Language

Table of contents

Choice of words

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian novel with a depressing ending, so it  contains a large number of words with negative meanings. This trend starts on the very first pages of the book, in which the weather is described as “cold” and “vile” (p. 3), while the city of London is “rotting” and “sordid” (p. 5).

The negative language reaches a new level in Part III of the book, when we get vivid descriptions of the torture Winston endures within the Ministry of Love. “Pain” is mentioned countless times (e.g. p. 257), while Winston’s attempts to resist are “desperate” and “agonising” (p. 259).

O’Brien’s dark speech about the future also contains a large number of negative words, such as “fear”, “treachery”, “torment” and “merciless” (p. 279), though O’Brien himself seem to regard them as positives - to Winston’s horror.

Occasionally positive words are used, mostly in connection with Winston and Julia’s secret meetings. In the countryside, Winston and Julia are “fascinated” while listening to the “astonishing” music of the birds, while Julia’s body is descri...

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