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March 25, 2008

EL 336 - Orwell part 1 & 2

"Dont 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 will ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidary meanings rubbed out and forgotten." ( Orwell p. 46)

I read somewhere that language was one of the major themes Orwell used in this book. I felt this quote showed how strong language/ the spooken word can be politically. How important it is to the well being of a society. Imagine having a language that did not grow and become inventive, but did the opposite as newspeak was meant to do. Newspeak was meant have less and less words in it to stop people from thinking against Big Brother. This is just another form of political propaganda, yet it is eye opening that it can be reached orally. Language is a took both normal people and the heads of society can use for or against good. It can control actions.

Posted by RachelPrichard at March 25, 2008 12:30 PM


They definitely used the restriction of language as a way to control their people, amongst other things.
With the citizens knowing less, they would remain at the same levels as the others. I think 1984 is such a scary, but awesome book. It is a look into what the future possibly holds. Orwell was way before his time. I was also drawn to the 'backwoods' sort of language used as well.

Posted by: Jeremy Barrick at March 26, 2008 11:13 AM

This was the most interesting part of the book for me. You ever have a thought in your head and try to vocalize it, only you can't think of the words? The idea dies, not on purpose but because we simply can't remember.

Newspeak is indirect mind-controll. If there were computer chips planted in the heads of the people, they'd probably notice. The worst thing about Newspeak is that the people are oblivious (except for a few)to the tighter hold Big Brother is forming around their minds.

The Proles are to be feared because their independent thoughts are free, unrestricted. Contact with Proles is undesired by Big Brother because they might remind Party members of ideas that had been quashed.

does anyone have "the principles of Newspeak" in the back of their book?

Posted by: Daniella Choynowski at March 26, 2008 8:22 PM

There are some excerpts from the Newspeak section online, if your copy doesn't include the appendix.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 26, 2008 9:43 PM

You make a good point, Rachel, and you reminded me of a thought that came to mind as I was reading this passage.

I was wondering how long it took for our vocabulary to expand to its current size, and I figured that it was probably limited in oral culture to aid memorization. If that's the case, it would be interesting to study the rise of a larger vocabulary as manuscript, print, and digital cultures dominated language.

Especially thanks to language's constant state of flux in digital culture, new words are invented all the time.

Posted by: ChrisU at March 27, 2008 8:43 AM

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