Rhetoric And Politics In Orwell's "Politics And Thesis

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Communication - Language Type: Thesis Paper: #69977055 Related Topics: Time Warp 3, Politics, Metaphor, English Language
Excerpt from Thesis :

Rhetoric and Politics in Orwell's "Politics and the English Language"

In his essay "Politics and the English Language," George Orwell uncovered the way language contributes to the reinforcement of certain political ideas. According to Orwell, sloppy language contributes to poor thinking, which in turn further degrades language and allows language to be deployed in the service of violence and repression. Considering this process underlines how language ideologically circumscribes the possible beliefs of any given group by encouraging and discouraging certain modes of thought.

The relationship between thinking and language is reciprocal, such that language "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts" (Orwell, 1946, para. 2). Reversing this vicious cycle of linguistic and mental degradation is necessary, because Orwell argued that "most people who bother with the matter at all would...


2). The first problem is what he called "dying metaphors," which are "a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves" (Orwell, 1946, para. 5). These degrade the English language because they warp the meaning of metaphors, such that "some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact." For example, the metaphor of "the hammer and the anvil" is "now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it" even though "in real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about" (Orwell, 1946, para. 5).

The second habit permeating the English language is "operators, or verbal false limbs," which includes using the passive voice instead of the active, and nominalizations instead of gerunds (Orwell, 1946, para. 6). "Pretentious diction" is a more obvious problem, and includes those phrases…

Sources Used in Documents:


Orwell, G. (1946). Politics and the English language. Retrieved from http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/essays/politics-and-the-english-language.htm

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