In “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell argues against the common belief that language grows with and adapts to the changing times, there being nothing any individual can do about it. He explains that the decline of the English language comes from a never ending cycle of foolish thoughts giving way to sloppy writing, which eventually leads to more foolish thoughts. Throughout his essay, Orwell connects with his readers by establishing his credibility, using emotional appeals, and providing logical evidence of how the English language is continuously declining and how writers could slow, and possibly stop, this process.
Orwell is also known for his insights about the political implications of the use of language. In the essay "Politics and the English Language", he decries the effects of cliche, bureaucratic euphemism, and academic jargon on literary styles, and ultimately on thought itself. Orwell's concern over the power of language to shape reality is also reflected in his invention of Newspeak, the official language of the imaginary country of Oceania in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Newspeak is a variant of English in which vocabulary is strictly limited by government fiat. The goal is to make it increasingly difficult to express ideas that contradict the official line - with the final aim of making it impossible even to conceive such ideas. (cf. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis). A number of words and phrases that Orwell coined in Nineteen Eighty-Four have entered the standard vocabularly, such as "memory hole," "Big Brother," "Room 101," "doublethink," "thought police," and "newspeak."
George Orwell's famous essay was originally published in 1946, three years before the publication of his masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four. Indeed, one could view "Politics and the English Language" as a key precursor to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell insists in both works that the abuse and corruption of language is linked to political degeneration. In the essay, the central theme is expressed in the form of a writing guide.
The title of Orwell's essay, "Politics and the English Language," suggests where the thrust of his thesis is; namely that language is "an instrument which we shape for our own purposes." Because...
Essay On George Orwell S Politics And The English Language,
George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language”is one of the most famous of all works urging that writing should be clear, direct, and vivid. In the course of analyzing and mocking...
George Orwell: Politics and the English Language
George Orwell, likemany other literary scholars, is interested in the modern use of theEnglish language and, in particular, the abuse and misuse of English. He realises that language has the power in politics to mask thetruth and mislead the public, and he wishes to increase publicawareness of this power. He accomplishes this by placing a greatfocus on and the media in his novel . Demonstrating the repeated abuse of language bythe government and by the media in his novel, Orwell shows howlanguage can be used politically to deceive and manipulate people,leading to a society in which the people unquestioningly obey theirgovernment and mindlessly accept all propaganda as reality. Languagebecomes a mind-control tool, with the ultimate goal being thedestruction of will and imagination. As John Wain says in his essay,[Orwells] vision of 1984 does not include extinctionweapons . . . He is not interested in extinction weapons because,fundamentally, they do not frighten him as much as spiritual ones(343).
Fifty Orwell Essays, by George Orwell, free ebook
Fifty years after “Politics and the English Language” first appeared in the pages of Horizon magazine, I can think of no better antidote for much of the pretentious prose and threadbare argumentation being churned out on our campuses than this: anybody teaching a section of freshman composition should be required to read each of Orwell’s paragraphs and to understand the essential difference between the verbally quick and the linguistically dead. That many teachers will continue to disagree about which books are finally important, or how best to read a passage from Hamlet is a given; but if they can at least agree about the principles that separate clear writing from willful obfuscation, the literary enterprise will have made considerable progress. Even more important, their students (most of whom will end up as citizens rather than professors) may yet come to understand why clear writing is not only important for its own sake, but also for the writer’s very soul. Orwell’s essay remains the best introduction I know to the issues of language and politics, individuality, and genuine liberation. In its anniversary year, I can only hope that students by the thousands—and maybe even a handful of my colleagues—come to share my view.