The Power of Language 1984 Comparison Essay

1525 Words Jan 4th, 2013 7 Pages
The Power of Language

George Orwell, the writer of many highly regarded literary works, is extremely interested in the power of language, mainly how it is abused. By analyzing two of his works, 1984 and Politics and The English Language, it is clear that Orwell is using his writing to bring awareness to the dangers of the manipulation, misuse, and decline of language. In 1984 he demonstrates how language can be used to control thought and manipulate the past. This is proven throughout the novel by examining the language of Newspeak and how it is key to controlling the totalitarian state, and how using language to alter and manipulate history can shape reality. In his essay Politics and the English Language Orwell
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Since without language thought is nearly impossible the party believes that by altering the language they can impose their untrue reality. They will be able to restrict it to the point that even a person’s thoughts are manipulated; things such as individualism and imagination will cease to exist. Which ultimately will give the Party total control over society. The newspeak engineer also goes on to state “ In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it.” (55) This quote proves how vital control of language is to the party, it is the key to becoming a controlled state. By creating the element of Newspeak in 1984 Orwell is warning against the potential consequences of manipulating language to benefit people in power and how this can eventually lead to a totalitarian state.

In 1984 Orwell also warns of the misuse of language and how it can shape reality. He demonstrates how the Party is extremely skilled at changing reality through language, especially when it is related to the past. The Party has the ability to alter any piece of literature or writing that doesn’t coincide with their desired robotic society. This constant altering of the past makes finding a true reality impossible because reality is undergoing constant change.
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