George Orwell's 1984: Language and Power

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Totalitarianism, George Orwell Pages: 3 (943 words) Published: April 19, 2014
George Orwell’s 1984
TOPIC: What are some of the core views about the relationship between language and power conveyed in the novel?

George Orwell's '1984' reveals how the manipulation of language can lead to a totalitarian society and unrivalled power. Orwell’s focus is to portray how language can be used as an instrument of power, transforming an entire populace into an oppressed society. The novel conveys the result of totalitarianism through the manipulation of language, particularly with the use of media, including how easily the populace accepts propaganda as reality. The degradation of dialect reveals how it is almost entirely impossible to object to the Party’s core beliefs. Through the protagonist character of Winston Smith, the importance of individualism is advocated through critical thinking.

Firstly, the text illustrates how language and power can be used as a mechanism of control by discouraging an individual from expressing their true emotion. The controlled language, Newspeak, was created by the totalitarian state as a tool of power, its sole purpose being to restrict the people’s understanding of the real world. The gradually declining dialect limits the ideas that individuals have the potential of formulating and expressing, promoting a narrowing of thoughts and awareness to their system of control. It is therefore ideal for a totalitarian system. By the ‘destruction of words’, ‘thought-crime’ is made almost entirely impossible by curtailing frivolous and rioting words. Such narrowed public thought is the inner- party’s aim, as a populace that lacks the ability to think vividly, eliminates the threat of an uprising against the government. This system of communication is therefore used as a mind-control tool. The citizens of Oceania unquestionably obey their government and mindlessly accept all propaganda as reality, the ultimate goal being the destruction of will and imagination.

The masking of truth holds an incredible degree of...
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