#8 A letter to George Orwell

Dear Mr George Orwell,

This year is my first year of University and within my course this semester I am studying Twentieth Century Literature. In this unit, it is expected that there is a lot of different texts and writings that have to be analysed and interpreted. An area that I’ve never seemed to do well is linking. By that, I mean connecting the focal point throughout my own interpretations. I frequently choose the wrong words to communicate the focal connection and it often turns into a repetition of what I’ve already said.

Your piece; Politics and the English Language, spoke to me in more ways than one. This particular essay provokes the writers of the past and present day and has made me look over the work I have previously submitted at my time in University. Although you wrote this essay in the 40’s it still is a very timely piece for students of language like myself. Something that stands out to me is that you point out that you believe the English language has become “ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts”. Honestly, I didn’t really see it in that way prior to this statement. You offer practical advice to both famous and infamous writing, which is something; I believe no other writer could have interpreted better.

Identifying that most writers have constructed pieces that show the “staleness of imagery” through worn out comparisons and the inability to create fresh new ways of seeing things. As well as through one’s “lack of precision”. Recognising the meaning and having the incapability to express it or writing something that means something completely different.

For me personally, I believe I could be compared to a lack of precision. When writing my deep thought constantly gets side tracked. The result of this is that if a unique and thought-provoking idea appear in my mind it is extremely often that I end up portraying something different and not connecting it to the focus. Looking back on my writing, a key quote popped into my mind “Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes”. I was just as shocked to realise that maybe the reason my head floats into different places is because my “half-conscious” mind is taking me to another idea that I couldn’t even comprehend before.

Thank you for letting me read a piece that has made me appreciate the depth of language and how it should be treated.

With most admiration,




The Norton Anthology of English Literature: 20th Century (Beginning on Page 2610)