Word Cloud Analysis for George Orwell’s 1984 by Casey Ouellette

Word Cloud for George Orwell’s 1984


This cloud was made using Wordle, and I chose George Orwell’s 1984 which was banned and challenged in America because it was believed to be pro-communist literature during the Cold War. The book was also banned in the U.S.S.R. for being thought of as anti-communist literature. In the word cloud, I notice some interesting words jump out immediately like “party” as in political party, but nothing in the words seems to expressly support communism or anything like it, but I can see some connections. I do see words like “War” and “Power” arranged together, which is interesting as well as “Brother” as in “Big Brother.” Clearly the novel is politically charged and there’s an emphasis on governance and control.

I find a few words like “ministry” and “telescreen” to stand out, in keeping with that idea of control and enforcement. The fact that war had appeared so often as well as these allusions to monitoring and control and power, paint more of a picture of anti-establishment. There are a few words on the fringes like “pain” and “voice” which might add to this negative view. I can see how some of these things being repeated and enforced might have been misconstrued for propaganda or something pro-communism, but they lean more towards anti-communism and oppression. The diction in terms of adjectives seems to lean on the dark side and there’s some other words like “eyes” that also relay that idea of being watched, monitored, and controlled.

I can understand how this concept of fearing a controlling government might be seen as communism or even socialism, but then I would have also assumed that there would have been more direct ties to these things. All I see is some words that are vaguely about government observation, not necessarily lobbying for a particular government regime. There are also a few words in there like “work” and “hands” which might relate to the labor force. I could maybe stretch that to see how equal rights and the working man come into play, especially with communism’s focus on socialist ideals. The communist symbol was the hammer and sickle, for example, the tools of working men, no less. With that said, I’d also expect to see more words like this that really hammered home that point if it was so pro-communist.

Overall I’d say these words aren’t, on their own, anything of note, but the themes they suggest were extremely volatile during the time of the book’s release and through to the eighties. It plays on peoples’ fears of being controlled and monitored, and while the words seem to lean more in favor of anti-communism to me, I can see how this could be taken the other way. The language without a lot of context or intent just depicts a warring government with several ways to observe, through telescreens and observation, the general populace. I think this confusion between people as to whether or not it was or wasn’t in favor of communism, is reflected in how vague the word cloud is. Without a lot of context or examination, you can observe a large portion of these words with your own beliefs and associations just as people did out of fear.

This project was created by Casey Ouellette for a class at PSU that examines literary taboos.

Ann McClellan

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