Orwellian Rhetoric With Emoji

This lesson asks students to consider the same notion that George Orwell raises in 1984 with regard to the power associated with limiting thought by limiting language.  Students are asked to apply this line of thinking to emojis.  (Consider the parallels: emojis are ubiquitous, are instantly downloaded onto everyone’s phone, are used without hesitation in conversation… and are incredibly limiting in terms of what they are able to accurately convey.)

Beyond the discussion prompts, this lesson asks students to read multiple texts that consider the impact of emojis on language and communication, and prompts students to synthesize the ideas of multiple authors.

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Lesson Features

Grades Designed for upper secondary and AP; adaptable for upper-middle and lower-secondary
Focus The power of language; rhetoric; intertextual synthesis

Lesson Description

This lesson includes:

  • A carefully written explanation of Orwell’s “newspeak” to bring students up to speed with the concept of limiting language to limit thought
  • Concrete examples of the above, including untranslatable words (with loose definitions) from other languages
  • Essential questions for discussion
  • Prompts for thinking about and analyzing emoji through a rhetorical lens
  • Links to two suggested readings
  • A synthesis-style writing prompt

Engage your students with emojis and rhetoric now for only $4.99 — OR — join the TeachArgument Community to gain access to ALL of our pop culture resources!

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