A dystopian dialogue – Semantic and pragmatic perspectives on George Orwell’s 1984 and Boualem Sansal’s 2084


  • Ana-Maria Pacleanu Dunarea de Jos University of Galati, Romania




dystopia, intertextuality, power, religion, pragmatic and semantic features


Dystopias are no longer defined as the opposite of utopias and are mostly described by referring to the type of system they depict - “perfectly planned and beneficial”, “perfectly planned and unjust” or “perfectly unplanned” (Gordin, Tilley, and Prakash 2010, 2). Furthermore, dystopias are said to reflect societies’ worries and warn about some flaws of religious, political systems, or science in terms of relationships between the past, the present, and the future. George Orwell’s “1984” and Boualem Sansal’s “2084”. The End of the World are dystopian novels that fall into two different categories (based on the type of authority exercising control) – the former is a political dystopia and the latter is a religious one. 2084 has often been described as a tribute to Orwell and his ‘Big Brother’, but the cult of personality is depicted by pointing at elements related to religion. It stands out as an even more explicit illustration of totalitarian regimes and their practices especially when connected to religion. However, both novels revolve around the concepts of ideology, the cult of personality, and power enforcement. Thus, despite their typology, the dialogue between these two dystopias becomes obvious as regards genre and intertextuality, but also the semantic and pragmatic features they share. Therefore, with a view to tracing the meanings conveyed through language, the present paper tackles the aforementioned dystopian novels from the perspective of these two complementary branches of linguistics, in an attempt at identifying the similarities (especially those referring to ideologies and power).