The appendix is a review of Newspeak as defined in its Eleventh Edition dictionary. During the action of the novel, the Tenth Edition had just been finalized but not released, and at work Winston was using the Ninth Edition. So, the appendix serves not only to clarify some of the linguistic themes of the novel, but to hint at the direction in which the Party and its new society are evolving.

As explained earlier in the novel (in Winston’s conversation with Syme, whose field was Newspeak), the ultimate objective of this new language (one intended to replace Oldspeak, or Standard English) is to boil the language down to its bare minimum. Doing so, the theory goes, will not only eliminate all ambiguity, but will also serve to eliminate such fields as poetry and philosophy.

In one of Orwell’s most pointed commentaries about the power of language, the appendix closes with a famous passage from the American Declaration of Independence (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”) and asserts that a perfected Newspeak would make expressing or even thinking those ideas utterly impossible.

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Essays About 1984