Language as the “Ultimate Weapon” in Nineteen Eighty-Four

This processes of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets . . . Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. (42)

Works Cited

George Orwell

  • Literature Notes
  • The Role of Language and the Act of Writing
  • 1984 at a Glance
  • Book Summary
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  • Character Analysis
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Critical Essays The Role of Language and the Act of Writing

Newspeak , the "official" language of Oceania, functions as a devise of extreme Party control: If the Party is able to control thought, it can also control action. In the year 1984, Newspeak is not fully employed, and for good reason; we would not understand the novel otherwise. However, Orwell makes certain to choose a date, 2050, when Newspeak will be the only language anyone will understand. Even though the year 1984 has passed, the book is still timely due to Orwell's vision and foresight. The decline of language troubled Orwell, who was a writer with political and historical agendas. If language could change for the worse, then truth could change into lies, and that was something that Orwell fought against, both in his personal life and in his writing.

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Language in Orwell’s 1984 as a Means of Manipulation and Control Essay

George Orwell’s novel 1984 is a classic of dystopian literature where a future society is presented, in which rewriting history and control over language are used to manipulate the masses. The novel became a bestseller and is widely considered a cult work of 20th-century literature. It was written in 1949 but still resonates with readers today due to its relevance and talent to penetrate the essence of contemporary societal issues. Orwell’s 1984 is a perfect illustration of how language can be utilized to control people politically and manipulate them psychologically.

One of the key themes in the novel is the control over language and rewriting history. In the world of 1984 , the government uses language as a tool for shaping and manipulating people’s thoughts and behaviors (Hama 267). In the novel, the government creates a new language called Newspeak to limit people’s cognitive abilities by forbidding the use of certain words and phrases (Orwell 6). Additionally, the ruling class rewrites history to conceal its mistakes and maintain its power. That way, the government controls the masses by manipulating their thoughts and memories.

In Orwell’s book, language serves as an important tool of power and control. The main character, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite historical records to fit the existing political situation (Orwell 6). This means that the past can be changed and controlled by those in power. In the novel, Orwell describes how the Ministry of Truth rewrites the history of World War II to demonstrate that Oceania has always been a Eurasian ally, not their enemy (17). The author, thus, shows that power controls not only the present but also the past, which is the foundation of people’s identity and culture. Changing the past, in turn, enables the government to control the future.

Orwell’s book also indicates that language is an instrument of thought control. In 1984 , Newspeak, the language created by the government, was adopted as the official language of the country. This language was specifically designed to eliminate people’s ability to think and express their thoughts. Hence, since individuals could not express their thoughts and feelings in the new language, they were not able to talk about those important things at all. As Hossain remarks, the language in Oceania was utilized more for “intimidation” than “regular communication” (24). Newspeak is intended to destroy all ideological thoughts that contradict the country’s political regime. One example of Newspeak in the novel is the word ‘freedom,’ which is replaced with ‘unfreedom’ (Orwell 256). Thus, it is apparent that control of language leads to the restriction of people’s feelings and thoughts.

In the novel, the government establishes a monopoly on the use of language. People in Oceania cannot speak or write anything that contradicts the government’s political ideology. One example from the novel is the ban on using words that may cause government dissatisfaction, such as ‘freedom’ or ‘truth.’ As Hodge and Fowler note, such an “extreme compression” of the language led to a total elimination of ideas (7). Hence, people were forced to use only simplified variants of words and language, which made it impossible to express themselves to the full extent.

Furthermore, the government in the novel promotes the idea of doublethink, which allows people to believe in two conflicting ideas simultaneously. One example from the novel is the government slogan, “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength,” which contradicts common sense but is still accepted by society (Orwell 6). These instances indicate how the government in 1984 uses control over language and rewrites history to manipulate the masses and create their own version of the truth. As Orwell states, the control of one’s past depends “above all on the training of memory” (269). Therefore, the government took away people’s identity and history with the aim of controlling both their present and future.

Orwell also shows that the government can use information technologies to control people. In the book, the government used televisions that served as both a source of information and a means of control over people (Orwell 259). The televisions were constantly on and could not be turned off, and even when they were off, they could serve as a means of surveillance. Therefore, the novel 1984 is a criticism of totalitarianism and dictatorship, which are popular in the world. Orwell warns that if the state controls language and history, it can easily manipulate the masses, not allowing them to think and express their views freely. The author suggests that readers always remain vigilant and resist such threats to freedom.

Orwell’s 1984 is a work that leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of the audience. The novel makes the readers think about how important it is to preserve the freedom of thought and expression and also shows the horrors that can happen if individuals lose it. Although the novel was written over 70 years ago, its themes are still relevant and significant. George Orwell’s 1984 is a work that should be read by everyone who wants to understand the world in which one lives better. The book is a reminder that freedom is invaluable, and everyone must do everything possible to preserve it.

Works Cited

Hama, Bakhtiar Sabir. “Language as an Oppressive Device in Orwell’s 1984.” International Journal of Humanities and Cultural Studies , vol. 2, no. 1, 2015, pp. 265-277.

Hodge, Bob, and Roger Fowler. “Orwellian Linguistics.” Language and Control , edited by Roger Fowler et al., Routledge, 2019, pp. 6-25.

Hossain, Mozaffor. “Language as the Device for Psychological Manipulation in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Psycholinguistic Analysis.” European Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research , vol. 5, no. 8, 2017, pp. 25-31.

Orwell, George. 1984 . Planet eBook, n.d. Planet eBook , Web.

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Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined

What 1984 means today

1984 language essay

No novel of the past century has had more influence than George Orwell’s 1984 . The title, the adjectival form of the author’s last name, the vocabulary of the all-powerful Party that rules the superstate Oceania with the ideology of Ingsoc— doublethink , memory hole , unperson , thoughtcrime , Newspeak , Thought Police , Room 101 , Big Brother —they’ve all entered the English language as instantly recognizable signs of a nightmare future. It’s almost impossible to talk about propaganda, surveillance, authoritarian politics, or perversions of truth without dropping a reference to 1984. Throughout the Cold War, the novel found avid underground readers behind the Iron Curtain who wondered, How did he know?

1984 language essay

It was also assigned reading for several generations of American high-school students. I first encountered 1984 in 10th-grade English class. Orwell’s novel was paired with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World , whose hedonistic and pharmaceutical dystopia seemed more relevant to a California teenager in the 1970s than did the bleak sadism of Oceania. I was too young and historically ignorant to understand where 1984 came from and exactly what it was warning against. Neither the book nor its author stuck with me. In my 20s, I discovered Orwell’s essays and nonfiction books and reread them so many times that my copies started to disintegrate, but I didn’t go back to 1984 . Since high school, I’d lived through another decade of the 20th century, including the calendar year of the title, and I assumed I already “knew” the book. It was too familiar to revisit.

Read: Teaching ‘1984’ in 2016

So when I recently read the novel again, I wasn’t prepared for its power. You have to clear away what you think you know, all the terminology and iconography and cultural spin-offs, to grasp the original genius and lasting greatness of 1984 . It is both a profound political essay and a shocking, heartbreaking work of art. And in the Trump era , it’s a best seller .

1984 language essay

The Ministry of Truth: The Biography of George Orwell’s 1984 , by the British music critic Dorian Lynskey, makes a rich and compelling case for the novel as the summation of Orwell’s entire body of work and a master key to understanding the modern world. The book was published in 1949, when Orwell was dying of tuberculosis , but Lynskey dates its biographical sources back more than a decade to Orwell’s months in Spain as a volunteer on the republican side of the country’s civil war. His introduction to totalitarianism came in Barcelona, when agents of the Soviet Union created an elaborate lie to discredit Trotskyists in the Spanish government as fascist spies.

1984 language essay

Left-wing journalists readily accepted the fabrication, useful as it was to the cause of communism. Orwell didn’t, exposing the lie with eyewitness testimony in journalism that preceded his classic book Homage to Catalonia —and that made him a heretic on the left. He was stoical about the boredom and discomforts of trench warfare—he was shot in the neck and barely escaped Spain with his life—but he took the erasure of truth hard. It threatened his sense of what makes us sane, and life worth living. “History stopped in 1936,” he later told his friend Arthur Koestler, who knew exactly what Orwell meant. After Spain, just about everything he wrote and read led to the creation of his final masterpiece. “History stopped,” Lynskey writes, “and Nineteen Eighty-Four began.”

The biographical story of 1984 —the dying man’s race against time to finish his novel in a remote cottage on the Isle of Jura , off Scotland—will be familiar to many Orwell readers. One of Lynskey’s contributions is to destroy the notion that its terrifying vision can be attributed to, and in some way disregarded as, the death wish of a tuberculosis patient. In fact, terminal illness roused in Orwell a rage to live—he got remarried on his deathbed—just as the novel’s pessimism is relieved, until its last pages, by Winston Smith’s attachment to nature, antique objects, the smell of coffee, the sound of a proletarian woman singing, and above all his lover, Julia. 1984 is crushingly grim, but its clarity and rigor are stimulants to consciousness and resistance. According to Lynskey, “Nothing in Orwell’s life and work supports a diagnosis of despair.”

Lynskey traces the literary genesis of 1984 to the utopian fictions of the optimistic 19th century—Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888); the sci-fi novels of H. G. Wells, which Orwell read as a boy—and their dystopian successors in the 20th, including the Russian Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924) and Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). The most interesting pages in The Ministry of Truth are Lynskey’s account of the novel’s afterlife. The struggle to claim 1984 began immediately upon publication, with a battle over its political meaning. Conservative American reviewers concluded that Orwell’s main target wasn’t just the Soviet Union but the left generally. Orwell, fading fast, waded in with a statement explaining that the novel was not an attack on any particular government but a satire of the totalitarian tendencies in Western society and intellectuals: “The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don’t let it happen. It depends on you .” But every work of art escapes the artist’s control—the more popular and complex, the greater the misunderstandings.

Lynskey’s account of the reach of 1984 is revelatory. The novel has inspired movies, television shows, plays, a ballet, an opera, a David Bowie album , imitations, parodies, sequels, rebuttals, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Black Panther Party, and the John Birch Society. It has acquired something of the smothering ubiquity of Big Brother himself: 1984 is watching you. With the arrival of the year 1984, the cultural appropriations rose to a deafening level. That January an ad for the Apple Macintosh was watched by 96 million people during the Super Bowl and became a marketing legend. The Mac, represented by a female athlete, hurls a sledgehammer at a giant telescreen and explodes the shouting face of a man—oppressive technology—to the astonishment of a crowd of gray zombies. The message: “You’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’ ”

The argument recurs every decade or so: Orwell got it wrong. Things haven’t turned out that bad. The Soviet Union is history. Technology is liberating. But Orwell never intended his novel to be a prediction, only a warning. And it’s as a warning that 1984 keeps finding new relevance. The week of Donald Trump’s inauguration, when the president’s adviser Kellyanne Conway justified his false crowd estimate by using the phrase alternative facts , the novel returned to the best-seller lists. A theatrical adaptation was rushed to Broadway. The vocabulary of Newspeak went viral. An authoritarian president who stood the term fake news on its head, who once said, “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” has given 1984 a whole new life.

What does the novel mean for us? Not Room 101 in the Ministry of Love, where Winston is interrogated and tortured until he loses everything he holds dear. We don’t live under anything like a totalitarian system. “By definition, a country in which you are free to read Nineteen Eighty-Four is not the country described in Nineteen Eighty-Four ,” Lynskey acknowledges. Instead, we pass our days under the nonstop surveillance of a telescreen that we bought at the Apple Store, carry with us everywhere, and tell everything to, without any coercion by the state. The Ministry of Truth is Facebook, Google, and cable news. We have met Big Brother and he is us.

Trump’s election brought a rush of cautionary books with titles like On Tyranny , Fascism: A Warning , and How Fascism Works . My local bookstore set up a totalitarian-themed table and placed the new books alongside 1984 . They pointed back to the 20th century—if it happened in Germany, it could happen here—and warned readers how easily democracies collapse. They were alarm bells against complacency and fatalism—“ the politics of inevitability ,” in the words of the historian Timothy Snyder, “a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done.” The warnings were justified, but their emphasis on the mechanisms of earlier dictatorships drew attention away from the heart of the malignancy—not the state, but the individual. The crucial issue was not that Trump might abolish democracy but that Americans had put him in a position to try. Unfreedom today is voluntary. It comes from the bottom up.

We are living with a new kind of regime that didn’t exist in Orwell’s time. It combines hard nationalism—the diversion of frustration and cynicism into xenophobia and hatred—with soft distraction and confusion: a blend of Orwell and Huxley, cruelty and entertainment. The state of mind that the Party enforces through terror in 1984 , where truth becomes so unstable that it ceases to exist, we now induce in ourselves. Totalitarian propaganda unifies control over all information, until reality is what the Party says it is—the goal of Newspeak is to impoverish language so that politically incorrect thoughts are no longer possible. Today the problem is too much information from too many sources, with a resulting plague of fragmentation and division—not excessive authority but its disappearance, which leaves ordinary people to work out the facts for themselves, at the mercy of their own prejudices and delusions.

During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, propagandists at a Russian troll farm used social media to disseminate a meme: “ ‘The People Will Believe What the Media Tells Them They Believe.’  — George Orwell.” But Orwell never said this. The moral authority of his name was stolen and turned into a lie toward that most Orwellian end: the destruction of belief in truth. The Russians needed partners in this effort and found them by the millions, especially among America’s non-elites. In 1984 , working-class people are called “proles,” and Winston believes they’re the only hope for the future. As Lynskey points out, Orwell didn’t foresee “that the common man and woman would embrace doublethink as enthusiastically as the intellectuals and, without the need for terror or torture, would choose to believe that two plus two was whatever they wanted it to be.”

We stagger under the daily load of doublethink pouring from Trump, his enablers in the Inner Party, his mouthpieces in the Ministry of Truth, and his fanatical supporters among the proles. Spotting doublethink in ourselves is much harder. “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” Orwell wrote . In front of my nose, in the world of enlightened and progressive people where I live and work, a different sort of doublethink has become pervasive. It’s not the claim that true is fake or that two plus two makes five. Progressive doublethink—which has grown worse in reaction to the right-wing kind—creates a more insidious unreality because it operates in the name of all that is good. Its key word is justice —a word no one should want to live without. But today the demand for justice forces you to accept contradictions that are the essence of doublethink.

For example, many on the left now share an unacknowledged but common assumption that a good work of art is made of good politics and that good politics is a matter of identity. The progressive view of a book or play depends on its political stance, and its stance—even its subject matter—is scrutinized in light of the group affiliation of the artist: Personal identity plus political position equals aesthetic value. This confusion of categories guides judgments all across the worlds of media, the arts, and education, from movie reviews to grant committees. Some people who register the assumption as doublethink might be privately troubled, but they don’t say so publicly. Then self-censorship turns into self-deception, until the recognition itself disappears—a lie you accept becomes a lie you forget. In this way, intelligent people do the work of eliminating their own unorthodoxy without the Thought Police.

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Orthodoxy is also enforced by social pressure, nowhere more intensely than on Twitter, where the specter of being shamed or “canceled” produces conformity as much as the prospect of adding to your tribe of followers does. This pressure can be more powerful than a party or state, because it speaks in the name of the people and in the language of moral outrage, against which there is, in a way, no defense. Certain commissars with large followings patrol the precincts of social media and punish thought criminals, but most progressives assent without difficulty to the stifling consensus of the moment and the intolerance it breeds—not out of fear, but because they want to be counted on the side of justice.

This willing constriction of intellectual freedom will do lasting damage. It corrupts the ability to think clearly, and it undermines both culture and progress. Good art doesn’t come from wokeness, and social problems starved of debate can’t find real solutions. “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word,” Orwell wrote in 1946. “What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.” Not much has changed since the 1940s. The will to power still passes through hatred on the right and virtue on the left.

1984 will always be an essential book, regardless of changes in ideologies, for its portrayal of one person struggling to hold on to what is real and valuable. “Sanity is not statistical,” Winston thinks one night as he slips off to sleep. Truth, it turns out, is the most fragile thing in the world. The central drama of politics is the one inside your skull.

This article appears in the July 2019 print edition with the headline “George Orwell’s Unheeded Warning.”

​When you buy a book using a link on this page, we receive a commission. Thank you for supporting The Atlantic.

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Orwell's Language: Thought Control Tom Armstrong College

George Orwell’s 1984 portrays a dystopian society whose values and freedoms have been marred through the manipulation of language and thus thought processes. Language has become a tool of mind control for the oppressive government and consequently a tool of rebellion against the Party. Resultant themes arise such as manipulation, surrender, and ardent rebellion as portrayed by the novel’s protagonists, Outer Party members, Winston Smith and Julia (whose last name is unrevealed), as they fight for the freedom of knowledge that has been so inhibited by the Party’s control of everyday and historical language. The control of semantics has been presented as a new language called, “Newspeak” giving meaning to new, unscrupulous words such as, “Doublethink,” which carries several definitions such as complete mental submission to the party. The role of language in 1984 defines themes of control and the decision to rebel or surrender in a dystopian society where mind control has finally been enforced through language.

The Party’s influence on language becomes crucial for its existence when those in power realize the control of language is transitively the control of thoughts. By drawing the borders of one’s vocabulary, a person could...

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1984 language essay

1984 language essay

George Orwell

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Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on George Orwell's 1984 . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

1984: Introduction

1984: plot summary, 1984: detailed summary & analysis, 1984: themes, 1984: quotes, 1984: characters, 1984: symbols, 1984: theme wheel, brief biography of george orwell.

1984 PDF

Historical Context of 1984

Other books related to 1984.

  • Full Title: Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel
  • When Written: 1945-49; outline written 1943
  • Where Written: Jura, Scotland
  • When Published: June 1949
  • Literary Period: Late Modernism
  • Genre: Novel / Satire / Parable
  • Setting: London in the year 1984
  • Climax: Winston is tortured in Room 101
  • Antagonist: O'Brien
  • Point of View: Third-Person Limited

Extra Credit for 1984

Outspoken Anti-Communist. Orwell didn't just write literature that condemned the Communist state of the USSR. He did everything he could, from writing editorials to compiling lists of men he knew were Soviet spies, to combat the willful blindness of many intellectuals in the West to USSR atrocities.

Working Title. Orwell's working title for the novel was The Last Man in Europe .

The logo.

Newspeak is the fictional language Orwell invented for his novel 1984. It is used to control what people are capable of thinking.

  • Newspeak, developed by the Party in " 1984 ", is designed to limit thought and prevent rebellion by reducing the complexity of language.
  • Through Newspeak, Orwell explores the power of language to shape thought and control society, illustrating a method of totalitarian control.
  • The novel showcases Newspeak's role in erasing historical truths and manipulating public perception, emphasizing the language's importance in maintaining the Party's dominance.

Emma Baldwin

Article written by Emma Baldwin

B.A. in English, B.F.A. in Fine Art, and B.A. in Art Histories from East Carolina University.

The purpose of the language is to reduce “unnecessary” words and those that might lead the citizens of Oceania into thought patterns the Party wants to avoid. They believe if they can rid the English language of troubling words, then there will be no way that anyone can conceive of the concepts without them. 

It is a language that is still under construction as the novel’s plot is playing out. There are various iterations of the Newspeak dictionary, and one of Winston Smith ’s associates, Syme , is working on the text. The language reduces words to syllables and combines them together to create new, unusual words. 

When constructing this language, Orwell was influenced by real-life examples in Germany and Russia. The term “Nazi” is a reduction of “nationalsozialist” and “Gestapo” is a reduction of “Geheime Staatspolizei.” These syllabic abbreviations come from a human willingness to make complicated things easier. Today, the term “Newspeak” is applied in contemporary life when someone tries to introduce a new word into the vocabulary, particularly when politicians do so. 

George Orwell wrote a great deal about language, including his essay “Politics and the English Language,” published in 1946. He also included an appendix at the back of 1984 that deals with the concepts of Newspeak. 

When writing about Newspeak, Orwell defined it in the appendix as: 

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc , or English Socialism. In the year 1984 there was not as yet anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of communication, either in speech or writing. 

The development of the language, he continues on to say, was to make “all other modes of thought impossible.” 

Explore Newspeak

  • 1 Newspeak Definition
  • 2 List of Newspeak Words 
  • 3 Examples of Newspeak in 1984 
  • 4 Related Terms in 1984 

Newspeak Definition

Newspeak is a controlled, simplified version of English. It removes “subversive” concepts from the language that the Party wants its citizens to avoid.

These include expressions of personal identity, free will, or anything resembling a rebellion. It focuses on the ideology of INGSOC and the belief that the Party is all-knowing. 

Through the use of Newspeak, the Party is attempting to control what one is capable of thinking. It is one of the three tenants of INGSOC. The other two are doublethink and the mutability (or changeability) of the past. 

Orwell writes about Newspeak several times, stating that the language had a very specific purpose that complimented the use of doublethink. 

It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought—that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc—should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. 

The Party sought to eliminate undesirable words and strip those words of “all secondary meanings whatever.” Orwell cites “free” as a good example. The word exists in Oceania but only in the context of something being “free” of trouble. For example, “The dog is free from lice.” There is no secondary meaning, such as “intellectually free.” 

List of Newspeak Words 

Below are a few of the many Newspeak words Orwell invented.

  • Doubleplusgood


He wrote that Newspeak was designed to: 

not to extend but to DIMINISH the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

The alphabet was divided into different vocabularies, such as the “A” vocabulary that included words needed for “the business of everyday life.” This included words for eating, working, drinking, and riding in vehicles. These were words like “run” and “tree.” 

Words, Orwell noted, were also interchangeable. For example, adjectives were created by adding “ful” to the end of terms. For example, “speedful” means fast or rapid. 

Examples of Newspeak in 1984 

The ministry names .

The four ministries: The Ministry of Peace , The Ministry of Plenty , The Ministry of Truth , and The Ministry of Love, are introduced at the beginning of the novel. Their Newspeak abbreviations are some of the first Newspeak words that the reader is exposed to. They are Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty, as described by the narrator. 

Doublethink is one of the most essential Newspeak words in 1984. It refers to a type of cognitive dissonance where one is capable of bailing two things at once. These two things should, if one’s reasoning is clear, cancel one another out. 

The party slogans are one of the clearest examples of doublethink. It purports that one thing is another, even though those reading/hearing the slogan know it means something else entirely. For example: 


Winston’s Work Messages 

When Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, he’s responsible for revising old documents to make them fit the Party narrative. He receives simplified messages that instruct him on his task. Orwell writes: 

Each contained a message of only one or two lines, in the abbreviated jargon—not actually Newspeak, but consisting largely of Newspeak words—which was used in the Ministry for internal purposes. They ran: 

times 17.3.84 bb speech malreported africa rectify  times 19.12.83 forecasts 3 yp 4th quarter 83 misprints verify current issue  times 14.2.84 miniplenty malquoted chocolate rectify  times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

Related Terms in 1984  

  • INGSOC : newspeak for English Socialism, the governing system used throughout Oceania. 
  • Doublethink : cognitive dissonance. Or the act of thinking two contradictory things at once. Or believing that the two things are true. 
  • Ministry of Love : responsible for brainwashing the citizens of Oceania. 
  • Ministry of Truth : the ministry responsible for changing history to suit the Party. 
  • Thought Police : the group responsible for arresting those charged with thoughtcrime . 
  • Room 101 : a room to which Winston Smith, and others, are taken when they are within the Ministry of Love. It contains everyone’s worst fears. For Smith, this is rats. 

Emma Baldwin

About Emma Baldwin

Emma Baldwin, a graduate of East Carolina University, has a deep-rooted passion for literature. She serves as a key contributor to the Book Analysis team with years of experience.

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Interesting Literature

A Summary and Analysis of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four , completed in 1948 and published a year later, is a classic example of dystopian fiction. Indeed, it’s surely the most famous dystopian novel in the world, even if its ideas are known by far more people than have actually read it. (According to at least one survey , Nineteen Eighty-Four is the book people most often claim to have read when they haven’t.)

Like many novels that are more known about than are carefully read and analysed, Nineteen Eighty-Four is actually a more complex work than the label ‘nightmare dystopian vision’ can convey. Before we offer an analysis of the novel’s themes and origins, let’s briefly recap the plot.

Nineteen Eighty-Four : plot summary

In the year 1984, Britain has been renamed Airstrip One and is a province of Oceania, a vast totalitarian superstate ruled by ‘the Party’, whose politics are described as Ingsoc (‘English Socialism’). Big Brother is the leader of the Party, which keeps its citizens in a perpetual state of fear and submission through a variety of means.

Surveillance is a key part of the novel’s world, with hidden microphones (which are found in the countryside as well as urban areas, and can identify not only what is said but also who says it) and two-way telescreen monitors being used to root out any dissidents, who disappear from society with all trace of their existence wiped out.

They become, in the language of Newspeak (the language used by people in the novel), ‘unpersons’. People are short of food, perpetually on the brink of starvation, and going about in fear for their lives.

The novel’s setting is London, where Trafalgar Square has been renamed Victory Square and the statue of Horatio Nelson atop Nelson’s Column has been replaced by one of Big Brother. Through such touches, Orwell defamiliarises the London of the 1940s which the original readers would have recognised, showing how the London they know might be transformed under a totalitarian regime.

The novel’s protagonist is Winston Smith, who works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting historical records so they are consistent with the state’s latest version of history. However, even though his day job involves doing the work of the Party, Winston longs to escape the oppressive control of the Party, hoping for a rebellion.

Winston meets the owner of an antique shop named Mr Charrington, from whom he buys a diary in which he can record his true feelings towards the Party. Believing the working-class ‘proles’ are the key to a revolution, Winston visits them, but is disappointed to find them wholly lacking in any political understanding.

Meanwhile, hearing of the existence of an underground resistance movement known as the Brotherhood – which has been formed by the rival of Big Brother, a man named Emmanuel Goldstein – Winston suspects that O’Brien, who also works with him, is involved with this resistance.

At lunch with another colleague, named Syme, Winston learns that the English language is being rewritten as Newspeak so as to control and influence people’s thought, the idea being that if the word for an idea doesn’t exist in the language, people will be unable to think about it.

Winston meets a woman named Julia who works for the Ministry of Truth, maintaining novel-writing machines, but believes she is a Party spy sent to watch him. But then Julia passes a clandestine love message to him and the two begin an affair – which is itself illicit since the Party decrees that sex is for reproduction alone, rather than pleasure.

We gradually learn more about Winston’s past, including his marriage to Katherine, from whom he is now separated. Syme, who had been working on Newspeak, disappears in mysterious circumstances: something Winston had predicted.

O’Brien invites Winston to his flat, declaring himself – as Winston had also predicted – a member of the Brotherhood, the resistance against the Party. He gives Winston a copy of the book written by Goldstein, the leader of the Brotherhood.

When Oceania’s enemy changes during the ritual Hate Week, Winston is tasked with making further historical revisions to old newspapers and documents to reflect this change.

Meanwhile, Winston and Julia secretly read Goldstein’s book, which explains how the Party maintains its totalitarian power. As Winston had suspected, the secret to overthrowing the Party lies in the vast mass of the population known as the ‘proles’ (derived from ‘proletarian’, Marx’s term for the working classes). It argues that the Party can be overthrown if proles rise up against it.

But shortly after this, Winston and Julia are arrested, having been shopped to the authorities by Mr Charrington (whose flat above his shop they had been using for their illicit meetings). It turns out that both he and O’Brien work for the Thought Police, on behalf of the Party.

At the Ministry of Love, O’Brien tells Winston that Goldstein’s book was actually written by him and other Party members, and that the Brotherhood may not even exist. Winston endures torture and starvation in an attempt to grind him down so he will accept Big Brother.

In Room 101, a room in which a prisoner is exposed to their greatest fear, Winston is placed in front of a wire cage containing rats, which he fears above all else. Winston betrays Julia, wishing she could take his place and endure this suffering instead.

His reprogramming complete, Winston is allowed to go free, but he is essentially living under a death sentence: he knows that one day he will be summoned by the authorities and shot for his former treachery.

He meets Julia one day, and learns that she was subjected to torture at the Ministry of Love as well. They have both betrayed each other, and part ways. The novel ends with Winston accepting, after all, that the Party has won and that ‘he loved Big Brother.’

Nineteen Eighty-Four : analysis

Nineteen Eighty-Four is probably the most famous novel about totalitarianism, and about the dangers of allowing a one-party state where democracy, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and even freedom of thought are all outlawed. The novel is often analysed as a warning about the dangers of allowing a creeping totalitarianism into Britain, after the horrors of such regimes in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and elsewhere had been witnessed.

Because of this quality of the book, it is often called ‘prophetic’ and a ‘nightmare vision of the future’, among other things.

However, books set in the future are rarely simply about the future. They are not mere speculation, but are grounded in the circumstances in which they were written.

Indeed, we might go so far as to say that most dystopian novels, whilst nominally set in an imagined future, are really using their future setting to reflect on what are already firmly established social or political ideas. In the case of Orwell and Nineteen Eighty-Four , this means the novel reflects the London of the 1940s.

By the time he came to write the novel, Orwell already had a long-standing interest in using his writing to highlight the horrors of totalitarianism around the world, especially following his experience fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. As Orwell put it in his essay ‘ Why I Write ’, all of his serious work written since 1936 was written ‘ against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism’.

In his analysis of Nineteen Eighty-Four in his study of Orwell, George Orwell (Reader’s Guides) , Jeffrey Meyers argues convincingly that, rather than being a nightmare vision of the future, a prophetic or speculative work, Orwell’s novel is actually a ‘realistic synthesis and rearrangement of familiar materials’ – indeed, as much of Orwell’s best work is.

His talent lay not in original imaginative thinking but in clear-headed critical analysis of things as they are: his essays are a prime example of this. Nineteen Eighty-Four is, in Meyer’s words, ‘realistic rather than fantastic’.

Indeed, Orwell himself stated that although the novel was ‘in a sense a fantasy’, it is written in the form of the naturalistic novel, with its themes and ideas having been already ‘partly realised in Communism and fascism’. Orwell’s intention, as stated by Orwell himself, was to take the totalitarian ideas that had ‘taken root’ in the minds of intellectuals all over Europe, and draw them out ‘to their logical consequences’.

Like much classic speculative fiction – the novels and stories of J. G. Ballard offer another example – the futuristic vision of the author is more a reflection of contemporary anxieties and concerns. Meyers goes so far as to argue that Nineteen Eighty-Four is actually the political regimes of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia ‘transposed’ into London of the early 1940s, during the Second World War.

Certainly, many of the most famous features of Nineteen Eighty-Four were suggested to Orwell by his time working at the BBC in London in the first half of the 1940s: it is well-known that the Ministry of Truth was based on the bureaucratic BBC with its propaganda department, while the infamous Room 101 was supposedly named after a room of that number in the BBC building, in which Orwell had to endure tedious meetings.

The technology of the novel, too, was familiar by the 1940s, involving little innovation or leaps of imagination from Orwell (‘telescreens’ being a natural extension of the television set: BBC TV had been established in 1936, although the Second World War pushed back its development somewhat).

Orwell learned much about the workings of Stalinism from reading Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed (1937), written by one of the leading figures in the Russian Revolution of 1917 who saw Stalinist Russia as the antithesis of what Trotsky, Lenin, and those early revolutionaries had been striving to achieve. (This would also be important for Orwell’s Animal Farm , of course.)

And indeed, many of the details surrounding censorship – the rewriting of history, the suppression of dissident literature, the control of the language people use to express themselves and even to think in – were also derived from Orwell’s reading of life in Soviet Russia. Surveillance was also a key element of the Stalinist regime, as in other Communist countries in Europe.

The moustachioed figure of Big Brother in Nineteen Eighty-Four recalls nobody so much as Josef Stalin himself. Not only the ideas of ‘thought crime’ and ‘thought police’, but even the terms themselves, predate Orwell’s use of them: they were first recorded in a 1934 book about Japan.

One of the key questions Winston asks himself in Nineteen Eighty-Four is what the Party is trying to achieve. O’Brien’s answer is simple: the maintaining of power for its own sake. Many human beings want to control other human beings, and they can persuade a worrying number of people to go along with their plans and even actively support them.

Despite the fact that they are starving and living a miserable life, many of the people in Airstrip One love Big Brother, viewing him not as a tyrannical dictator but as their ‘Saviour’ (as one woman calls him). Again, this detail was taken from accounts of Stalin, who was revered by many Russians even though they were often living a wretched life under his rule.

Another key theme of Orwell’s novel is the relationship between language and thought. In our era of fake news and corrupt media, this has only become even more pronounced: if you lie to a population and confuse them enough, you can control them. O’Brien introduces Winston to the work of the traitor to the Party, Emmanuel Goldstein, only to tell him later that Goldstein may not exist and his book was actually written by the Party.

Is this the lie, or was the book the lie? One of the most famous lines from the novel is Winston’s note to himself in his diary: ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.’

But later, O’Brien will force Winston to ‘admit’ that two plus two can make five. Orwell tells us, ‘The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.’

Or as Voltaire once wrote, ‘Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust.’ Forcing somebody to utter blatant falsehoods is a powerful psychological tool for totalitarian regimes because through doing so, they have chipped away at your moral and intellectual integrity.

4 thoughts on “A Summary and Analysis of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four”

1984 is a novel which is great in spite of itself and has been lionised for the wrong reasons. The title of the novel is a simple anagram of 1948, the date when the novel was written, and was driven by Orwell’s paranoia about the 1945 Labour government in UK. Orwell, a public school man, had built a reputation for hiself in the nineteen thirties as a socialist writer, and had fought for socialism in the Spanish civil war. The Road To Wigan Pier is an excellent polemic attacking the way the UK government was handling the mass unemployment of the time, reducing workers to a state of near starvation. In Homage To Catalonia, Orwell describes his experiences fighting with a small Marxist militia against Franco’s fascists. It was in Spain that Orwell developed his lifelong hatred of Stalinism, observing that the Communist contingents were more interested in suppressing other left-wing factions than in defeating Franco. The 1945 Labour government ws Britain’s first democratically elected socialist governement. It successfully established the welfare state and the National Health Service in a country almost bankrupted by the war, and despite the fact that Truman in USA was demanding the punctual repayment of wartime loans. Instead of rejoicing, Orwell, by now terminally ill from tuberculosis, saw the necessary continuation of wartime austerity and rationing as a deliberate and unnecessary imposition. Consequently, the book is often used as propaganda against socialism. The virtues of the book are the warnings about the dangers of giving the state too much power, in the form of electronic surveillance, ehanced police powers, intrusive laws, and the insidious use of political propaganda to warp peoples’ thinking. All of this has come to pass in the West as well as the East, but because of the overtly anticommunist spin to Orwell’s novel, most people fail to get its important message..

As with other work here, another good review. I’m also fascinated that Orwell located the government as prime problem, whereas Huxley located the people as prime problem, two sides of the same coin.

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1984 language essay

Common Module State-Rank Essay Showcase: Nineteen Eighty-Four

The following essay was written by Project Academy English Tutor, Marko Beocanin

Marko Beocanin

Marko Beocanin

99.95 ATAR & 3 x State Ranker

The following essay was written by Project Academy English Teacher, Marko Beocanin.

Marko’s Achievements:

  • 8th in NSW for English Advanced (98/100)
  • Rank 1 in English Advanced, Extension 1 and Extension 2
  • School Captain of Normanhurst Boys High School

Marko kindly agreed to share his essay and thorough annotations to help demystify for HSC students what comprises an upper Band 6 response!

Common Module: Nineteen Eighty-Four Essay Question

Marko’s following essay was written in response to the question:

“The representation of human experiences makes us more aware of the intricate nature of humanity.” In your response, discuss this statement with detailed reference to George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’.

State-Ranking Common Module Essay Response

George Orwell’s 1949 Swiftian satire Nineteen Eighty-Four invites us to appreciate the intricate nature of humanity by representing how the abuse of power by totalitarian governments degrades our individual and collective experiences. (Link to rubric through individual/collective experiences, and a clear cause and effect argument: totalitarian governance -> degraded human experience. Also, comments on the genre of Swiftian satire. Value!) Orwell explores how oppressive authorities suppress the intricate societal pillars of culture, expression and freedom to maintain power. He then reveals how this suppression brutalises individual human behaviour and motivations because it undermines emotion and intricate thought. (Link to rubric through ‘human behaviour and motivations’, and extended cause and effect in which the first paragraph explores the collective ‘cause’ and the second paragraph explores the individual ‘effect’. This is an easy way to structure your arguments whilst continuously engaging with the rubric!) Ultimately, he argues that we must resist the political apathy that enables oppressive governments to maintain power and crush human intricacy. Therefore, his representation of human experiences not only challenges us to consider the intricate nature of humanity, but exhorts us to greater political vigilance so we can preserve it. (Concluding sentence that broadens the scope of the question and reaffirms the purpose of the text).

Orwell makes us aware of the intricate nature of humanity by representing how totalitarian authorities suppress intricate collective experiences of culture, expression and freedom in order to assert control. (This is the ‘collective’ paragraph – a cause and effect argument that relates the question to the loss of human intricacy in the collective as a result of totalitarian rule). His bleak vision was informed by Stalin’s USSR: a regime built upon the fabrication of history in Stalin’s ‘cult of personality’, and ruthlessly enforced by the NKVD. (Specific context – an actual specific regime is named and some details about its enforcement are given). The symbolic colourlessness and propaganda-poster motif he uses to describe London reflects the loss of human intricacy and culture under such leadership: “there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere.” (First example sets up the world of the text, and the degraded collective experience). Orwell uses the telescreens, dramatically capitalised “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” posters and allusions to Stalin in Big Brother’s “black-moustachio’d face” as metonyms for how governmental surveillance dominates both physical and cultural collective experiences. Winston’s metatextual construction of the fictitious “Comrade Ogilvy” serves as a symbol for the vast, worthless masses of information produced by totalitarian governments to undermine the intricacy of real human history: “Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed…would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.” Similarly, Orwell’s satirical representation of Newspeak ignites the idea that political slovenliness causes self-expression to degrade, which in turn destroys our capacity for intricate thought and resistance: “we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” (The examples above prove that the government’s leadership style truly is totalitarian, and that it results in a loss of intricacy and ‘humanity’ in the collective. It’s good to cover a variety of examples that explore different facets of the collective – for example, the first example establishes the extreme surveillance, the second example establishes the loss of ‘truth’/history, and the third example establishes the loss of language). The political bitterness that marks Nineteen Eighty-Four as a Swiftian satire (This is a link to the ‘Swiftian’ term used in the thesis statement. It’s important to refer back to any descriptive terms you use in your thesis) ultimately culminates in O’Brien’s monologue, where Orwell juxtaposes the politicised verb “abolish” to symbols of human intricacy, “we shall abolish the orgasm…there will be no art, no literature, no science…when we are omnipotent”, to express how totalitarian rulers suppress collective experiences to gain metaphoric omnipotence. Thus, Orwell makes us aware of the intricate nature of humanity by representing a future in which totalitarian governments suppress it. (A linking sentence that ties it all back to the question and rephrases the point)

Orwell then argues that the effect of this suppression is a loss of human intricacy that brutalises society and devalues individual experiences. (Cause and effect argument that links collective suppression to a loss of human intricacy on an individual scale – continuous engagement with the question and the rubric!) Orwell’s exposure to the widespread hysteria of Hitler’s Nazi regime, caused by the Nuremberg Rallies and Joseph Goebbels’ virulent anti-semitic propaganda, informs his representation of Oceania’s dehumanised masses. (More specific context around the Nazis, and a specific link to how it informed his work) The burlesque Two Minute Hate reveals human inconsistency by representing how even introspective, intelligent characters can be stripped of their intricacy and compassion by the experience of collective hysteria: even Winston wishes to “flog [Julia] to death with a rubber truncheon…ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax”, and is only restored by compliance to the Christ-like totalitarian authority, “My-Saviour!”, Big Brother. (A link to the rubric with the ‘human inconsistency’ point) Orwell frequently juxtaposes dehumanising representations of the proles, “the proles are not human beings”, to political sloganism: “As the Party slogan put it: ‘Proles and animals are free’”, to argue that in such a collectively suppressed society, the upper class grow insensitive towards the intricate nature of those less privileged. (It’s important to link the proles into your argument – they’re often forgotten, but they’re a big part of the text!) He asserts that this loss of empathy degrades the authenticity and intricacy of human relationships, characterised by Winson’s paradoxically hyperbolic repulsion towards his wife: “[Katharine] had without exception the most stupid, vulgar, empty mind that he had every encountered”. (Continuous engagement with the question and rubric: make sure to recycle rubric terms – here, done with ‘paradoxically’ – and question terms – here, with ‘intricacy’)  Winston’s “betrayal” of Julia symbolises how totalitarianism ultimately brutalises individuals by replacing their compassion for intricate ideals such as love with selfish pragmatism: “Do it to Julia…Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me!” Therefore, Orwell makes us more aware of the intricate nature of humanity by demonstrating how it can be robbed by suppressive governments and collective hysteria. (A linking sentence that sums up the paragraph).

By making us aware of how totalitarian governments suppress meaningful human experiences both individually and collectively, Orwell challenges us to resist so we can preserve our intricate nature. (This third paragraph discusses Orwell’s purpose as a composer. This can in general be a helpful way to structure paragraphs: Collective, Individual, Purpose) Orwell’s service in the 1930s Spanish Civil War as part of the Republican militia fighting against fascist-supported rebels positions him to satirise the political apathy of his audience. (Integration of personal context is useful here to justify Orwell’s motivations. It’s also a lot fresher than just including another totalitarian regime Orwell was exposed to) Orwell alludes to this through the metaphor of Winston’s diarising as an anomalous individual experience of resistance, ““[Winston] was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear,” which highlights how his intricate nature persists even in a suppressive society. Often, Orwell meta-fictively addresses his own context, as “a time when thought is free…when truth exists”, to establish an imperative to preserve our intricate human nature while we still can. The Julia romance trope (It’s good to include terms such as ‘trope’ which reflect your understanding of narrative structure and the overall form of the work.) represents how Winston’s gradual rejection of his political apathy empowered him to experience an authentic, intricately human relationship that subverts his totalitarian society: “the gesture with which [Julia] had thrown her clothes aside…[belonged] to an ancient time. Winston woke up with the word ‘Shakespeare’ on his lips.” Orwell juxtaposes Julia’s sexuality to Shakespeare, an immediately-recognisable metonym for culture and history, to argue that human intricacy can only be restored by actively resisting the dehumanising influence of the government. Orwell also represents Winston’s desensitised and immediate devotion to the Brotherhood to reflect how the preservation of human intricacy is a cause worth rebelling for, even by paradoxically unjust means: “[Winston was] prepared to commit murder…acts of sabotage which may cause the deaths of hundreds of innocent people…throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face.” (More chronological examples that show Winston’s transformation throughout the text. It’s useful to explore and contrast those who resist with those who don’t resist, and how just the act of resistance in some way restores our humanity! That’s why this paragraph comes after the ‘brutalised individual experience’ paragraph) However, Orwell ultimately asserts that it is too late for Winston to meaningfully restore humanity’s intricate nature, and concludes the text with his symbolic death and acceptance of the regime, “[Winston] had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” (It’s important to remember that Orwell ends the text so miserably so that he can motivate his audiences not to do the same thing). The futility of this ending ignites the idea that we must not only be aware of our intricate nature, but must actively resist oppressive governments while we still can in order to preserve it. (A linking sentence that ties the paragraph together and justifies the futility of the ending)

Therefore, Orwell’s representation of human experiences in Nineteen Eighty-Four encourages us to reflect personally on our own intricate human nature, and challenges us to fight to preserve it. (Engages with the question (through the reflection point), and includes Orwell’s purpose as a composer). His depiction of a totalitarian government’s unchecked assertion of power on human culture and freedom, and the brutalising impact this has on individual and collective experiences, ultimately galvanises us to reject political apathy. (Your argument summaries can often be combined into a sentence or two in the conclusion now that the marker knows what you’re talking about. This reinforces the cause and effect structure as well.) Thus, the role of storytelling for Orwell is not only to make us more aware of our intricate nature, but to prove that we must actively resist oppressive governments while we still can in order to preserve it. (The clincher! It’s often useful to add “not only” in your final sentence to reinforce the massive scope of the text)

If reading this essay has helped you, you may also enjoy reading Marko’s ultimate guide to writing 20/20 HSC English essays .

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1984 language essay

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1984 language essay

Show More In the country of Oceania in the novel 1984 by George Orwell, the Party is in control of almost everyone and everything. The Party maintains total control of Oceania in many ways including spying, inducing fear, torture, changing the past and most importantly, controlling language. The control of language results in the control of thought which is the ultimate form of power. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania in which all the citizens spoke as well as wrote in. If you were to speak outside of this language you would be reported to the thought police for thoughtcrime. Anyone who said anything to contradict the Party or even looked like they had thoughts that did not match those of the Party’s, they would be reported to the thought …show more content… Syme works with Winston at the Ministry of Truth and he specializes specifically in language. He is in charge of writing the tenth edition of the Newspeak Dictionary. Winston knows that Syme is in danger because of how smart he is and the way he speaks and expresses his opinions. Syme sees what Newspeak and language in Oceania are coming to and the dangers of it. “Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end, we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten" (Orwell 67). Syme recognizes the danger of Newspeak and what is going to happen if it continues to decrease and decrease to a point where there are only a certain small amount of words everyone knows and uses to speak and think. Therefore, there will be no such thing as Thoughtcrime because there would be no words to form anything against the Party and every citizen would not be able to think radical thoughts because there would be no words anyone knew to form them. This is a very dangerous thing to say because the Party is trying to do this in a way where no one notices including, Syme, the person editing the Newspeak

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1984 Figurative Language Essay

“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say” -Italo Calvino. According to (dictionary. com) a classic is a book that is “something noteworthy of its kind and worth remembering”. There are multiple definitions of what a classic is but all of them say that the book still needs to be remembered for a long time after being finished. The book 1984 by George Orwell is a classic book when analyzing the symbolism and figurative language used throughout the book.

Symbolism is used throughout the whole book, 1984. Symbolism is when the writer of a story makes an object/character/place/etc. e one thing and mean another. Most of the characters all symbolize something because of the way that they have been created and they are used throughout the whole novel. For example Winston’s mother even though she only appeared few times through the book symbolizes simpler, happier times for Winston. In the book it shows Winston happier with his mom when it said “His mother’s memory tore at his heart because she had died loving him, when he was too young and selfish to love her in return, and because somehow, he did not remember how, she had sacrificed herself to a conception of loyalty”(Orwell 38).

Another popular one that is used throughout the whole book would be The Party. The Party symbolizes a few different things. Appearing many times in the book, they act reassuring and trustworthy and most people are confronted by that but, for criminals and those who are suspicious of his actions, they are their biggest enemy and threat . The party represents how our government could turn out one day having him be the president and the patrols be the members of the government. ”’As soon as I saw you I knew you were against THEM. THEM, it appeared, meant the Party, and above all the Inner Party, about whom she talked with an open jeering hatred”(Orwell 154) This shows that The Party pretty much ruled over everyone else but, there were a few who objected and went against it symbolizing how our government is now. Another one that is a popular use for symbolism is Emmanuel Goldstein. Goldstein is a symbol for those that go against The Party that there is something to fight for. Today Goldstein would be like the people that go against the government because of their beliefs or for other reasons.

It is never said if Goldstein is actually real or not but, whenever anything in the book goes wrong Goldstein is blamed so people don’t think it’s The Party’s fault. “Goldstein and his heresies will live for ever . Every day, at every moment, they will be defeated, discredited, ridiculed, spat upon and yet they will always survive . ”(Orwell 338) This shows that Goldstein, real or not, will always have followers to go against The Party and Big Brother . While symbolism was used periodically throughout the book, so is figurative language . Figurative language is used many times throughout the book.

Figurative language can be thought of in many different ways because there are innumerable different kinds such as metaphor, simile, imagery, etc. All of the above are used in 1984, only a few examples will be given to show how important it is to have them in there. In the beginning of the book, Winston was writing in his diary what he perceived at the time. He was worked up so he wrote “theyll shoot me i don’t care theyll shoot me in the back of the neck i dont care down with big brother they always shoot you in the back of the neck i dont care down with big brother”(Orwell 24-25).

Winston didn’t actually mean for that to be taken literally and he exaggerated from what The Party would actually do to him, making the statement a hyperbole. If it were taken out of the book and make literal instead of an exaggeration, then it would not be as dramatic and it wouldn’t show as good how scary The party can be. In the middle of the book, Winston was remembering what his past and how his sister acted when he had shouted and wouldn’t give her back the chocolate that was rightfully hers. He said that”His tiny sister, clinging to her mother with both hands, exactly like a baby monkey,” (Orwell 205).

Since he used the word like to correlate his sister and a monkey, this is a simile. It benefits the book because it gives the reader an image on how his sister looked, grasping their mother. It would’ve taken away from the book had it not been there. At the end of the book, Winston was reflecting on the day that he saw Julia for the first time in months . He said that “It was in the Park, on a vile, biting day in March, when the earth was like iron and all the grass seemed dead and there was not a bud anywhere except a few crocuses which had pushed themselves up to be dismembered by the wind. ” (Orwell 367).

Winston made it so that everybody could apprehend that he no longer loved Julia and he regretted seeing her that day. He used imagery to describe it and it really helps in this situation so that everybody can see he really isn’t in love with Julia anymore. It’s obvious that figurative language is used periodically throughout the book but, the symbolism and figurative language that were used make it to be considered a classic. 1984 is considered a classic when analyzing the symbolism used throughout the book. With symbolism, each character used through the book symbolizes something different and important.

Most classics have characters that have meaning behind the reason as to creating them. Classics also have ways that it can be connected with the world today or how it could be and will make people think. As said in (The Write Practice) “Some of the older classics cannot function without their symbolism. ” The party is a great example of this. As said before, The Party symbolizes how the government is now and how in the future it could get negligent. According to (USA GOV) “The judicial branch interprets the meaning of laws, applies laws to individual cases, and decides if laws violate the Constitution. In the book it runs reasonably the same and the party is in charge of the entirety and determines the way the town should be run along with punishments for concepts that go amiss. In the book it says that “we, the party, control all records, and we control all memories, then we control the past” (Orwell 313-314). The world today is not too far off seeing as the party runs pretty close to the way the judicial branch does. As said prior, Goldstein is like the people that take a stand against the government.

There are a bounteous amount of people that don’t agree with anything the government does and always has something to say opposing them. President Obama’s progressive policies and the tough economic times have inflamed anti-government anger, the same vein of rage into which Donald Trump has tapped during his Republican presidential campaign” (The Washington Post). These people are going against the government just like Goldstein and his men did. Later in the book, Winston’s mom makes people consider what life must have been for them before The Party took over. Winston loved his mother and couldn’t remember much but, what he could remember was good memories and he cherished them.

It makes people think about life as a kid and that they should hold onto that while they can. Symbolism is important and used through the whole book but, so is figurative language. The figurative language that is used through the whole book helps support how it is a classic novel . Figurative language is used in lots of classic novels and it helps shape the novel. “Figurative language is everywhere, from classical works like Shakespeare or the Bible, to everyday speech, pop music and television commercials”(english club).

Figurative language uses many different methods to help shape the novel and make it into a better book. In 1984, figurative language helps the setting to help improve the novel and make it a better book. George Orwell uses a lot of different types of figurative language to help describe the setting of places that Winston is at in the book. For example, in the beginning of the book when Winston is walking around town and describing it he starts to describe a poster of Big Brother and he says “It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. (Orwell 3). What he says is enough to give one the creeps but, it tells everybody that it is a very chilling poster, Big Brother is not a pleasant person, and tells about how Winston is creeped out where he is. This is a great example of personification that was used because a pictures eyes can’t actually follow Winston but, there are some pictures that are creepy enough to make it seem that way.

Another example is in the book, in the beginning Winston is describing how the patrols watch what people do all the time and he says “In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. ” (Orwell 4). He uses a simile to help describe how it is normal in his town to see helicopters flying around. This helps to make it a classic because classics will be able to paint a picture of what is going on in people’s minds. Figurative language helps to paint the picture in their minds.

The book 1984 by George Orwell is very obviously a classic. There have been many examples as to what a classic is and 1984 fits all of them. Some big reasons for it to be a classic is because of the strategic ways that the figurative language and symbolism is used throughout the book. Not all classics will use these elements to the best or as strongly as others but, most will use them one way or another. 1984 will never be forgotten so, therefore it is easily a classic. Don’t be afraid to go a bit deeper to prove it.

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    As Orwell was writing 1984 in 1948, television was just emerging from the developmental hiatus forced upon the broadcasting industry by World War II. Many people were worried, in the late 1940s ...

  11. Newspeak in 1984 Explained

    George Orwell wrote a great deal about language, including his essay "Politics and the English Language," published in 1946. He also included an appendix at the back of 1984 that deals with the concepts of Newspeak. When writing about Newspeak, Orwell defined it in the appendix as:

  12. A+ Student Essay: Is Technology or Psychology More Effective in 1984?

    Of the many iconic phrases and ideas to emerge from Orwell's 1984, perhaps the most famous is the frightening political slogan "Big Brother is watching.". Many readers think of 1984 as a dystopia about a populace constantly monitored by technologically advanced rulers. Yet in truth, the technological tools pale in comparison to the ...

  13. 1984

    In 1984, language has the dual capacity to both restrain and facilitate individual expression. This is another key message that Orwell imparts, as he highlights how language can either promote or limit ideas which influence our beliefs, behaviour and identity. ... We can help you master your essay analysis of 1984 by taking you through the ...

  14. Orwell's 1984: A+ Student Essay Examples

    Open your essay by discussing George Orwell's "1984" as a prophetic warning against totalitarianism and government surveillance. Explore how the novel's themes are eerily relevant in today's world. The Orwellian Language Hook. Delve into the concept of Newspeak in "1984" and its parallels to modern language manipulation.

  15. A Summary and Analysis of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

    They become, in the language of Newspeak (the language used by people in the novel), 'unpersons'. People are short of food, perpetually on the brink of starvation, and going about in fear for their lives. ... As Orwell put it in his essay ... 1984 is a novel which is great in spite of itself and has been lionised for the wrong reasons. The ...

  16. On Double-think and Newspeak: Orwell's Language

    The control of semantics has been presented as a new language called, "Newspeak" giving meaning to new, unscrupulous words such as, "Doublethink," which carries several definitions such as complete mental submission to the party. The role of language in 1984 defines themes of control and the decision to rebel or surrender in a dystopian ...

  17. Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Nineteen Eighty-Four (also published as 1984) is a dystopian novel and cautionary tale by English writer George Orwell.It was published on 8 June 1949 by Secker & Warburg as Orwell's ninth and final book completed in his lifetime. Thematically, it centres on the consequences of totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and repressive regimentation of people and behaviours within society.

  18. 1984 Political Language Essay Essay

    1984 Political Language Essay "Political language [… ] is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. " In George Orwell's novel, 1984 and his essay "Politics and the English Language" there is a clear connection between politics, language, and expressing the truth

  19. The Power of Language 1984 Comparison Essay

    Better Essays. 1525 Words. 7 Pages. Open Document. 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 ...

  20. Common Module State-Rank Essay Showcase: Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Common Module: Nineteen Eighty-Four Essay Question. Marko's following essay was written in response to the question: "The representation of human experiences makes us more aware of the intricate nature of humanity.". In your response, discuss this statement with detailed reference to George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'.

  21. "1984" George Orwell: Quote Analysis: [Essay Example], 620 words

    George Orwell's 1984 is a dystopian novel that has become a classic in literature and a timeless warning against totalitarianism. One of the most famous quotes from the novel is, "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." This quote captures the essence of the Party's manipulation of language and propaganda to control the thoughts and actions of the citizens of Oceania.

  22. 1984 Language Essay

    1984 Language Essay. Great Essays. 1703 Words; 7 Pages; Open Document. Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. Show More. In the country of Oceania in the novel 1984 by George Orwell, the Party is in control of almost everyone and everything. The Party maintains total control of Oceania in many ways including spying, inducing fear, torture ...

  23. 1984 Figurative Language Essay

    Figurative language helps to paint the picture in their minds. The book 1984 by George Orwell is very obviously a classic. There have been many examples as to what a classic is and 1984 fits all of them. Some big reasons for it to be a classic is because of the strategic ways that the figurative language and symbolism is used throughout the book.