Mixed Up Essay S

"My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice," he explained in "Why I Write." Orwell believed that there was more bad writing than good: "Vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose," he bemoaned in his classic 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language." Orwell offers a number of recommendation to think and write clearly.For example, he said writers should always prefer the active voice over the passive.

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"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness," he wrote in "Why I Write." Orwell's novels and essays are clear and meditative and wonderfully structured, but he worked hard to make it all seem so easy.

Reading Orwell is like skating on ice, but he worked for hours getting his sentences to where he wanted.

Make things new, he asked, even if that requires the hard work of looking at the world with fresh eyes and writing with fresh language.

Orwell demands that writers think concretely, not in vague abstractions that lead to cloudy writing. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly" and then look for precise words to describe the object.

He suggests in "Politics and the English Language" that writers eliminate needless words (cut out the fat), prefer shorter words to longer ones (in other words, don't write to impress your reader), and avoid jargon as much as possible, preferring to translate said jargon into layman's language.

There's a lot more that Orwell teaches about writing, but you can read him for yourself.

The conclusion being, say, that Ahab in Moby Dick was a Christ-like figure. So I'm going to try to give the other side of the story: what an essay really is, and how you write one. Mods The most obvious difference between real essays and the things one has to write in school is that real essays are not exclusively about English literature.

Certainly schools should teach students how to write.

But due to a series of historical accidents the teaching of writing has gotten mixed together with the study of literature.

And so all over the country students are writing not about how a baseball team with a small budget might compete with the Yankees, or the role of color in fashion, or what constitutes a good dessert, but about symbolism in Dickens.


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