Miss Speaking Summary

Decent Essays
Set in a noncanonical setting of a Miss Universe pageant, “Miss Speaking” is a short story that addresses the central question of what it means to be human and the dangers of conformity. These themes are also prevalent in 1984. Throughout the course, we have discussed the definition of being human in a multitude of different contexts, but arguably the most important human characteristic is the ability to make connections with others. The ability to create these is mediated by the use of language as a fundamental tool for human expression. The title “Miss Speaking” already hints to the audience that the story is about miscommunication. Therefore, the central character in “Miss Speaking” is Maria English. Her name is a reference to the idea…show more content…
The similar iMind’s sole focus on logic and reason allows the creator to control all its users, like Big Brother. This prevailing idea of the danger of conformity is most clear in the final scene, where Maria is watching the pageant. The answers praising iMind are supposed to be absolutely ridiculous; education, childcare, and art are only some examples of human processes that do not benefit from mass production, but rather from love and creativity. As each subsequent contestant adorns praise on Largs and the iMind, she realizes that she is surrounded by brainwashed iMind users, both in the audience and the contestants. In 1984, it is clear that Big Brother won as seen in Winston’s betrayal of Julia. However, in “Miss Speaking,” Abbey never got to answer if she would rather save the iMind or Maria. With an ambiguous ending, the story hints that if Abbey is strong enough to remove the iMind herself, she can reverse its effects, giving hope to the rest of the brainwashed users. By using the central theme of it means to be human, “Miss Speaking” is short story that demonstrates that human connection is the key to prevail in a bleak, conforming
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