The End

Writing, to me, has never been a way to—secretly or candidly—display vanity. I view it as a reactionary activity that is prompted by an exogenous force, such as a professor or supervisor. Thereby, I couldn’t associate with Orwell’s assertion of narcissism coupled with writing, especially at a younger age. This recurring theme in his piece continued to unnerve me, and I rescinded its very nature internally. Me, a narcissist? Not quite.

Orwell, however, was not completely dissimilar to my motivations once I am writing. When writing an essay or research analysis, hours may pass before I can finish writing a sentence. As Orwell states, I receive “Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story.” The syntax of a sentence is more appealing to me than the semantics—weird, I know. Similarly, Orwell’s fourth motive, political purpose, also resonates with me when I do write. Writing can be a facet of civic duty: in other words, a way to actively take part in your surroundings, which feels like a meaningful task.

Lastly, Orwell offered a view on writing that I perpetually feel with every piece I write. “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” I dread—no, abhor—starting a piece of writing. It’s a long-winded battle that I never seem up to the fight. Yet, I continue to pursue writing, as a masochist among writers.



It’s the “kill,” the gratification from taking the upper hand in the struggle and winning. The end lures the means to continue for another time.

Joseph Elliott

Hello, my name is Joseph Elliott, and I am a student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, obtaining a Minor in Writing.

One thought to “The End”

  1. Great response. I definitely identified with your first paragraph as it was the central theme to my own response. I didn’t like the idea of being called out as selfish and it was the element of truth to that sentiment that we eventually all recognized and were most bothered by.
    I really enjoyed your battle and kill metaphor. I couldn’t have said it better. I, too, DREAD the idea of starting a paper, but like you said, get some sort of gratification out of the process and solace from the end piece. Definitely enjoyed your response!

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