Research Article

2+2 = 4 and 2+2 = 5 in George Orwell's 1984: A Reader-Response Analysis


  • Mabandine DJAGRI TEMOUKALE Department of Anglophone Studies, University of Kara, Togo
  • Nouhoun AMADOU Department of Philosophy, University of Kara, Togo


In 1984, George Orwell puts in competition two propositions, logical (2+2 = 4) and dialectical (2+2 = 5), leaving the choice to the readers to appreciate and choose the better one, the one from which solutions to the challenges in the imaginary society of Oceania emerge. It is in this conflicting context that this paper attempts, through reception theory, to show that beyond Winston's logic, 2+2 equals 4 may not only represent a dogmatization of scientific reasoning but also fixed thinking. The paper argues that 2+2 = 5, in a dialectical perspective, is more illustrative of scientific thinking that is nourished by dynamism and curiosity. It denounces the abuse of the principle of relativism as presented in the novel, calling for a relativism that is not pessimistic but optimistic.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (11)





How to Cite

TEMOUKALE, M. D., & AMADOU, N. (2022). 2+2 = 4 and 2+2 = 5 in George Orwell’s 1984: A Reader-Response Analysis. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(11), 191–196.



Objectivity, fixed thinking, dynamic thinking, dogmatization