Yes, I realize that I’m semi-plagiarizing this title…One of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood, (Handmaid’s Tale, 1985) wrote an essay that shares this name. In her essay Orwell and Me, Atwood deals with the deep-rooted relationship between her books and those of George Orwell. It’s kind of cool; you should check it out sometime:
Back on topic! Undoubtedly, all of the Sullivan, Orwell, and Didion pieces are united upon the ground that they view writing as a form of self-expression and discovery, and Orwell provides four examples pertaining to a writer’s impetus to create new works. Of the four, I cannot seem to identify with the platform of “political purpose” but the others are right on track with my philosophy. However, Orwell’s definition of ‘historical impulse’ resonates the most.
Orwell defines a writer’s motive of ‘historical impulse’ as “[the] [d]esire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity” (Orwell, Why I Write). Although I do not possess the desire to write about my life for future generations to read, I feel as though this same concept can be translated into a more micro-level of writing—journaling.
Journaling is important for many (and myself!) for in the future, one may aspire to recount the memories of the times past. However, as life moves on, truth and reality become obscured and memory—which is often skewed by time—takes over. Therefore, this act of journaling is analogous to Orwell’s position of remembering history, because it aids in the act of remembering one’s life history in its truest form.
Furthermore, the piece that I choose to discuss in class is George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language (1946) where he discusses the futility of academia’s infiltration of superfluous words into writing; rather, Orwell advocates for clear and concise prose to become the basis for what is taught in schools.
Looking at countless examples of Orwell’s work, one would certainly discover that he “practices what he preaches.” The one thing that I really enjoy while reading Orwell are his clear arguments. It is because of this clarity that his works are so accessible to many, and it is for this very same reason that I would like to emulate his work in my future essays and projects.
That’s all for tonight!