Politics and the English Language
“Politics and the English language” George Orwell General questions 1. This piece is written basically just to criticize bad writing and also to criticize the downgrade of the English language. In the essay Orwell argues that “our language is probably curable”. The main point is just to show examples of how the language has deteriorated and also to give some pointers on how it can be fixed. 2. Throughout the essay the author’s tone is that of aggravation because the entire piece is basically a scolding speech to the way we use our language to express our feelings and meanings behind what we say.
In the piece, the author uses a lot of Parenthesis just to add small thoughts or opinions into a particular sentence. A few examples would be, “It is easier- -once you have the habit- -etc… in this sentence, “once you have the habit”, is added just to better the reader’s understanding of the point that Orwell is trying to get across.
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Another scheme used is chiasmus, in the second paragraph this is shown by the sentence, “A man may take a drink a drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks”.
In paragraph 10 both a rhetorical question and a parenthesis are used at the same time, “(what is a “rift,” for instance? )” this is both a side thought and a question to the audience to make them think. The thesis of the essay, I believe is stated in paragraph 2. The thesis is, “if one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration”. I believe this is the thesis because basically the rest of the piece is based around ways to regenerate the language. . The language used to write this essay, in my opinion, is very descriptive and vivid. Some examples of the descriptive language used are personification, some puns and many similes. An example of a pun in this piece I also used and called a chiasmus, “a man may take a drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks”. Orwell says, “It is same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish”.
Orwell compares the struggle against the abuse of language to that of, “like preferring candles to electric light”. Many similes are used in the piece just to show particular points and comparisons that Orwell wants to make the reader understand. Another trope that is used many times throughout is the personification an example within the piece is, “dying metaphors”. Words don’t literally die but by saying “dying”, Orwell better gets across the point that the metaphors he discussed are more and more disappearing from everyday use.
Not dying, just not, being as frequently used. All of these examples are just a few of several used simply to reinforce the point of the essay. 4. Since the essay was written in London, in 1946 I believe that the audience for this piece was intended to be the English speaking general public. I believe that what Orwell is trying to convey to the public (in his eyes) is a sort of wake up call to the problem of the downgrade of their own language that is happening before there very eyes each and everyday. 5.
I believe that the effect the piece had on the reader solely depends on the open mindedness of the actual reader. Some of the people who read this could have had the mindset of, “oh this is a bunch of bologna, and there is nothing wrong with the way i talk because I understand everything that is said around me”. And another reader might see it the way it was meant to be seen, which is, as an eye opener to the problem that was actually occurring. Again the effectiveness really just depends on who the reader is. . The author of this piece in my opinion did and also did not achieve his goal. It seems to be that his goal was to reach out to people and show the deterioration of the English language. He most likely succeeded in reaching out to some people, but I do not believe that Orwell achieved the most important goal in writing this essay. I think the most important goal was to show people how bad things were with the English language and permanently fix the problem.
And comparing the English language of today to the English language of the early 1900’s should clearly show a complete change in the way we use our language and that is why I think that Orwell did not achieve the most important goal of the piece. 7. Overall I think the piece is well written and uses several schemes and tropes to accurately get the point across. The piece is a very one sided argument and a very strong and well supported one, which is why this essay is so well organized and easy for the reader to understand.