George Orwell and Frederick Douglass: Views on English

In his work, George Orwell discusses the main issues of the modern English language in relation to the politics. He states that with the course of time English lost its power to transfer a particular meaning to the audience, and is mainly used to create a vision of some idea instead of expressing it directly. The author believes that politics can influence people’s minds in this why. The negligence of the language, often observed as staleness of imagery and lack of precision, makes individuals provide ‘foolish thoughts’. The writing, especially political one, is full of figures of speech, long meaningless words and phrases, specific terms and other things that make the text more difficult to perceive. As a result, people grasp only specious ideas, they do not realize that the present political chaos is affected by language and can be improved with its help.

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I believe that the George Orwell reading is good and useful for individuals who want to improve their writing skills and to see what happens to the language. It reveals the drawbacks of English language, underlying the reasons that cause them and the outcomes, to which they lead. In this paper, Orwell does not only state his mind. The author provides several examples taken from the real printed sources and analyses them for the readers to see his point of view. He also designs a list of rules that should be followed to improve the language and states when they can be broken, which is of advantage. The structure of the paper and various ways to emphasize information (italics, enumeration, etc.) make it easier to perceive the reading. Still, it would be better if Orwell supported his views with the ideas of other scientists for the information to look more authoritative.

In his paper, Frederick
Douglass describes the way he learned to read and write when he was a little boy. The author states that his mistress has never encouraged such development and was always angry when suspected him of reading a newspaper or a book, as it was offense
to
teach
slaves
to
read at that time. Still, the boy took some bread when going outside and asked white fellows to teach him. From the very beginning, he was happy to obtain such skills but soon realized that they were a
curse
for him, as he understood more but was not able to change anything. However, once he read about the
abolitionists, his mind altered. The boy decided to learn to write. He learned letters when writing the parts of the ship and then started copying texts.

It is a great piece of writing, as it describes how being determined can change one’s life. Frederick
Douglass made this paper very appealing, adding emotional colouring. He depicted not only the way he learned writing but also described the time and environment, in which he lived. The writing is rather motivating. It encourages the readers to move forward and make their dreams come true. Still, this paper does not have a particular practical usefulness, as the described situations are not commonly seen nowadays. It seems to be more advantageous for people who are willing to get to know something about the times of slavery or the life of the author than for individuals who are looking for some advice on how to learn to read and write.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'George Orwell and Frederick Douglass: Views on English'. 8 May.

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