14: Why I Write

By George Orwell

A collection of essays from the book series: Penguins great Ideas, this is no. 20

There are four essays in this thin book

Why I write
The Lion and the Unicorn
A Hanging
Politics and the English Language

other than studying animal farm in highschool I HAVE NOT read anything else by George Orwell. Yeah I know I KnOW! I have not even read 1984.
To be honest, Ididn’t really like Animal Farm the first time I read it but I was young and naive, now I am seasoned and matured? I sound like chicken that’s ready to bake.

George Orwell’s style of writing is perfect for politics, as he extensively explains in the last essay what words are suitable and what words aren’t. Politics is something that could already be configured in any way without bad and incomprehensible language. So it is of utmost importance to not be a purple writer when writing about politics and if George Orwell had written all of my history books I would have had a really easy time then.

I normally dislike anything political but i love history. And more than often, history is just old school politics. It’s fine if it’s not right now is all i am saying.

a few quotes

page 10: (Why I write)

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality.

page 71: (The Lion and the Unicorn- Socialism and the English genius)

War is the greatest of all agents of change. It speeds up all processes, wipes out minor distinctions, brings realities to the surface. Above all, war brings it home to the individual. That he is not altogether an individual. It is only because they are aware of this that men will die on the field of battle.

page 119: Politics and the English Language

I think this could be applied to all writing in some sense

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive when you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

So basically, he’s saying, keep it simple, stupid

Posted: December 14th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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