Fiction

Orwellian wordcrimes: The perils of not taking language seriously

Orwellian wordcrimes: The perils of not taking language seriously

In the early '80s, the era of Reagan, Indiana Jones, and K-cars, I read George Orwell's "Animal Farm" for seventh grade English class and wasn't sure what to make of it. Where were the human beings? What was the deal with Stalin and communism? Were 12-year-olds really supposed to care about these things? Two years later, in freshman English at Libertyville High School, we were assigned "1984" and I started to see why people were still reading this British writer's books. Winston and Julia seemed like people I might know, with problems I hoped never to have but could at least attempt to understand.

I'd heard the word "thoughtcrime" somewhere too —...

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