It’s Inevitable

As I read through Orwell’s “Why I Write” essay, I was confused by the title. He notes his inherent need to write since childhood – in fact, he made up descriptive stories in his head throughout his youth. I thought the essay was much more focused on the subject of his writing. He states that if he had grown up in a different time, his writing would be the cause of sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, and historical impulse. However, due to the political turmoil of the time, his writing is driven by political purpose, which in effect changes the content of the writing and makes this essay an exploration of why he chooses the topics he does. If Orwell had grown up in a time without the global issues he faced, would his writing be largely recognized and read today? Would we place merit on him as a writer or would he be lost in the background? We see that according to Orwell, “It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects.” So is his writing inevitable, a product of a middle child with enough time on his hands to allow his imagination to run wild combined with a controversial time period?

Katie Koziara

During the school year, I can usually be found doing a few things: studying domestic health policy, working as a student coordinator for the Public Service Intern Program, exploring different restaurants around Ann Arbor, running my regular loop around the Big House, or catching up on one of my many, many favorite television shows.

One thought to “It’s Inevitable”

  1. I like the questions you bring up about inevitability and context. I took Orwell’s quote to say that our biases in the world completely shape our writing, and I think these circumstances do determine the success of not only writers like Orwell but artists in general. I read an article somewhere that used JK Rowling as an example of the sheer luck of the publishing industry, that even though her book published under a pseudonym received great reviews, it didn’t receive a fraction of the fame of Harry Potter until she revealed herself. I love Orwell and even though books like 1984 resonate as much today (and arguably more) I don’t know that they’d receive the same reception now. Makes me wonder what we’ll consider “classics” from this century?

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