George Orwell’s Writing style

In Orwell’s essay, “Why I Write”, He talks about what motivates him to write and how his background lead to his very unique style of writing. He talks about his style being politically motivated messages delivered in a strongly aesthetic manner.

“When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. But I could not do the work of writing a book, or even a long magazine article, if it were not also an aesthetic experience. Anyone who cares to examine my work will see that even when it is downright propaganda it contains much that a full-time politician would consider irrelevant. I am not able, and do not want, completely to abandon the world view that I acquired in childhood.”

I found that the more aesthetic and artistic side of Orwell’s writing is seen most prominently in “1984” during the “too good to be true” phase of Winston and Julia’s relationship, where they become increasingly careless in their planning as they meet and make love in various “hiding spots”. During these scenes Orwell is intensely descriptive, allowing the reader to visualise the setting down to the smallest detail. This reflects Winston’s own thinking, too, as when he is with Julia he is happiest and therefore notices more small beauties in a world which is otherwise mundane and grey.

“By degrees the flood of music drove all speculation out of his mind. It was as though it were a liquid that poured over him and got mixed up with the golden sunlight that filtered through the trees. He stopped thinking and merely felt. The girl’s waist in the bend of his arm was soft and warm. Her body seemed to melt into his. Wherever his hands moved it was all as yielding as water. They moved their faces apart again and both of them sighed deeply. The thrush took fright and fled with a clatter of wings”.

This is a reflection of his earlier writing, for example Burmese Days, in which he was not as strongly political and more focused on creating vivid imagery and using words “partly just for the sake of their own sound” as he states in Why I Write.

I find Orwell’s merging of political passion and a passion for words and their beauty fascinating. Because of it, 1984 never becomes tedious to read, as is common with texts thick with philosophy and ideology. Every time the text becomes philosophical or lofty in Winston’s wider ideas about society, Orwell seamlessly brings the reader back to the present with delicately crafted images of the immediate environment, meaning the reader never loses interest or is lost in the thoughts that are sometimes irrelevant to the drama or story of the text.

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