In Ayn Rand's Anthem, for example, everyone's thoughts appear to be controlled by their language. In part one, Equality 7-2521 states the following:
"WE ARE ONE IN ALL AND ALL IN ONE. THERE ARE NO MEN BUT ONLY THE GREAT WE, ONE, INDIVISIBLE AND FOREVER."
We repeat this to ourselves, but it helps us not. These words were cut long ago. There is green mould in the grooves of the letters and yellow streaks on the marble, which come from more years than men could count. And these words are the truth, for they are written on the Palace of the World Council, and the World Council is the body of all truth. Thus has it been ever since the Great Rebirth, and farther back than that no memory can reach.
The mantra of the Great We, that states that there is "only the great we, one, indivisible and forever" eradicates the concept of the individual. Equality 7-2521 states the mantra as "truth," and he believes it at this point in the story because this is what he has always been told. He can't even conceptualize the idea of the individual. And the reader must remember that every other character in the story is also one individual human being, yet they support this idea of the Great We with religious zeal: "There is no crime punished by death in this world, save this one crime of speaking the Unspeakable Word."
But Anthem is not the only story in which the language controls the thoughts and reality of the characters. For example, in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Alice experiences a linguistic impasse with the White Queen when the discuss the conditions that Alice would experience under her hire: "Two pence a week, and jam every other day."
Alice tells the Queen that she doesn't want any jam that day, and the Queen tells her that she couldn't have any jam anyway, because "It's jam every other day: to-day isn't any other day, you know." The language controls them: it will never be possible to eat jam, because it will always be today, and therefore never a jam day.
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