Being In Conversation With Brilliance

The common thread that I noticed across the three readings about Orwell, Didion, and Sullivan in their claim to write, was the inspiration that they all draw from the world around them. There seems to be a deep awareness and inspection of their surrounding environment that they source to critique, reflect, and describe their world. Orwell, Didion and Sullivan all involve themselves in this type of engagement. However, though their is an element of sameness, these writers uniquely express their affinity for the written word differently.
Sullivan is very new new-age and cosmpolitan. He uses a digital platform to create an immediacy of conversation between himself and his audience. He is always on call and responsive to his reader in this way. Arguably his blogsophere has created a more interactive medium with his audience. Orwell, is a more reflective writer, and perhaps is much more patient with himself. He doesn’t compete with the urgency of the needs of the world, which is different from  Sullivan. Stylistically, as a writer, Didion seems to be more willing to be vulnerable. She is admittedly less abstract and self describes herself as not being an intellectual. Nevertheless, she consistently gives  deep consideration for the social and cultural causes of the world around her.

If I put Orwell, Didion, and Sullivan’s readings in conversation with the reading I brought to class by W.E.B. Du Bois, I will find that  their styles are aligned. For instance, while W.E.B. Du Bois writings aren’t new age in terms of media, it certainly has a classical understanding to race and sociology that continues to be echoed today. As Manning Marable’s Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois will make clear, W.E.B. Du Bois is up front with his readers about why he find purpose in writing, which for him can be sourced to the historical impulse and political purpose that Orwell finds in his own writing.  The tone Du Bois writes with is as raw and onset as Didion’s. Du Bois is often very provocative in his explanation of race, culture and identity. He was so provocative that he died having more critics than he did fans.
My reason for choosing Du Bois was partially because I am overly fanatic about Du Bois’ teachings and philosophies, but I also because I wanted to see for myself how timeless his writing really is.

Brittany Smith

University of Michigan (first year) senior, Detroit native.

One thought to “Being In Conversation With Brilliance”

  1. Brittany, it was a great move to put DuBois in conversation with Didion, Orwell, and Sullivan! It also occurs to me that there’s something of you in the mix there, if you look closely, which might be useful as you think about how to present yourself in your eportfolio.

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