Politics In George Orwell's Politics And The English Language
The forty years that have passed since it was written have only confirmed the accuracy of its diagnosis and the value of its prescription (Norton 2260).
Orwell may be one of the most capable prose writers ever, and he seems to speak sense to us. In a time when missiles are called "peace keepers"
And taxes "revenue enhancements" Orwell's objections to dishonest political writing seem relevant and incisive. But regardless of Orwell's popular reputation
(and I'm not sure he really sought for such a reputation), few linguists …show more content…
With words we fitly can our foes assail, With words a system we prepare, Words we quite fitly can believe (Faust 1.1900-04).
Orwell was drawn heavily to this movement, and often included its ideas in his writing. In "Politics and the English Language," for example, Orwell clearly links decayed language with degenerate politics: "Modern English is full of bad habits. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration" (128). And in his summary, Orwell claims "If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy" (139).
The more serious charge is Orwell's shaky, perhaps naive theoretical underpinnings. Fundamentally, Orwell seems to view language as an object, something separate from ourselves.This view manifests itself throughout "Politics," in Orwell's unsound notions that language can be corrupted or engineered, and that a language controls thought and vice