George Orwell 's Article On Politics And The English Language

991 Words4 Pages
English is a language that is constantly evolving. From Shakespearian time and its use of thou to modern day where everything is “lit” it is clear there have been several major changes, but is his article “Politics and the English Language” George Orwell argues that these changes are for the worse. He reveals that the English language has fallen from where it once was. Modern English is cluttered with outdated, meaningless phrases and fail to ever be concrete or make a definite point. Orwell sees these faults and hopes to repair the failures in the system by giving his readers two sets of rules to follow, however he constantly breaks his own rules throughout his entire article. By breaking his own rules, Orwell makes clear to the reader the problems with the English language and the necessity for all English speakers and writers to change the way we communicate. Orwell reveals that our language and culture are falling as English moves away from concreteness in hopes that his audience will change the way they write to fix our language and society. As he begins his article, Orwell is quick to break his own rules that he introduces later on. While discussing how the English language is collapsing, he notes that the “struggle against the abuse of language is sentimental archaism” (par.1). Not even a full paragraph in and, by using archaism, Orwell has already broken rule two that one should “Never use a long word where a short one will do” (par. 18). With this Orwell begins to expose the problems that modern English is facing because many readers lost the meaning of that sentence due to the inclusion of the word archaism. If he had instead said that the struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental attachment to the old fas... ... middle of paper ... ... these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.” (par. 18). This is the big ironic statement of his entire article because it isn’t possible. Even after giving all these rules to follow, questions to ask when writing, and other points of advice, Orwell says that it’s okay to break these rules to sound civilized. That is the fault and point of Orwell’s article because it is necessary to change the way people are writing in hopes of improving our culture and language, but the only way to sound civilized is to break these rules and fall in with the failing way the language is now. This is the irony in the rule, so should one follow Orwell’s rules and change our culture for the better or should a writer stay where it is safe changing nothing or making it worse. Either way the writer would be following Orwell’s advice, either rule six or the rest of the rules and advice.

More about George Orwell 's Article On Politics And The English Language

Open Document