Orwell collection of essays

Penguin orwell essays

Kipling is a jingo imperialist, he is morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting. And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at. I said earlier that Dickens is not in the accepted sense a revolutionary writer. Had he written nothing else, this memoir alone would have established him as one of the seminal political writers of our time. Forget that silly bit of cant about private property, this is merely Orwell clinging to his image of himself as a Socialist. The other, what is the use of changing the system before you have improved human nature? One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase -- some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse -- into the dustbin, where it belongs. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations. This should have been an interesting essay but I found that war to have of little impact on me compared to WWII in the Pacific. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. This is unquestionably true. Afterward one can choose -- not simply accept -- the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impressions one's words are likely to make on another person.

Orwell hailed Gandhi and his non-violence but he emphasized that the old man did not do anything without personal ambitions. Orwell said that Dickens is a moralist: he wanted to correct the wrongs that are perpetuated by either those in power or those who were rich in England during his time.

Orwell perceives the ugly air of fanaticism about Gandhi, and he had learned the costs exacted by fanatics in Spain and that even laudable social goals can not justify the inhuman means to which fanatics resort. I looked at the sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes-faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot.

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He only afforded to go to that school because he was a bright boy. A "change of heart" is in fact the alibi of people who do not wish to endanger the status quo. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

politics and the english language

If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. It is true that the threatened death never actually occurred, and also that Gandhi - with, one gathers, a good deal of moral pressure in the opposite direction - always gave the patient the choice of staying alive at the price of committing a sin: still, if the decision had been solely his own, he would have forbidden the animal food, whatever the risks might be.

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No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid. It is hopeless to try and pin him down to any definite remedy, still more to any political doctrine. Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. Quite possibly though, the passage tells us even more about Orwell himself. Now I know better. Detailed comparison between a mystery book, No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase and the book that Orwell said to be the book that inspired it, Raffles. Worse, having been force fed these two, most folks are unlikely to continue on and read the rest of his work. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. One must choose between God and Man, and all "radicals" and "progressives," from the mildest Liberal to the most extreme Anarchist, have in effect chosen Man. Of course he wrote much more, and several of his essays are rightly considered to be among the finest ever written. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. Heaven and Hell are in the same place. Though he is generally sympathetic to the Mahatma, the essay includes one devastating paragraph: Close friendships, Gandhi says, are dangerous, because "friends react on one another" and through loyalty to a friend one can be led into wrong-doing.

Orwell just made me want to line up next all the other books by Dickens that are in my to-be-read tbr file. This passage tells us something insightful about Dickens : reflecting upon what Orwell says, we recall that Dickens is indeed more outraged by the cruel working and living conditions of the poor than willing to propose alternatives.

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Readers will recall the degree to which the misappropriation and misuse of language is an animating concern of and Animal Farm, but here he makes his case more directly: Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. It is doubtful whether this is true. For instance, he concludes that Dickens's reputation as a reformer is undeserved, that the author had little interest in making fundamental changes to the institutions he wrote about so devastatingly. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. David Copperfield and A Tale of the Two Cities are my two novels that I first read when I was in a fresh college graduate in the mids. I think the following rules will cover most cases: 1. This should have been an interesting essay but I found that war to have of little impact on me compared to WWII in the Pacific. Though he is generally sympathetic to the Mahatma, the essay includes one devastating paragraph: Close friendships, Gandhi says, are dangerous, because "friends react on one another" and through loyalty to a friend one can be led into wrong-doing. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living. Of course, in a sense he is here accusing Gandhi of attempting the same type of human re-engineering for which he honors Dickens, but we'll not ask for too great a consistency.

And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally.

Marx exploded a hundred tons of dynamite beneath the moralist position, and we are still living in the echo of that tremendous crash.

Orwell nonfiction essays

Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. One must choose between God and Man, and all "radicals" and "progressives," from the mildest Liberal to the most extreme Anarchist, have in effect chosen Man. The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. However, Orwell questioned the intent of Russia in the war. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. I had got to shoot the elephant. But it is not at all certain that a merely moral criticism of society may not be just as 'revolutionary'--and revolution, after all, means turning things upside down--as the politico-economic criticism which is fashionable at this moment. These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. Politics and the English Language 4 stars - I really liked it!

Good prose is like a windowpane.

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A Collection of Essays