A writer cannot help but to project the fears, needs, wants, hopes and dreams of his or her times and the society that he or she lives in. For the writer deals with ideas. The writer deals in symbols. Words are symbols that represents ideas, and as we all know, ideas can change the world.
Which comes first? The idea or the words that express the idea?
In the novel 1984 by George Orwell about the world dominated by three vast totalitarian states, the one Party government of Oceania creates a language called Newspeak that is suppose to make it impossible to express certain ideas like rebellion: destroy the word and you destroy the thought.
The government controls all publishing; and writers a merely government employees who churn out an endless stream of content that promotes the Party’s view of reality.
The novel 1984 was first published in 1949. The book was Orwell’s warning to the future. And today Big Brother is watching us, whether Big Brother is a security agency going through our email or Google tracking our online history.
Of course, some societies are more liberal than other societies. Writers will consciously or unwittingly reenforce or challenge the accepted values of the society they live in.
When a writer reinforces the accepted values of a society, that writer contributes to the stability of that society. And that’s a good thing. When a writer challenges the accepted values of his or her society, that writer helps to change his or her society; and that’s a good thing, too.
This is the Old Soldier reporting from Pittsburgh.