Lennox as much as I do, theirs is the soundtrack of the movie and the song SEXCRIME. Enjoy!

Lyrics:  Can I take this for granted/With your eyes over me?/In this place/This wintery home/I know there’s always someone in/Sexcrime/Sexcrime

Nineteen eighty four/And so I face the wall/Turn my back against it all/How I wish I’d been unborn/Wish I was unliving here/Sexcrime/Sexcrime

Nineteen eighty four/I’ll pull the bricks down/One by one/Leave a big hole in the wall/Just where you are looking in.

I want to end this post by adding an excerpt from the movie “Detachment  (2011) American drama film about the high school education system directed by Tony Kaye,  the director of American History X. I think this scene is fantastic to remind us of the importance of education & knowledge to avoid the dangers of a totalitarian society and regime, like the one depicted by G.Orwell. It can also help you comment & reflect on the novel we’re reading in class and Apple’s advertisement.



6 thoughts on “Orwell’s DYSTOPIA 1984

  1. When I saw the commercial spot directed by Ridley, I was very impressed for the theme that Apple choose but also I really appreciated its sarcasm. I don’t know if other company use a book or literary themes to promote their products, but in my view it is a great thing that improve sellings and also general culture. Tv and social media are the best ways to communicate messages to the population and I hope that one day they can help in a better way the improvement of cultural knowledge. I think that in the commercial spot the message is that George Orwell predicted the future, but not correctly at all because Apple commercialized for the first time a personal computer with whom you could do whatever you want because didn’t control you. Moreover I believe that Apple chose the book “1984” to make a criticism against the society ruled by the stereotypes by that time.
    This advertisement remembers me one painting of the artist Edvard Munch, the “Evening on Karl Johan Street”, in which people have an unemotional face and are similar to zombies, like the faces of people in the spot. In conclusion, I suppose that people that don’t know the novel, or don’t have any amount of culture, have big difficulties understanding the message of the commercial spot.
    For me culture is what makes me free, because when people know, nobody can make fun of you or make you believe in immoral and bad ideologies.

  2. I think that this advertisement is interesting under different aspects; first, the idea of comparing the real 1984 world with the novel because in my opinion is not the first thing that you can think when you what to sell your product. The people in the video at different only because they have their own face and I think that this make Apple producer to comparing them with the generation of 1984 (everyone has the same shoes, the same trousers, the same habits of the rest of the world) that look like people in the novel 1984 because they are all “slaves” of the trend of that period while people in the novel are all slaves of Big Brother (except of Winston Smith that has his own ideas, like the girl in the ad that broke the screen).
    Secondly the girl that run at the centre of the scene to break the screen in my opinion is a clear reference to the novel because the girl coming in the room dressing different clothes and, as everybody can notice, different thoughts like Winston Smith that fought for his thought independence.
    In conclusion I think that for those who know the novel “1984” the relevance of the video is more clear that if you don’t know anything about the novel.
    If you don’t know anything you can interpretate the message of the ad as a product that is coming to change the world but if you know the novel I think that the first message that you “learnt” from the ad is that in a generation where people are all the same, there is someone (like the girl) that can think different and produce something that is detached from the rules of the world.
    As the ad try to explain, we are all different from each other so we don’t have to follow every single rule that the world of fashion, television ecc. offers to us because we are able to think with our minds and be different from the rest of the world.

  3. The fantastic commercial shot by the english director Ridley scott has a very clear point, and i think that a special praise goes to the director (who also directed two years earlier a dystopian flick “Blade runner”, a movie based on the novel by Philip K. Dick “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”)with the ability and the immagination to riproduce an effective dystopian world. The sequence is very linear so everybody can understand what’s happening. The message of breaking the line of standards and anticonformism is incarnated by the young runner who carries the sledgehammer and in the cathartic frame throws it into the screen which represent the conformism and the alienation brought by the modern life. The final description shows what is the subject of the commercial and gives some satisfactions to 1984’s fans with the references to the book. I loved the dark and dusty world created for this commercial and the perfect use of slow motion that boosts the meaning of the short. A needful citation goes to the wardrobe artists that give at the scene an essential contribute for the success of the commercial.

  4. The commercial opens with ambiguous subjects marching in unison toward a giant screen with a Big Brother-like figure, who is speaking to the crowd. Anya Major, an English female runner, races through the crowd toward the screen as she is chased by police, wearing bright red jogging shorts and a white Macintosh t-shirt. She carries a large brass hammer, which she hurls at the Big Brother figure, right at the moment Big Brother announces “We shall prevail”. The screen is destroyed, the people who was watching the screen are shocked and the commercial concludes with a voiceover which intone “On January 24th Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984”. At the end, the screen fades to black as the voiceover ends, and the rainbow Apple logo appears.
    Why 1984 won’t be like 1984? It’s easy. In the novel of George Orwell there isn’t any type of freedom but Apple’s new technology would be used for freedom, not control. The new machines omnipresent that in the dystopian novel watch over their citizens are being replaced by Apple’s new technology that “allow” freedom to all citizens.
    The message is also easily understandable for those who don’t read or don’t know the novel thanks to the image given by the commercial.
    The Apple’s message is so modern. We are free to think whatever we want, we have to follow our passions even if our passions are different. We must distinguish ourselves from others otherwise we would not be us.

  5. “1984” is an American television commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer, directed by Ridley Scott. Thanks to the ablity of the director, Apple gives a clear message of what the merchandise is without even showing it.
    There is an heavy allusion to George Orwell’s 1984: as it happens in Oceania, the Dystopian nation governed by a totalitarian government, no one is free in the reality presented in the ad, too. The only sign of change is given when the girl with the sledgehammer liberates the drones from the tyrant’s speech.
    Through the use of 1984’s dystopian society as setting, Apple is able to portray itself and it’s products as the only way for someone to break out from the crowd and be truly original, which I believe to be the real message. The crowds of people who have been brainwashed seems to be the consumers, which are controlled by the abuse of technology. Their outfits are all equal, and the girl comes to be the only coloured part of the entire representation. She might be the depiction of Apple itself, and the power of the company to make the consumers free, saving them from the oppressive tyrant that is Big Brother, or IBM. In this way the girl is unique, and original, exactly the way Apple wants to be seen.
    I believe that the advertisement can work because of the message of independence and individuality, vakues which are missing in nowadays societies. The meaning is very hard to find for a person who whatches the ad for the first time and has no experience of what 1984 is, but it is also very deep and current. It is not explicit at all, and it requires a meditation: Apple made people think, another sign of originality. The message is supported by the power of images and by the perfect choice of the music and the background voice (the voice of a tyrant which may embody Apple’s competitors, particularly IBM).
    Apple states that it wants a person to be unique and outside of the crowd, far away from any kind of conformity. No one wants to be just one in the crowd, and no one wants to be controlled but that is exactly what the consumer is, if they don’t buy an Apple Macintosh!

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