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But there is a final element of pessimism to it, as well as, I think, some of the hard-to-understand handsomeness for which we English people are so rightly famed.
The man in the photograph, Eric Arthur Blair (1903–1950), was a novelist, essayist, journalist, critic, and, most importantly, an exemplary human being.
He exited the womb English but entered the grave an outspoken citizen of Earth.
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.
While Orwell’s writing often paints a hopeless picture of humanity, his self-taught humanitarianism proves that great change at the level of the individual is possible.
His work cautions us about the seduction of selfishness, but his life shows us that compassion is not inherited — it’s cultivated.The following list provides some insight into the prophetic themes of Orwell’s work: All those themes are somewhat related, but in this article I’ll be focusing on the last listed item: Orwell’s views on language and its corrosive influence on the individual and the state. With Orwell’s guidance, I will show you how politicians distort facts and deceive listeners with their word choices, how our constant exposure to political speech dulls our sensory acuity, and how learning to write well (a subject on which Orwell will soon instruct us) is the best practice for thinking well, and, ultimately, reforming the world.Orwell’s main argument in is that language and thought act much like conjoined twins of the human psyche, and thus, “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” If we disregard the health of one twin, we encumber the other.Orwell stands out from the other great writers of the 20th century because of his political awareness and opposition to totalitarianism, Stalinism, fascism, and social injustice.By concentrating on essays along with fiction, according to Hitchens, writing in , Orwell was able to take on “the competing orthodoxies and despotisms of his day with little more than a battered typewriter and a stubborn personality.”2But what makes Orwell stand out from the other great humanists of the 20th century, and why he should matter to you, is the way he took that stubborn personality of his and used it to tackle many of his own despotic and prejudicial inclinations.Orwell had one battered typewriter and one stubborn personality — between us, we have billions. As Orwell makes clear in his essay: If you’re just as fine living by the cliché “ignorance is bliss” as you are writing it without a second thought, I must caution you: after reading the seven ideas that follow, you’ll never be able to view politics and the media the same way again.To reemphasize Orwell: clear writing and clear thinking are not just the “concern of professional writers.” We are all writers and critics in some capacity.Orwell goes on to explain: Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble.If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration…I don’t believe in the Illuminati, but I can see why one would.Orwell wasn’t just a critic of his times: he is a critic for all times.Even now, sixty-five years after his death, his work seems just as, if not more, relevant.