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George Orwell’s “Why I Write” Critical Essay


In his essay “Why I Write” (1946), George Orwell presents the discussion of his development as a writer. The essay is autobiographical. It can be divided into three parts.

The author’s childhood is described in the first part of the essay. The author pays attention to his first experiences as a writer and notes that he always knew about his future as a writer. Orwell discusses his early writing experiences in detail and accentuates the progress which led him to the profession of writer.

It is important to pay attention to the fact that Orwell always had the creative imagination, and he was sure that the other persons also could imagine their lives in vivid pictures and stories. The second part is the discussion of the writer’s attributes or motives.

Orwell states that there are four great motives for writing which are typical for any writer. Orwell discusses sheer egoism, the writer’s aesthetic enthusiasm, pays attention to the historical impulse, and focuses on the political purpose.

In spite of the fact these motives can be presented in different proportions, all of them can be used to characterize a writer. The third part of the essay reflects Orwell’s personal motives in writing and the development of his style which is rather public-spirited” because Orwell wanted to reflect the social issues in writing (Orwell par. 15).

Following Orwell’s motives, it is possible to state that all writing is political to some extent because the political purpose is always present in writing. According to Orwell,no book is genuinely free from political bias” (Orwell par. 9).

That is why, writing can be discussed as political in general sense because accentuating definite social aspects, the author always refer to the political background in detail or generally, with references to the purpose of writing. Orwell states that writers intend to “alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society” (Orwell par. 9).

Thus, it is possible to conclude with references to Orwell’s ideas that writers also have the intentions which can be discussed as political ones.

In his essay, Orwell uses rhetorical appeals to persuade the audience and realize the purpose of writing to present the story of becoming a writer with pointing the reasons. Ethos is realized with references to the fact that George Orwell is the famous writer that is why his discussion about the writer’s motives can be considered as credible.

Moreover, Orwell distinguishes between “serious writers” and their motives and journalists in order to support the reliability of his statement (Orwell par. 6). Pathos is presented in vivid descriptions of the author’s first writing experiences, and the emotional appeal is obvious from the first lines of the essay when Orwell stresses, “from a very early age …

I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer” (Orwell par. 1). Furthermore, the author accentuates that writing is a kind of challenge and draws the audience’s attention to the fact that writing is a “horrible” and “exhausting” struggle which resembles the “painful illness” (Orwell par. 15).

Moreover, Orwell uses logos in order to provide his considerations with necessary reasoning and states that the background information is helpful for presenting the complex picture of the writer’s development (Orwell par. 5). The next method is the depiction of autobiographical situations which contributed to Orwell’s writing on democratic socialism (Orwell par. 11).

Works Cited

Orwell, George. Why I Write. 27 Nov. 2012. Web.<>.

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1. IvyPanda. "George Orwell’s “Why I Write”." June 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/george-orwells-why-i-write/.


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IvyPanda. 2019. "George Orwell’s “Why I Write”." June 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/george-orwells-why-i-write/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'George Orwell’s “Why I Write”'. 24 June.

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