Manipulation of history and language in three dystopias

Ersoy, Duygu
In this study, the manipulations of history and language in the dystopias of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell, “We” by Yevgeni Zamyatin and “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley are examined. The principal aim of this investigation is to demonstrate that in these imaginary societies absolute stability is achieved through the manipulations of these two domains. The thesis argues that if the domains of history and language are not taken under control, they are to provide the subjects with the standard of comparisons which would enable them to realize that they are in fact dominated. However, once these domains are manipulated, they are transformed into the means of the dystopian rulers for mentally impoverishing people in a way that they would not be capable of conceiving the flaws within the system and therefore, would not attempt to challenge the order or require a change. In this sense, it is proposed that the subjects of these closed societies, who are formed as a result of the reshaping of history and language, would lack the mental capabilities to identify their subjection and behave automatically in the manner that is imposed on them by the political order. Moreover, in this study, the relationship of the genre dystopia with political theory is explored; it is indicated that dystopias are not only literary works, but rather they are also texts of social criticism containing certain warnings about the future course of events. Relying on this argument, it is claimed that such an invasion of the minds by the control over history and language in our three dystopias is the exaggerated version of the ideological relationships of the individuals to these two realms in the contemporary societies. Thus, having in mind that in the dystopias examined here the manipulations of history and language are the preconditions of the use of other realms (such as religion, sexuality and science), it is concluded that these texts enable modern individuals to see that in order to maintain a critical distance with the established political and social order, the multiplicity of linguistic resources and knowledge of history are very crucial.


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Citation Formats
D. Ersoy, “Manipulation of history and language in three dystopias,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2006.