Politics and the English Language


George Orwell

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Stuart Chase Character Analysis

An American economist and socialist whom Orwell mentions in his discussion of “abstract language” near the end of the essay. Throughout “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell opposes the use of abstract language. For instance, Orwell claims that “abstract” language distorts the truth within one’s mind, “blurring or even changing your meaning.” He also claims that abstract language makes it difficult for “people to think.” But Orwell stops short of advocating against all abstract language, and he specifically objects to Chase’s claim that “all abstract words are meaningless” (Orwell’s words—not Chase’s). Orwell claims that Chase’s attempt to wholeheartedly eliminate abstract language is a means of silencing dissent or a “pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism.” Orwell provides no other background information about Chase, but Orwell’s readers likely recognized the name: Chase was an American Communist whose book, The Tyranny of Words, indeed argues that abstract language is meaningless language.

Stuart Chase Quotes in Politics and the English Language

The Politics and the English Language quotes below are all either spoken by Stuart Chase or refer to Stuart Chase. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Danger of Intellectual Laziness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Politics and the English Language published in 2013.
Politics and the English Language Quotes

I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker), Stuart Chase
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
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Stuart Chase Character Timeline in Politics and the English Language

The timeline below shows where the character Stuart Chase appears in Politics and the English Language. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Politics and the English Language
Style as a Political Issue Theme Icon
...that his advice does not apply to literary prose. Also, he specifically notes that, unlike Stuart Chase , whom Orwell claims comes “near” banning abstract language as means to eliminate political dissent,... (full context)