George Orwell Politics And The English Language Summary

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This paper is going to focus on George Orwell’s 1946 essay Politics and the English Language. The essay offers the reader a look at the declining state of written English as well as the word choices writers use and how they can alter or distort meaning in written texts as well as providing reasons for why distorting meaning might be a wanted and deliberate consequence.
George Orwell was a novelist, essayist and a journalist who has had an enduring impact on the literary world following his two famous novels Animal Farm that was released in 1945 and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) that was released under a year before his death from tuberculosis on January 21st 1950. George Orwell was born under the name Eric Arthur Blair in June 25th 1903. His
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According to Encyclopedia Britannica an essay is a composition that is shorter and less formal than a thesis or a dissertation. An essay also deals with its’ subject from a limited and personal point of view. Knowing the definition of an essay helps the reader to appreciate and understand it in an analytical and objective way. In Orwell’s Politics and the English Language he aims to offer the reader his reasoning to why the English language is in jeopardy, what are the reasons for this and what can be done to salvage it. In the essay Orwell gives examples of what he considers bad habits of written English. From the written examples Orwell pinpoints two qualities that are common to written English that is bad. The qualities are “staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision”. He continues his explanation of why the combination of vague phrases and word choices and “sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing”. When English is written in such a way the concrete meaning of the text fades in to abstract ideas and instead of choosing words because of their meaning, the writers choose phrases they have seen used multiple times before. This serves as a way to hide the message the writer is trying to convey to the reader as well as forcing the reader to work in order to unlock what…show more content…
Orwell feels that these kinds of words are most often used in art and literary criticism and political speeches. These words are meaningless because they force the reader to give the words the meaning and the writer can in a way hide behind words such as dead and living instead of writing black and white. These words are a way for the writer to avoid saying anything that can be attributed negatively in their text and if they are the writer can argue that the reader misunderstood their meaning. The words also become meaningless because they might be used dishonestly. This sort of writing makes it so that words have dual meanings. The reader might understand the written word for its traditionally agreed upon meaning despite the fact that the writer was using it for a different meaning in secret. These meaningless words also include the use of statements that are inherently designed to deceive the reader such as “Marshal Petain was a true patriot, The soviet press is the freest in the world –“. These statements feature words that usually have a positive connotation but the real meaning of behind the statements is the exact opposite of what is being said. These four different kinds of poor writing examined by Orwell in the essay constitute a large part of the ways he feels that written English is in peril. As for why writing in this way has become popular he offers a few explanations. The first
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