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George orwell tackles the vices of society in politics and the english language

August 2006 Homage to Orwell The honesty and realism of Orwell never ceases to amaze.

  • Even though Orwell initially favored this policy, as did most of the European Left, he changed his mind when he saw it in action;
  • And that's what shocked him.

He opens 'Shooting an Elephant', the first story in this collection, by telling us that he was hated by many people. He will spend the rest of the essay showing us why. The pointless death of an animal no longer harmful becomes the legal murder we witness in 'A Hanging'. In both cases we see people becoming their jobs, counting doing one's duty more important than being human. He sees "the dirty work of Em Review: He sees "the dirty work of Empire at close quarters" and knows that " imperialism is an evil thing" but continues to do his duty as both imperialist and colonist would see it.

The amazing thing is that he is not alone in this. In "A Hanging" the hangman is a convict and after the deed is done we see both Europeans and natives laughing and drinking together.

In "Shooting an Elephant" he is stuck between "hatred of the empire" and "rage against the evil-spirited little beasts" that made his job impossible. But again, we witness crowds of natives expecting him to be a Sahib. Orwell's stories show us the demoralizing duties, the pompous gravitas of Imperialism. It dehumanizes both rulers and ruled, turning them into the role they play rather than allowing them to become who they might have been.

  1. I think the following rules will cover most cases.
  2. When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o'clock, better far and infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish, inflated, inhibited, school-ma'amish arch braying of blameless bashful mewing maidens! Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry.
  3. The defence of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply. He was seriously ill in February and was desperate to get away from London to the island of Jura, Scotland , where he wanted to start work on Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  4. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases — bestial, atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder — one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, he also knows that, "the British Empire is dying [. His unsentimental love of ordinary people, coupled with the easy, natural, sympathetic description of complex characters, relationships and motivations, reveal Orwell as a man who was genuinely at home with ordinary people. Only he could write movingly of how imperialism traps freezes!

Even people we might miss. The only one I have ever read who comes close is Camus on Algeria. In '1984' only excerpted in this collectiona prophesy of what the Empires destined to replace the British empire could become, it was his ear for the corruption of language by permanent war that struck me, when I first read it well over three decades ago, as the perfect lens for viewing the lies spoken daily by both sides during the Vietnam War.

Also, Orwell's insight into the political necessity of continual crises to keep the people both frightened and grateful for protection explained rather nicely how the communists or Islamic Fundamentalists today could work with us and we with them whenever it was politically convenient to do so.

In the collection of literary pieces what surprises is that a man of the left like Orwell, who was always a socialist, could appreciate authors as patriotic and conservative as Dickens and Kipling.

George orwell tackles the vices of society in politics and the english language

We should always measure men by whether they can appreciate the strengths of their enemies. To my mind it is the height of civility in our twisted world to be able to admire an enemy whom someday you may have to kill. We need to remember that there always is, or at least always should be, something beyond and above politics.

But much of Orwell's posthumous fame comes from his writing on communism.

As well it should, he was among the very few famous intellectuals Camus and Koestler also come to mind who forthrightly criticized the Soviet dictatorship. But he always remained a man of the left.

George Orwell

It was during the cold war that this admirer of decency, virtue, and honesty; to say nothing of socialism, was dishonestly dragooned into being a cold warrior by, among others, Commentary magazine. They went so far as to call him a neo-conservative, twenty-five years before the fact! They should learn how to read. Yes, the critique of totalitarian communism is there, perhaps expressed better than anywhere else.

  • In both cases we see people becoming their jobs, counting doing one's duty more important than being human;
  • In "A Hanging" the hangman is a convict and after the deed is done we see both Europeans and natives laughing and drinking together;
  • But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails.

Here he is interacting directly with the type of Monster dimly limned in 1984. He saw in Barcelona the destruction of a genuine working class movement by the disgraceful collusion of liberals and communists. When Franco led much of the Spanish army into revolt it was the workers who spontaneously resisted.

They formed workers' committees to run the factories and workers' militias to win the war. In Catalonia, the anarchists, the radical wing of the worker's movement, were stronger than the socialist parties. In Madrid, a loose governing coalition of liberal and socialist parties was attempting to win the war not only on the battlefield but in the court of world opinion.

In plain English, this meant do not appear too radical. You see, socialism worried liberal, capitalist nations like England and France; but anarchism scared them to death.

See a Problem?

As time went on the government drifted to the right. Orwell was not shocked by this. He understood the diplomatic necessities as well as anyone. What did surprise him was that this rightward drift coincided with ever strengthening ties with the Soviet Union.

  1. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. It dehumanizes both rulers and ruled, turning them into the role they play rather than allowing them to become who they might have been.
  2. It is easier — even quicker, once you have the habit — to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. In 5 , words and meaning have almost parted company.
  3. Professor Hogben 2 plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with, is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means; 3 , if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless.
  4. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.
  5. People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning — they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another — but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying.

You see, all the Soviets cared about was the defense of the Soviet Union, and to them this meant the politics of the Popular Front. In the thirties this meant an alliance between everyone communists, liberals, conservatives against Hitler and Fascism. An alliance at any cost. So farewell workers control, workers' councils, and workers' militias; this would be just another bourgeois war. And that's what shocked him.

Politics and the English Language

Even though Orwell initially favored this policy, as did most of the European Left, he changed his mind when he saw it in action. He too had believed that the most important thing was to win the war. But the suppression of independent socialists like the Troskyite P.

And isn't that vintage Orwell? This man of honesty and integrity, who would report exactly what happened, even when it went against what he believed or wanted.

It would have been an honor to have George Orwell as a friend, an ally, - or an enemy. Men like this illuminate our world.