What I Learned

I learned from George Orwell that the events I encounter (and will encounter) in my life dramatically influence the ways in which I express my thoughts and ideas. I found that the experiences that 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. This is one task I struggle with on a daily basis.

One statement that stuck out to me in particular stated 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, which subconsciously causes him or her to impart innate personal biases.

Thus, in order to fully understand a writer’s perspective, a reader must be sure to question how and why the author derived the content he or she created. I, like Orwell, believe you cannot fully grasp 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 agree with. In addition, I believe a writer, regardless of the platform he or she chooses to use, must ensure that the content disseminated is presented in a way that will allow a reader to fully understand the context and tone at which he or she is trying to establish.

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