Analysis of George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”
In his essay “Politics and the English Language”, George Orwell uses the rhetorical strategy of including himself, via pronoun, in the group he is criticizing, being that the nature of the essay is a criticism of the English language, without the pronouns, the reader might feel attacked and thus alienated. He forms a sense of unity with the reader by using this rhetorical strategy and avoids making the reader feel attacked and/ or offended. . He uses an analogy of a man who drinks because he feels like a failure but then fails even more as a result of his drinking. Orwell includes himself when he explains this analogy- he doesn’t go on to say anything to the effect of “and this is how you compare to that in your use of language”. Instead, he says “It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts” (Orwell 1). Without the use of pronouns, the criticisms might have been taken personally by anyone who read it and it would likely have been discredited, as people became defensive, and chances are it wouldn’t have gotten much circulation.
In order to unite himself with the reader, Orwell concludes his essay with an acknowledgement of the fact that the very essay he is writing probably includes some of the mistakes he finds in the work of other writers, which contribute to the decline of the
English language. The essence of Orwell’s essay is a criticism of the English language and an outline of its general decline, by identifying himself as part of the problem he includes himself in the” guilty party”, rather then accusing the public of neglecting their duty to use language properly. By taking ownership of his role as part of the problem he is able to draw attention to the fact that his essay is in no way meant to be any...