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Lessons Learned From 1984 Essay

967 words - 4 pages

As I began thinking about this paper, I wondered why am I still required to take English? Each subject seems to have a direct connection to my daily life. Science allows me to understand the way the physical world works through qualitative analysis, and mathematics provides the tools required to quantitatively understand the physical world. The social sciences give me the opportunity to look at the past to learn from the mistakes of others and garner an understanding of the social world works. Finally, a foreign language allows me to communicate in the international community and learn about the cultures of the world. However, English does seem to be the exception after junior high school, most students have a strong enough grasp of the English language to read and write technical papers, memos, and communicate with others. Consequently, what is the purpose of studying English in high school and college? In the book 1984 by George Orwell, we see a situation where the government is using a language where every idea is only expressible with one word to control the population. This population is unable to rebel due to the fact that they are not able to effectively spread ideas through language.
One of the major activities that the corrupt government in 1984 catalyzes is the change from the English language to “Newspeak,” a language where, as one of the characters puts it, “every concept … will be conveyed by exactly one word” (52). This core motivation behind “Newspeak” is to remove all words from the English language that could be used to subvert or energize a population. The vocabulary that they are leaving would be similar to having our education in English end at the end of junior high school. This limited vocabulary contains the English language to the words required to function on a day-to-day basis. To emphasize this point, “Newspeak” words are divided into three different categories. The first category is just words that are used for basic actions, such as eating and drinking. The second category is for slightly more complicated words and the third category is for technical words. However, none of these categories have more than a few adjectives and adverbs in order to limit the methods of expression. The extent of the changes is not apparent until the reader sees the motto of the nation, “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” (5). These statements show that the language that they are using has corrupted the meaning of words that are essential to free nations.
Conversely, in our society, most of the material that catalyzed social change came from great authors, poets, orators, and politicians. Recently President Barack Obama used his powerful speeches to mobilize a large potion of the country, getting more people than ever to show interest in the political system. He used the...

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