Where Words Once Were takes place in a world called “The City,” where words are restricted as a result of war, and only 1000 words are able to be used. All other words are forbidden and, if a new word is introduced into what they call, “The Language,” another word must be stricken from the list and considered “erased.” Only officials are allowed pens and students are assigned a pen for school that must be returned at the end of the day. Violators of the rules are punished by losing all words. They may not speak the words and words may not be spoken to them so that they too, like the “erased” words, eventually fade from notice of the world.
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