There is beauty to a multi-faceted essay. George Orwell’s work on grammar has been a pillar for creative writing and English 101 classes. There are some solid lessons: (1) strike unnecessary words, (2) focus on the point, cut to the heart of your message, (3) never rely on overwrought metaphors, and (4) use smaller words whenever possible. There is also the category of throw-away words. Eventually. Essentially. Well, you get the idea. With an absent mind, we toss these out often. This is an ode to Hemingway, veiled. If you take a moment to consider the lessons, this is an overused and oft-cited essay. These lessons can be found in stacks of textbooks.
Oh, there are many lessons …
Why did Orwell rise to prominence while so many others drifted into the winds of history?
And, oh, what is wrong with the passive voice? Nothing, when used properly.
Yet, what makes this lasting is that this isn’t an essay just on writing. He breaks all of his own rules for a reason. It’s the political message and warning that language and ideas are dangerous. That’s the multi-faceted meaning of good work. You can read these years later and find something new. Today, it may be even more meaningful. It’s why Gatsby is considered by many to be the perfect novel. As you grow, you learn and think about everlasting works in a far different light.
- The picture was snapped in a local bookshop, 1984 endures but the author was so much more.
- And yes, our rhetoric matters. Those in the public sphere should push back on hyperbole driving clicks and money.