Discussing “The Truman Show”

Cartesius (or Descartes) was French philosopher (1596-1650). One of the ‘problems we battle with today which goes back to Cartesius is the division of body and mind. “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am).

  • Discuss what is meant by the expression ‘cartesian nightmare’ in

Have you ever wondered whether everyone talks about you behind your back? Whether they are all keeping something from you? John McGuire discusses the Cartesian nightmare that is The Truman Show (from Philosophy Now)

  • Then read the article where the quote above is taken from, and discuss how the film deals with ‘the problem of skepisism’.
  • Think about the reality shows you find on tv any day of the week. What are the ethical differences between the fiction of The Truman Show and ‘fly on the wall televison’?


The Story of an Hour – Kate Chopin

Today, Kate Chopin (1850–1904), is recognised as one of America’s essential authors. She has been credited with introducing the modern feminist literary movement. The Encyclopaeida Britannica writes  that “her concerns about the freedom of women foreshadowed later feminist literary themes”. You can read more about her as well as her short stories as KateChopin.org and at americanliterature.com.

She wrote  “The Story of an Hour”  in 1894, and although more than a century has passed the situation in the story is not unheard of in today’s world. Read (and/or listen) then consider what really happened in the story and more importantly why?


From the textbook “Core 2” by Jörgen Gustafsson, Monica Hjorth, Eric Kinrade. Published by Sanoma Utbildning. Extract at smakprov.se

Toth, Emily. (2017). “Kate Chopin ‘The Story of an Hour.’” KateChopin.org. Retrieved from https://www.katechopin.org/the-story-of-an-hour/

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (februari 14, 2016) “Kate Chopin” in Encyclopædia Britannica: Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Retrieved oktober 27, 2017 from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kate-Chopin


Practice basic grammar

IXL lets you practice a few times without a log in. There are exercises for all levels and for several subjects. Here below you find links to some exercises where you can practice basic, but important, English language skills. Try them out and if you find them useful IXL has more.

NOTE, the exercises below lets you pracise BASIC skills.

PRACTICE: Complete the sentence (agreement)

PRACTICE: Which tense does the sentence use?

PRACTICE: Find the picture that matches the action verb


PRACTICE: Homonyms – Match the sentences to the pictures.

PRACTICE: Match antonyms to pictures


PRACTICE: Match the contractions to the words.

PRACTICE: Use regular plurals with -s, -es, and -ies


Ergonomics worksheetsA project for English and Physical Education.

The booklet includes information and facts relating to ergonomics as well as language exercises, vocabulary, reading comprehension etc. (Embedded booklet/worksheet to the right).

“Ergonomics is a science-based discipline that brings together knowledge from other subjects such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, engineering and statistics to ensure that designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimise the effects of their limitations. Rather than expecting people to adapt to a design that forces them to work in an uncomfortable, stressful or dangerous way, ergonomists and human factors specialists seek to understand how a product, workplace or system can be designed to suit the people who need to use it.” Read more about ergonomics at ergonomics.org.

Definition from Merriam Webster


News and media

When learning or teaching English news are a gold mine. News items give you up to date English. They are short, can be chosen after your fields of interest or purpose. The quickest way I know of to improve your proficiency, without actually going to an English speaking country, is to daily read and listen to news in English.

Using news articles from the British Council will supply some help should you need it.

Some news sites:

CNN 10 (for students)
Newsweek (international edition)
The Local (Europe’s news in English)
The Local Sweden


Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 4

After reading Fahrenheit 451 and watching 1984 you should write, “Dystopia in Literature, a Comparative Study”.Dystopia in literature

Write a formal structured ESSAY where you consider the filmed adaptation of 1984 (Orwell) and the novel Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury), and compare them from the following aspects,

  1. How truth is handled.
  2. How literature is regarded and dealt with.
  3. How war is described and the functions of war.
  4. Hope, if there is hope and in what form and finally,
  5. in the end, who wins and why?

Part 3: Essay Instruction

If you are aiming for the higher grades you can also include a comparison of the use of symbols and metaphors in Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. (See post Literary Devices). In your analysis you should exemplify, building your analysis using examples from the text (quote or retell) and the film (refer to scene or passage).

Your text should have a clear logic with a coherent use of paragraphs, linking devices and a formal register. Remember not to use contractions.


General Writing OutlineFor help with your writing, structure, linking words etc. please refer to

Core 2, p. 249 devices for argumentative vs reasoning text)Viewpoints 3, pp 200-201 ”Literary Analysis”
Ready for CAE p. 197 ”Essay”


AND the document General Writing Instructions




Gustafsson, J., Hjorth, M. & Kinrade, E. (2009). Core English. 2. (1. uppl.) Stockholm: Bonnier utbildning.

Gustafsson, L. & Wivast, U. (2014). Viewpoints. 3. (1. uppl.) Malmö: Gleerup.

Norris, R. & French, A. (2008). Ready for CAE. Coursebook. Oxford: Macmillan Education.

Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 3

Embedded booklet with full instructions for the theme to the right and below instruction to use while watching the film 1984.Dystopia in literature

Watch 1984 using the instructions for ‘while watching’.  (It should be the version with John Hunt and filmed in 1984)

Questions to consider while you watch. (Take notes)

What is most significant about Winton’s, Julia’s and O’Brains characters?

How do you react to the starting scene and the phrase ”Who controls the past controls the future”?
What is this communal mass outpouring of emotion at the start of the film?

What is the role of Newspeak?
What is the role of censoring?
What is thought crime?
Waht is sex crime?Part 2: while watching 1984
What is the function of the hidden diary in the story? Does it symbolize anything?

What is the significance of (the sign of) the ’crossed arms’?
What is room 101?
What or who is Big Brother? Is he/it a real person?

What is the role of war? In this film?
How is technology used by the party?
Winston lives in Oceania, what is the rest of the world like?

What is the function of the symbols Winston’s paperweight, the St. Clement’s Church picture and the red armed woman and the “the place where there is no darkness.”

Winston’s public confession. Does he believe what he is saying? Is he a broken man?

And what about the relationship between Jula and Winston, how would you describe its different stages?

An most important, what is the role of language? (double think, newspeak)


Posts on this theme

Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 1
Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 2
Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 4

Dystopia in literature
Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451
Aldous Huxley and ”A Brave New World”
A Brave New World
George Orwell
George Orwell’s 1984

Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 2

Embedded booklet with full instructions for the theme to the right.Dystopia in literature

Huxley’s A Brave New World is a third well known dystopian novel, together with Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, which in many way is topical in today’s society.

See posts,

Aldous Huxley and ”A Brave New World”

A Brave New World

Read  Chapter 1 from Huxley’s A Brave New World

Analyse and interpret the text. Tie you discussion to the text using examples and quotes.

(The questions below are quoted from the textbook Viewpoints 3 p. 174)

  1. In the text it is suggested that it is better for individuals to focus on particulars rather than generalities. What is meant by this, and how do you think this could be seen to benefit society?
  2. What do you think is meant by the term ‘social stability’ in the text?
  3. The novel Brave New World depicts a society which has been influenced by Henry Ford and his mass production model for car manufacturing. There are countless references to this throughout the novel, such as the use of the expression ‘My Ford’ instead of ‘My Lord’. find other examples of the influence of Ford and his model in this extract.
  4. What is being manufactured in the factory? How is the idea of ‘mass production’ being put into action with this product?
  5. Even though Brave New World was written as a reaction to society in 1932, many argue that the novel is still relevant today. Do you agree? Why/ why not?
  6. One important aspect of society in Brave New World is happiness. As long as citizens are happy, society can be kept stable. It is therefore argued that happiness is more important than truth. What is your opinion on this?
  7. The novel also tackles the age-old question of ‘nature versus nurture’. Research this question an describe how it fits with the text.
  8. What is your stance on nature versus nurture? Explain your view.

Reference: Gustafsson, L. & Wivast, U. (2014). Viewpoints. 3.  Malmö: Gleerup.

Record your discussion or take notes and hand in.

Part 1: while reading Farenheit 451

Then continue reading Fahrenheit 451  using the reading instructions.


Posts on this theme

Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 1
Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 3
Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 4

Dystopia in literature
Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451
Aldous Huxley and ”A Brave New World”
A Brave New World
George Orwell
George Orwell’s 1984

Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 1

Dystopia in literature”It’s not so much staying alive, as staying human, that is important” (Winston, in the film 1984)

Dystopia in Literature is a themed work, for English 7,  based on Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)  & 1984 (George Orwell).

(See embedded booklet with full instructions for the theme to the right)

We start with the concept of dystopia “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives” (Merriam Webster), and introduce the book Farenheit 451.

See the posts,

Dystopia in literature

Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451

Part 1: while reading Farenheit 451When reading the book Farenheit 451 be  careful to follow the reading instructions.

(See embedded instruction to the right, or the full booklet)

For both the of the titles Farenehit 451 and 1984 think about

1) How truth is handled,

2) How literature is regarded and dealt with,

3) How war is described and the functions of war,

4) Hope, if there is hope and in what form and finally

5) In the end, who wins and why?

Taking notes while you read and watch is highly recommended.

Posts on this theme

Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 2
Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 3
Dystopia in Literature – Lesson 4

Dystopia in literature
Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451
Aldous Huxley and ”A Brave New World”
A Brave New World
George Orwell
George Orwell’s 1984

English and CEFR

The National Curriculum and teaching of English in the Swedish school system is adapted to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR). In Swedish it is referred to as Gemensam Europeisk referensram för språk (GERS). It can be discerned in the curriculum for English in Swedish grundskola and in Curriculum for the upper secondary school.

Swedish version / version suédoise : Gemensam europeisk referensram för språk : lärande, undervisningoch bedömning, Skolverket, 2007, ISBN : 978-91-85545-50-6, www.skolverket.se.

In Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ger Europarådet en översikt över språkfärdigheter i de sex nivåerna A1 – C2. Denna globala skala kan användas framför allt för att informera t.ex. föräldrar, beslutsfattare eller representanter för näringslivet (Den globala skalan).

Skolverket “Om ämnet Engelska” (p. 2)

The CEFR organises language proficiency in six levels, A1 to C2, which can be regrouped into three broad levels: Basic User, Independent User and Proficient User, and that can be further subdivided according to the needs of the local context. The levels are defined through ‘can-do’ descriptors. The levels did not suddenly appear from nowhere in 2001, but were a development over a period of time, as described below (from CEFR levels described).

These levels are described and delimited, as in Qualitative aspects of spoken language use.  The Swedish National Agency for Education clarifies how the European framework and national curricula are aligned in the dokument “Om ämnet Engelska“, where there is very clear figure (see above) illustrating the levels and alignment. Wikipedia has a clear description of the levels as well.

The education systems in the European Union are autonomous, but for languages there is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which comes into effect as well. in Swedish this becomes evident in the curricula but also in the construction of National Tests; see Relating Language Examinations to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR). A Manual.