Politics and the English Language

924 Words4 Pages
General Questions: Politics and the English Language by George Orwell 1.) What is the piece about? In this piece George Orwell criticizes English prose for its inaccurate use of language, and states that language is no longer shaped by us for our own purpose as it should be, but rather recycled, twisted and abused, and therefore has become meaningless and vague. He also suggests that English language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier to have foolish thoughts.” His purpose was to make the reader realize that our habits should be changed in order to prevent “the decay of language” by avoiding a lack of imagery, allow the meaning to choose the word and not the words choose the meaning, and clear meaning. 2.) How is the piece structured? Orwell structured this as a critique and persuasive essay, clearly stating his opinion, supports it with evidence, and creates a solution. The thesis is located within the middle of the second paragraph as he declares “It becomes ugly…concern of professional writers.” His tone is rather frustrated throughout this piece as he points out the “sheer incompetence” of writers as well as analytical as he criticizes other pieces of work and describes their many faults. He uses apposition to emphasize that “Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation” as well as several other schemes such as chiasmus to convey the connection that if “thoughts corrupt language, language can also corrupt thought” along with antithesis to criticize how “political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” This piece is satirical because he ridicules our society and its usage of “modern English” illustrating the various “mental vices from which we now suffer” and continues to point out our “sheer
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