George Orwell's "1984" is a stark vision of a possible future where loyalty to leaders is demanded and our very thoughts are controlled. Learn this word list that focuses on Newspeak and Orwell's warning.
serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being
The version in use in 1984, and embodied in the Ninth and Tenth Editions of the Newspeak dictionary, was a provisional one, and contained many
superfluous words and archaic formations which were due to be suppressed later.
Compare this verb with the noun "diminution" in the list for Part 2: Chapters 6-10--both show the Party's goal of decreasing language, thought, and liberty. Both example sentences have an objective tone, but one is supposed to have been written by a rebel (when it was actually written by Inner Party members), while the other is presented as a historical and explanatory description of a living language (when it was invented by Orwell just for his novel).
Newspeak was designed 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.
a meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred
The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political
implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.
These words, necessarily few in number, had had their meanings extended until they contained within themselves whole batteries of words which, as they were sufficiently covered by a single
comprehensive term, could now be scrapped and forgotten.
inimical to Ingsoc could only be entertained in a vague wordless form, and could only be named in very broad terms which lumped together and condemned whole groups of heresies without defining them in doing so.
This and the following words and example sentences are from an Afterword written by Erich Fromm and published in 1961 (12 years after Orwell's 1984). The focus on despair and soullessness is a clue to Fromm's background in psychoanalysis. Its purpose of pointing out a warning for readers all over the world is a clue to Fromm's experience as a college professor.
George Orwell’s 1984 is the expression of a mood, and it is a warning. The mood it expresses is that of near
despair about the future of man, and the warning is that unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it.
clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
It is precisely the significance of Orwell’s book that it expresses the new mood of hopelessness which pervades our age before this mood has become
manifest and taken hold of the consciousness of people.
(philosophy) the doctrine that practical consequences are the criteria of knowledge and meaning and value
The position which Orwell attributes here to the power elite can be said to be an extreme form of philosophical idealism, but it is more to the point to recognize that the concept of truth and reality which exists in 1984 is an extreme form of
pragmatism in which truth becomes subordinated to the Party.
If the world of 1984 is going to be the dominant form of life on this globe, it will mean a world of madmen, and hence not a
viable world (Orwell indicates this very subtly by pointing to the mad gleam in the Party leader’s eyes).
On the contrary, it was quite obviously their intention to sound a warning by showing where we are headed for unless we succeed in a
renaissance of the spirit of humanism and dignity which is at the very roots of Occidental culture.
Orwell, as well as the two other authors, is simply implying that the new form of managerial industrialism, in which man builds machines which act like men and develops men who act like machines, is conducive to an era of dehumanization and complete
alienation, in which men are transformed into things and become appendices to the process of production and consumption.
existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
All three authors imply that this danger exists not only in communism of the Russian or Chinese versions, but that it is a danger
inherent in the modern mode of production and organization, and relatively independent of the various ideologies.
The hope can be realized only by recognizing, so 1984 teaches us, the danger with which all men are
confronted today, the danger of a society of automatons who will have lost every trace of individuality, of love, of critical thought, and yet who will not be aware of it because of “doublethink.”