In the Dystopian fiction of Huxley and Orwell, language is a central function in their critique of utopias: societies formed in subservience to ideology. As ideas have been seen to usurp reality, then language is seen to overcome thought. Thus Dystopian fiction also articulates a very contemporary fear (which developed into Postmodernism) that language, although the very core structure of perception, is in the last analysis without absolute foundation. Once language is manipulated, then reality becomes fluid too: language, as the route to a dictatorship of consciousness, shows that he who controls the word, controls the world. Dystopian fiction takes this pairing of language and society in their controlled, Utopian forms, and uses it not only to question the consequences of ideological idealism, but to posit an even more worrying possibility about real society. Crucial to the concept of the Dystopian novel is the anti-hero.

Both Orwell and Huxley are careful to make their protagonists misfits. The physical weakness of Bernard is a direct analogue for the insipid, aging body of Winston. Both are given to solitary, socially marginalised (and hence secretive) pursuits. Bernard is treated with mistrust because he does not participate in the liberated sexual play.

In the more sinister society of Oceania, Winstons solitary pursuits are even more dangerous, such as when he slips out to walk among the Proles. Both feel the need to throw themselves into communal activities for the sake of appearances: Bernards hollow community Sing is parallel to Winston at the Two-Minutes Hate. This dislocation is not accidental: it acts as a way for the insanity of the Utopia to be defined, and a lost reality or veracity to be evoked. Both Orwell and Huxley create confidantes for their anti-heroes (Watson and Julia) who partially validate their dissent. It is also interesting that both writers introduce an element of objectifying externality via The Book and the critique of John the savage. However, both these are victim to a certain level of ambiguity: it becomes unclear whether the Brotherhood is real or a double-layered fiction of Mini luv, and the self-abnegating, solitary stoicism of John can hardly be endorsed as a viable alternative to the World State.

Both novels are closed with a fairly long passage of explication by authority figures (OBrien and Mustapha Mond) who help to contextualize and finally validate the suspicions of the anti-heroes, and yet paradoxically underline their futility. These novels construct a world where everybody believes a fiction, and the anti-heroes are isolated figures who still hold tentatively to a sense of reality. Hence, OBrien tells Winston if you are a man, Winston, you are the last man. Your kind is extinct [1], whilst Bernard suffered all his life from the consciousness of being separate. [2] The fictions of the World State and Oceania are propagated by language, and thus a lost veracity (of truth, of words, of communication) is entwined with a receding humanity.

Orwell is particularly skilled at evoking this sense of loss, through the frequent dreams of Winston, the motif of the photograph the momentous slip of paper [3] which could bring down the Party and the fragments of old English rhymes. Brave New World, achieves the same effect in rather more general terms; particularly through the contrast between the World State and the Savage Reservation. Huxley paints the challenging sacrifice that has been made: Stability isnt nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand. (Brave New World, p. 202) In stark terms, human emotion has been abolished and murder of an individual becomes a lesser crime than social unorthodoxy.

The effect is more shocking to the reader than it is to Bernard, who is still heavily conditioned. Nevertheless, in passages such as that when Bernard hovers above the English channel, or the extended montage sequence of Chapter, which intersperses Bernards weary cynicism with exultant history, a more elegiac feel is captured. As mentioned above, his forsaken humanity is clearly related to a perceived lack in language. Nineteen Eighty-Four contains the symbol of Winston trying to reconstruct the Cockney rhyme Oranges and Lemons. This striving calls to mind Watsons frustration as he struggles to articulate something his society has removed. In contrast to the pure uses of language is set the dominant paradigm of state propaganda.

Under Big Brothers rule every liberty is taken to twist language. This means not only straightforward lies and fabrications, which is the purpose of the Ministry of Truth, but anodyne mass-production culture and the reversal of meanings encapsulated in the Party slogans. These patterns are also found in Brave New World, which has a meaningless state motto, degraded propagandist culture (as created by Watson and exemplified by the largely non-linguistic feel ies) and an entire series of mindless hypnopaedic mantras and Ford isms. Bernards ironic distaste at the evident hollowness of conditioned truisms is mirrored by Winstons admission that propaganda abolishes facts until everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain.

[4] The edifices of conditioning and Orwells Newspeak point to an even more terrifying reality that welds together language and society. Language is used as a tool which actually creates reality; an extreme culmination of 20th Century propoganda into a complete system of social control. As the Director of the Hatchery notes of the hypnopaedic methods: at last the childs mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the childs mind. And not the childs mind only. The adults mind too all these suggestions are our suggestions Suggestions from the State. [5] This is exactly the same proposition as that made by OBrien, as he revels in the unrivalled power of state espionage, propaganda and Newspeak orthodoxy: we control life, Winston, at all its levels.

You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable. [6] Naturally, there are a range of social control methods.

The World State has soma, Oceania has the Thought Police. The World State endorses free sexual love with no attachment, Oceania aims to abolish the orgasm and eradicate love (two poles of thought on how to control the introverted male / female sex relation.) Both subsume the family in the community. Oceania fights perpetual wars whilst the denizens of the World State play endless games of centrifugal bumble-puppy. Both suppress real science despite a gloss of progress, whilst work is reduced to mere sinecure. However, language control represents the subtlest of all these methods, and their inevitable culmination. The suppression of pre-Utopian culture and the creation of propaganda departments is one step.

Yet the ultimate goal, resting on the assumption that language is the base of perception, is to use language to control thought without any need for coercion. Coercion is pointless when dissent is no longer a viable mode of thought. To ignore the role of language in these novels is to make the same mistake as Julia does when she states that Big Brother cannot get inside you. It is this very dictatorship of the interior, as OBrien notes, that differentiates these Dystopias from their historical forebears. This is where conditioning and Newspeak play their roles as arbiters of reality.

Doublethink does this by distorting the logical structure of language, so that the contradiction between two statements is ignored, facilitated by the technique of Crimestop. Orwell points out the symbiosis between thought and language through the invention of Newspeak, a language which purges all unnecessary vocabulary and creates inverted neologisms (e.g. Ministry of Plenty) in order to frustrate any instinctive grasp of language. The eventual aim is to make dissenting thought quite literally impossible to articulate. This theory is carefully laid out in Orwells appendix on the principles of Newspeak. By cleansing language into a reductive and mechanical system, the same process would cleanse thought into an ideologically controlled process; a flight from individual identity into subservience to the Party. Whereas the process of language control embodied in Newspeak is only partially, it is fully realised in Brave New World.

Although the World State does not appear to be so explicitly autocratic, its methods are no less sinister. The eugenic global caste system is the foundation of their society, and the caste-members are reconciled to their situation with hypnopaedic control. Crimestop the suppression of dissent has a distant relation in the automatic recital of soothing sleep-learnt mantras. These mantras ensure social cohesion by reinforcing the caste hierarchy and the sexual liberty ethos, as well as being the linchpins on which acceptance of soma consumption, passion surrogates and contraception revolve. The mantras are linguistic markers for a deeper language / thought interface that signals a complete regulation of the mind.

As Mond points out, the lower castes are trapped in bottles of existence, and it is language-control that has forged the glass. Both Dystopias also engage with the Idealist theory that reality cannot exist independent of perception, and thus take the principles of language control one step further. A cornerstone of Oceania politics is that the past is mutable. The Ministry of Truth ensures that every written document is altered in accordance with Party wishes, whilst the Thought Police prevent the keeping of personal written records and the possession of cultural material dating from the days before Ingsoc. A similar process is seen in Brave New World, partially by a historical campaign against the Past, partially by keeping all old literature suppressed. History, as a rule, is not taught, simply because there is no point; the Wold State exists in a Utopian present moment: We dont want to change.

Every change is a menace to stability. [7] Carried by the Think pol maxim that the present is controlled by the past, it becomes apparent that the very fabric of reality is being manipulated. With all thoughts and all reference-points (be they ideologically-suspect ideas, history, failures of the State etc.) under state control, then reality becomes mutable itself. OBrien outlines the collective solipsism that lies at the heart of Nineteen Eighty-Fours false consciousness, and interrogates Winston until he comes to accept as truth the equation 2+2 = 5: Once again the sense of helplessness assailed him. He knew, or he could imagine, the arguments which proved his own non-existence; but they were nonsense, they were only a play on words. Did not the statement, You do not exist, contain a logical absurdity But what use was it to say so His mind shrivelled as he thought of the unanswerable, mad arguments with which OBrien would demolish him.

(Nineteen Eighty-Four, p. 272) Although less explicitly, Huxley also creates a similar sense of false reality, even allowing one character to speak the line pains a delusion [8], presumably another hypnopaedic. Although not going to the lengths of Orwell, Huxley Dystopia is conditioned so there is the barest hint of free-will, and certain concepts liberty, love, parenthood have been erased just as effectively as in Newspeak. Particularly among the lower castes, the ideas have simply ceased to exist in their old forms, as shown by the fact that Shakespeare can no longer be understood. This is brought home by the way the words mother and father have been transformed into obscene and scatological slang. Language and thought have been moulded in the same crucible of conditioning: the words still exist, but their 20th Century meanings have been ripped from them, as well as all means to express the old senses. The use of Shakespeare in Brave New World shows us that literature is totemic in these Dystopian novels.

The literature of the past is systematically purged in both Oceania and the World State, and replaced by a safer form of propaganda culture. In Nineteen Eighty-Four a section of Mini true is dedicated to translating the classics into ideologically-distorted Newspeak versions. The plight of the propagandist Watson and the dilemma of the unintelligible Othello in Brave New World have already been mentioned. The Book written by Goldstein is a tangible and tactile link with the literature of the past, an icon of subversion simply because it is an object in the old style. Why is literature treated by these writers as such an important concern Firstly, art in its traditional role mediates between life and representation, and thus literature threatens the stability of that relationship (the control of which is at the heart of both states.) Literature represents a kind of independence, particularly in Brave New World, a method of subversion. Reading is a solitary activity, and as represented by John the savage, it also opens up an alternative existence of striving, passion and idealism.

Huxley expounds exactly why the passion of literature must be sacrificed to the contentment of Utopia, and Mond analysis could equally be applied to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Reading is not communal, and it might introduce subversive ideals into the sanitized climate of Oceania. As such, literature can be associated with any dissenting voices against the stasis of post-humanity. Both as an independent mode of language, and one traditionally linked with dissent and idealism, Winstons prime act of defiance is to write a diary and reclaim language and memory for the individual. Watson represents a similar longing to make the word more than a brute instrument of social control. Yet literature is important for another reason.

It is considered to be the freest form of linguistic expression, and as such the pinnacle of a whole range of culture: journalism, history, popular songs and so forth. Dystopias twin programs of propaganda and suppression mark a recognition of other discourses that might challenge the establishment. As both dystopias rest their stability heavily on control of discourse manipulation of thought through language, Newspeak, Conditioning these dissenting discourses must be quashed. The electroshock conditioning in Brave New World represent an attempt to suppress discourses of truth and beauty as symbolized by the book and the rose. Newspeak is an attempt to destroy the ability to form any discourse other than one ideologically acceptable to IngSoc; to abolish figurative language in favour of functional.

The anti-heroes represent human embodiments of alternative discourses, and as such they too are either removed from society, or forced to submit. This foreshadows the Postmodern spectre of discourse truth effects. In these Dystopian novels, the writers show what can happen when a society controls language: it, in turn, controls discourse, thought and ultimately reality. Both Orwell and Huxley, through use of external verification, show us that Winston and Bernard have the true perception of reality, even though they must pay the price for their inability to reject truth. Yet the question is raised as to how far the discourse hypothesis can be taken The Dystopian novels do not remove a stabilising narrative authority, but nevertheless they root the ideologies of their Dystopias in contemporary modes of thought.

IngSoc is clearly seen to be a corruption of Socialism. The future of eugenics was a live issue in the pre-Nazi era when Brave New World was written. Orwell and Huxley silently pose the Postmodernist question and a warning to the future: if language controls reality, how do we know our discourse is valid Are we also unwitting victim of various unacknowledged modes of thought control Are the World State and Oceania logical extensions of 1940's societies The writers of Dystopian fiction paint a bleak extreme to question to the present. This is ultimately the meaning and the argument behind Dystopian fictions treatment of language. The lost veracity of language points to a lost meaning and a lost freedom in human society. The control of language by the hypothetical states allow their controlled discourses to contain freedom, thought, dissent, history and even material reality itself.

In an era of ideological extremes - Fascism and Communism the dilemma was powerfully relevant. Resting on the assumption that the structure of language has a direct effect on the structure of thought, Dystopian fiction is a critique of the dangers involved in ideology, where the ideas dangerously fluid and malleable as they are overcome the human element. Black can become white, freedom can become slavery. By rooting their novels in contemporary issues, they also approach the frightening semiotic question about discourse and truth, image and reality, and leave us wondering whether, as OBrien puts it, sanity really is statistical.

[1] Nineteen Eighty-Four, p. 282 [2] Brave New World, p. 60 [3] Nineteen Eighty-Four, p. 161 [4] Ibid. p. 44 [5] Brave New World, p. 25 [6] Nineteen Eighty-Four, p. 282 [7] Brave New World, p. 205 [8] Ibid. p. 229.