The Power of Language 1984 Comparison Essay

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Pages: 7

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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He was told to rewrite papers, books, and posters and to change them to something that would better suit the Party’s interests at the time. Orwell described this process “ Day by day 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 stay on record.” (42) In this quote Orwell demonstrates the dangers associated with the abuse of language. Writing is a tool that is supposed to open and clear the mind, but when the language is used to do the opposite the consequences can be severe. Using language as a tool to secure power is a scary thought, especially when it blurs the lines between reality and fiction. By getting the Party to alter the past in 1984 Orwell is warning of the potential consequences that could arise when language is misused to alter consciousness and shape reality. In Politics and the English Language Orwell warns of the potential danger of a more dense population due to the decline of language. He claims that English is currently being “abused” and forgetting that all people are different and that everything changes with time, even language itself. Orwell goes onto state “A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least