How and why does "1984" use language as a method of influence?    I need some help my essay is due this friday (22.05.09)

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timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You'll want to read this essay:  Politics and the English Language (Orwell).  http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm.  Orwell believed (quite correctly, I think) that language not only reflects reality, but creates reality.   The language that we use to describe something bears no intrinsic realtionship to the thing we think it represents.  This may not be all that important when we talk about concrete nouns, but when we talk about abstract nouns (truth, love, justice) language becomes of paramount importance.  It not only reflects reality; it can create it.

In 1984, the Newspeak dictionary is written with the specific intention of limiting/controlling language, thereby limiting/controlling thought.  If there are no words to describe/express "freedom," would we be able to think of it?  If the government could eliminate all words that they saw as threatening to their power, what would be the results?

If you want to see how this works in our world, how do you feel about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?  Doesn't that make you feel better than "The Largest Expenditure of Money in History that may or may not Work Act"?

Read the Orwell Essay.  It will make it clearer for you and provide you with some great references.

Read the study guide:
1984

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