What I Learned

I learned from George Orwell that the experiences we have continue to affect the ways in which we tell stories. I found that the experiences each of these authors had, have heavily factored into the work they produce. However, what I found most interesting were the four “great” motives for writing that Orwell says, exist in different degrees in every writer.

 The four great motives are: sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose.

As I read each of the three readings, George Orwell’s, “Why I Write,” Joan Didion’s, “Why I Write,” and Andrew Sullivan’s, “Why I Blog,” I compared myself to each author, and found similarities between their writing habits, and my own.

These four motives made me question my intentions, and why I truly want to become a journalist. Day-in and day-out journalists are faced with the daunting task of eradicating personal biases and remaining as impartial as possible. One statement that stuck out to me in particular was the effect that an individual’s life stage and experience has on his or her work. To me, Orwell believes every individual’s experiences have shaped his or her views in one way or another, subconsciously imparting innate personal biases.

You cannot fully assess a writer’s work without knowing his or her background or reasoning. Orwell says, “I do not think one can assess a writer’s motives without knowing something of his early development;” this is something I firmly believe as well. In addition, I learned that regardless of the platform you choose, be sure that the content you produce is presented in a way that will allow the readers to understand the context and the tone at which you are trying to set.

2 thoughts to “What I Learned”

  1. I really like how you discussed Orwell’s four great motives for writing, especially because of your desire to become a journalist. I have also been a fan of journalism for many years now. There is SO much information being presented to the public that frequently isn’t fully understood. Journalists have the amazing opportunity to comment on this information with a personal twist, with the hope that their writing will make a difference to at least a couple of individuals. Although biases come along with journalism, these biases in my opinion make the writing more interesting and worth-while to read. People who are passionate about issues and therefore add their own take on matters make for very, very intriguing pieces of work.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. I really liked how you related a journalist’s task of remaining unbiased and impartial to Orwell’s idea that a writer’s work heavily derives from prior life experiences. As we can observe in all media forms, completely eliminating one’s bias can be very difficult. Print, online and television journalists from so many different organizations present their work with obvious bias, yet in many cases do not acknowledge these biases. If they are going to continue to present their work in this way, the country and the journalism industry would be much better off if those biases were acknowledged.

    I also found Orwell’s four motives for writing very interesting and accurate. I think delving further into these four motives from a journalist’s perspective would be a compelling angle for the “Why I Write” piece that we’ll have to do pretty soon.

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