Language And The Connection Between Dystopia And Language

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Up till now, language has not been largely studied in relation to dystopian fiction. Gorman Beauchamp (1974) was one of the first to draw connections between dystopia and language, however he did not treat language as a major interest of dystopia. Following that, Robert Baker argued that a “motif of language” ran through dystopian texts (1990), but as he focused only on Brave New World, it is difficult to extrapolate it to anything more general, much less all of dystopian fiction. David Sisk (1997) wrote that “scholars have tended to examine concerns with language … as minor interests, points that enrich … but do not play a central role” (11). Similarly, Eike Kühl laments the “shortage of comparative research which tries to analyse and compare…show more content…
More defined it as a place that notably "[had] no chance to loaf or kill time, no pretext for evading work… no chances for corruption" (49). As Ferns defines, it is “desirable, but at the same time unattainable.” (39) According to Sisk, dystopia, “utopia's polarized offspring”, “pessimistically [extrapolates] contemporary social trends into oppressive and terrifying societies”. To use a simpler lexical definition, according to Merriam-Webster, a dystopia is “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”. In other words, dystopia is in opposition to an ideal place, and a dystopian text serves to interrogate current-day norms and exaggerate them, and this usually culminates in a controlling, oppressive government, which mostly uses propaganda and censorship (often of the past) to effect control and repress independent thought, causing people to lead degraded…show more content…
Due to the attractiveness of the past, which represents ‘better’ times, the Controllers decide that “[they] don’t want people to be attracted by old things” (150). By removing physical mementoes, and furthermore conditioning society to refuse the past, it removes desire for something different, thus society finds life sufficient. First, language from the past is removed, with majority of languages described as “dead” (18), because by removing different languages, everyone is forced into uniformity. Without different languages, there is a reduction in subversive action, and there cannot be an upheaval through the use of a foreign language that the state cannot understand, and thus there is less chance of conspiracy, and revolution is subdued. Second, there is the physical removal of literature and writing, with “the suppression of all books published before A.F. 150” (38). By wiping out books, they not only gain power by removing the idea of the past, but also by removing documents containing subversive language, and here it can be seen that language is a tool used to revolt, and that by suppressing language, one can suppress

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