Power, Truth and Oceania Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

The novel 1984 demonstrates, the use of language by totalitarian societies to restrict and control its’ citizens, and ultimately the resulting imposed ignorance that proves to be its’ citizens downfall. For instance, in the novel 1984 the Party uses Newspeak, a highly censored language to control what it’s citizens know and can speak about. Newspeak is constantly evolving and being censored to fit the wants and ideals of the Party as Syme reveals to Winston, ‘’Even the literature of the Party will change.

Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like ‘freedom is slavery’ when the concept of freedom has been abolished…Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness”’ (Orwell 53). Oceania is full of loyal and obedient citizens who lives are very similar to those of machines without any natural passions or personal inclinations, only thinking of what the Party wants them to.

As their ability to discuss important matters is destroyed, they lose their ability to see the discrepancy between truth and falsehood.

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Without the ability to distinguish fact from lies the citizens willingly become instruments to be used in their own oppression. “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” (Orwell, 1984 53). If control of language is centralized in a political agency, such an agency can alter the very structure of language to make it impossible to even conceive of disobedient or rebellious thoughts By design, Newspeak narrows the range of thought and shortens people’s memories.

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It is therefore ideal for a totalitarian system, in which the government has to rely on a passive public which lacks independent thought and which has a great tolerance for mistakes, both past and present.

Furthermore the Party consistently edits Newspeak to change the words and ideologies of important writers to fit their ideals, “A good deal of the literature of the past was, indeed, already being transformed in this way. Considerations of prestige made it desirable to The idea of the power over people’s minds by means of intentionally changed and destroyed information and documents about historical events. Each individual and the future generations are supposed to get to know only what suits the Party’s policy” (Orwell, 1984 299). By intentionally changing and destroying information and documents about historical events, individuals only get to know what suits the Party’s policy. When everyone believes no change has happened the infallibility of the Party is reassured; for a change in one’s mind is a confession of weakness. The people of Oceania forget the truths of history and only remember the present, further consolidating the Party’s power.


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