Write a letter thanking George Orwell for his amazing insights into how we might shape the future of the world by taking more care of our own writing habits.
Dear George Orwell,
I am a first year University student currently studying Twentieth Century Literature. Studying this course inevitably comes with a lot of writing; whether it is an essay or just a rambling of thoughts. One area of writing I have struggled with since earlier years of education is structuring sentences clearly. I often have too many thoughts that I try to communicate, usually leaving the sentence to be too chaotic to the ear, resulting in a misunderstanding of communication.
I must highly commend you for your thought-provoking essay; Politics and the English Language, as reading it seemed to have unlocked the barrier that contains my thoughts from paper. Sometimes, if I cannot gather my thoughts and present them into words, I would construct a sophisticated-sounding sentence and hope that the reader would understand, and your words spoke directly to this thought, “underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.” Wow! It has come to my realisation that despite how many thoughts I have, if I do not have control over the way my words shape them then it is just as poor as having no initial thought.
The way you used different pieces of writing from various authors to express the struggle writers experience in today’s day and age also helped me relate on a personal level. It is clear that some of these writers had a distinct point but lacked the skill and knowledge to communicate it.
This is a risky topic to write about; critiquing one’s writing skill must be done so in correct writing style yourself in order to avoid contradiction and hypocrisy, and I believe you have mastered the act of criticizing one piece as well as your own. This thought was conceived by the words, “as soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consist less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.”
You mention here how it is a struggle for writers to think of originality in their writing directed by the words that they use, and you have done so in a way with words like, ‘hackneyed’, ‘prose’ and ‘concrete melts’, which could all easily be replaced with words more common to everyone’s basic knowledge.
This text is one of authority; it sets the standard for how a writer should address issues. I am thankful for having had the opportunity to read this text but also quite saddened that this opportunity is not available to all. If every human being read this text and this text alone, I believe our words would be used correctly and with more precision, ultimately evoking decisive meaning. You clearly demonstrate that we are in charge of how language transforms, not that we are submissive to language as a superior culture.
Thank you for this piece.