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George Orwell. Reflections on Gandhi and Freedman Speech are taken through a point-by-point comparison and the author gives the reader a chance to see likenesses and similarities in both ideas and writing styles. There were two sources used to complete this paper.
DIFFERENT MESSAGES YET THE SAME
Throughout the years, historians and authors alike have used their skills to persuade the audience of certain truths as they see them. If we look back in history, we will find that different people often produced similar schools of thought at different times for different reasons. One of the most classic examples of this occurrence would be the Freedman Speech, by Frederick Douglass and the Reflections on Gandhi, by George Orwell. Each of these works reflect similar styles of writing, as well as similar points of admiration as well as critical thought toward the hero in question. While Douglass and Orwell discuss heroes of their time, in President Lincoln and Gandhi, they also use the works to point out some of the fallible qualities of each man. When one holds the works side-by-side, one will see that each man admired the person he spoke of but took care to uncover their humanistic qualities as well. The comparison of the two works illustrates the fact that great leaders combine heart and head when driving society to make positive changes.
In each of the works that are studied the reader is given the opportunity to uncover the human side of those being evaluated. Gandhi was well-known as a legend for his emotional and human attachment to not only his beliefs, but also his desire to better the world for all who inhabited it. Abraham Lincoln however, was not always known for his diplomacy or emotions. Each of the works compared here highlight the author's belief that the man in question did indeed have humanistic and similar characteristics, which they used in their professional and leadership roles. Orwell opens his dialogue with the questioning of Gandhi's motives.
"In Gandhi's case the questions on feels inclined to ask are: to what extent was Gandhi moved by vanity - by the consciousness of himself as a humble, naked old man, sitting on a praying mat and shaking empires by sheer spiritual power - and to what extent did he compromise his own principles by entering politics, which of their nature are inseparable from coercion and fraud? To give a definite answer one would have to study Gandhi's acts and writings in immense detail, for his whole life was a sort of pilgrimage in which every act was significant" (Orwell, pg 1). However, as the reflections continue Orwell illustrates the evidence of the humanistic qualities that Gandhi possessed. One of the examples he uses to do this is the example of the immense influence that he had. Gandhi truly was successful in self-actualization, which involved reaching his full potential as an interactive human being (Orwell pg 1). This is displayed in his life and works as Orwell points out throughout the essay.
Frederick Douglass also develops the audience understanding of the humanistic foundation from which Abraham Lincoln operated when he gave his speech that was published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1866. It was titled Reconstruction and in it Douglass uncovered the humanistic qualities he felt Lincoln displayed during his term.
"The strange controversy between the President and the Congress, at one time so threatening, is disposed of by the people. The high reconstructive powers which he so confidently, ostentatiously, and haughtily claimed, have been disallowed, denounced, and utterly repudiated; while those claimed by Congress have been confirmed (Douglass pg1)." This passage helps to underscore the self-actualization that had been achieved by Lincoln that was so solid he could plant himself firmly between the two factions and remain an admired leader of the people.
The authors of these two works use a similar tactic when further exposing the humanistic qualities of the men in question. Orwell reminds the reader that Gandhi had a bone to pick with the British and much of his works may have stemmed from the desire to prove himself right. In like methods Douglass points out to the reader that Lincoln stood against many who did not support his beliefs and defied Congress in the act.
Each author was successful in the attempt to show the men…[continue]
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