Language and Style in 1984 by George Orwell


We are going to talk about the language and style used in 1984.We studied 3 different aspects of this; firstly we studied the language and style that Orwell wrote the book in; secondly at the language and style in which some of the characters at the different parts of society speak in; and to finishthe language created for the book: Newspeak.

I. George Orwell / Narrator¡¯s Language and Style

This novel is written in Orwell's typical style.That is to say in the 3rd person narrative and in a clear, lucid way.None of the words used in the novel are particularly complicated, this is due to two different things. Firstly, George Orwell was principally an essayist, he is considered to be one of the best English essayists of the 20th century, and he is known for his opinion that long words and complicated grammar structures are unnecessary for good prose. This meant that he preferred to write in a way that could be easily understood but was also very interesting. Moreover,there are very few examples of ¡°poetical¡± writing, that is to say figurative language such as metaphors or similes, which means that Orwell¡¯s ideas are presented as universal truths.

We can presume that Orwell wrote like this in order to make the book more accessible to the public and thus to be able to impose his opinions on as many people as possible. Secondly, as the story is told from Winston's point of view, we could hypothesise that the language and style used is the kind used by Winston when he thinks and talks. As well as its simplicity, neither the language nor style is particularly dated which helps the book to maintain its popularity.

TRANSITION: Next we are going to talk about the language and style of speaking used by the proles and the party members.The way the 2 main parts of the society in 1984 speak is very different and within the party itself we found 3 different types of speech belonging to the loyal outer party members, the party members who commit thoughtcrime and finally the inner party members.

II. Language and Style of Society

v Proles

The Proles speak using contractions and slang; they also have accents which could be seen as working class and don¡¯t use correct grammar; as can be seen on page 86: ¡°¡°¡°Yes,¡± I says to ¡®er, ¡°that¡¯s all very well,¡± I says. ¡°But if you¡¯d of been in my place you¡¯d of done the same as what I done.It¡¯s easy to criticise,¡± I says, ¡°but you ain¡¯t got the same problems as what I got.¡±¡±¡±.As well as this there are certain words such as ¡°guv¡¯nor¡± on page 87 which show the Proles to be working class and uneducated.

As well as this almost all the words used to describe the Proles are negative; for example: ¡°two monstrous women¡± and ¡°crudely lipsticked mouths¡± page 86.Winston, as the narrator, also speaks quite contemptuously of them when he talks about the songs they listen to saying ¡°drivelling song¡± on page 227.

The only time Winston ever speaks about them really positively is when he talks about the woman singing on page 227 where he says, ¡° she¡¯s beautiful¡±.However when he says this he means that she is beautiful because she is unaffected by the party, in a way she is innocent compared to the Party Members.From this we can see Winston¡¯s hate for the Party and also his nostalgia for the past.

So the main view given of the Proles is that they are completely hopeless and a horrible group of people which emphasises how unlikely Winston¡¯s dream of them revolting is.

v Loyal Outer Party Members

In contrast to the Proles, the loyal party members speak using correct English, the only words they use which could be considered as slang are words used as propaganda such as ¡°victory gin¡±.This shows that they are educated, at least compared to the proles.As well as this they refer to each other as ¡°comrade¡± and talk very positively about things to do with the party, there¡¯s an example on page 39: ¡°We don¡¯t all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the sailors on the Floating Fortresses!Just think what they have to put up with.¡±

All of this shows the Party¡¯s control over its members as they are all taught to speak the same way and to support the Party without.