“Why I Write” by Hallie Parker

Similar to George Orwell, from a very young age, I knew I was destined to be a writer. In my spare time, instead of playing outside or watching children’s television, I wrote creative original short stories having to do with anything and everything. It started with a black sketchbook I received one year for Chanukah, which at the time seemed physically larger than I was. It barely fit in my desk drawer, and ended up serving no purpose other than cluttering my space. It was then that I knew writing, rather than drawing, was my true calling.

Orwell’s habits as a child strike me as touching. He felt isolated and undervalued, and as a result, stirred up imaginary conversations and created made-up stories. He wrote poems and other literary pieces to escape bad thoughts, war, etc. One might find this rather strange or even silly, which in some ways it is; however, in my opinion, it is more so understandable and respectable. Writers, just as Orwell had done, find unique and atypical ways to cope with problems in life. In my opinion, writing is an outlet for expression, for personal escape, and for the indulgence in imagination and fictional ideas. In these ways, Orwell used passion to deal with larger problems.

I found Orwell’s “four great motives for writing” to be witty and thought provoking. Orwell views writers in a very contradictory and two-sided way. He sees them as egoists, moneymakers, and those who want to seem clever in the minds of others. On the other hand, he sees them as those who seek out beauty, unveil and provide factual information to the public, and are enthusiastic about telling particular stories and livening the lives of others.

Transitioning to Didion’s piece, I found the way in which he described writing as an “aggressive and even hostile” act to be very intriguing. He claims, however, that you can hide this aggressiveness through the way you write (ie: which clauses, words, tones you use). After reading Didion’s piece, I agree with the way in which he frames writing. Writing is an act we can control, an act we have complete power over, and an act that can in turn control its intended audience in return.

Lastly, I can strongly relate to Didion’s claim that a writer is “a person whose most absorbed and passionate hours are spent rearranging words on pieces of paper.” Most of the time, writing consumes me. I work to perfect my writing, not because I need to, but because as a writer, I want to. I believe writers share a collective and unspoken passion that is understood by all, one that allows words to influence their lives.“Why I Write” Reponse by Hallie Parker

2 thoughts to ““Why I Write” by Hallie Parker”

  1. Didion is a female but I agree with you that when she said writing is “aggressive and even hostile,” is interesting. I think writing is an act as well, and just like a form of art, a way to express and understand life. I also agree that writing is often disguised in clauses, rhetoric, tones and more to hide its aggressiveness and sometimes meaning in general. However, I thought Orwell’s four great motives for writing was pretentious and eluded to how conceited I think he is personally. I was personally not impressed by his essay.

  2. I find your description of Orwell using his passion to cope with larger problems extremely interesting. I initially viewed Orwell’s work as pessimistic in relation to larger society, however, his writing gave him something more. While reading his “four great motives for writing”, I pegged Orwell as an egoist. Instead, your perspective has opened my eyes to the possibility that Orwell used this immense creative energy to release something that he just simply had to. While I still do not believe that this essay was anywhere near one of Orwell’s best works, I understand his perspective on a deeper level than I had before.

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