Professional Writing: Process and Practice
EN 1700 – Fall/Winter 2009/2010 – Jan Rehner
Lecture 7 – 1984 – Nov 02
1984; Rhetoric of Rebellion, Protest, Conformity
- Know thyself and become a better writer.
- Politics is about how society is organized and who has power.
- You start to develop a political identity when you ask how you fit into a society
(worker, ethnicity, consumer, sex…)
- Who has the power?
o The ability to fully participate in society.
- When professional writers talk about politics, their preferred readings relate to the
definition: how is society organized and who has power?
o They ask, should it be the way it is?
o Deliberately attempt to persuade or warn their audience concerning the
expression of their rights and freedom.
- Political writing has a purpose; it seeks to convince.
o Rebel? = oppositional reading.
o Protest? = negotiated reading.
o Conform? = dominant reading.
- An icon is somebody or something widely and uncritically admired, whose
symbolism is now fixed. When ideas become iconic, they become cultural
clichés. The icons meaning can be satirized, but the original association remains.
- Setting and themes have been borrowed to come to represent different things
that Orwell has not intended.
- Orwell as icon: Big brother is watching you.
194 as a Book of Political Genre – Dystopian Fiction
- Genre – a grouping of text with similar distinct and reoccurring patterns and
- Orwell’s book belongs to a group of texts called the Utopia/Dystopia genre.
o Both are concerned with society, and who has power.
o Perfectly good/perfectly bad.
o Utopias are ideas while Dystopias are warnings (things to avoid, things
can be better but they can get worse).
- The utopic/dystopic writer is responding to concerns in his present, the book
might take okace in the future, but it is really about right now, whenever right now
is. o For this reason, process/post-process theory is particularly important
when studying utopic/dystopic novels – you need to know the social and
political context of the writer.
- Orwell is no different; it is important to understand his context so that his
preferred reading is clearly transmitted.
- Orwell knows how people live in fascist government – lived in Spain.
- Fascist (right-wing), communist (left-wing) and dictatorships (both) can be
- The state has public and private power over the lives of their citizens.
- A government where all power is vested in the States rather than the people.
- The rule is harsh, merciless and arbitrary.
- The state interferes with every aspect of life.
- There is distinction public and private life.
- Trudeau: ‘The state has no place in the bedrooms of the na