Why I Write by George Orwell

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The reasons why a man or a woman write and what make them a writer or a poet, are multiple and unusual, extravagant, irrelevant, rebellious and tender. To the question of why to write, the writers can respond it in many different ways. Some do it to understand, others for literature by vocation, vital need, desire for immortality or to be able to live other lives.

Many writers start to reason and think about life and their interest; interest like writing. But sometimes for many writers, even if they have a reason, they find it hard to stay motivated to write because they don’t have a clear idea of what motivates them to put their ideas on paper. However, every writer has a definite purpose in which they can express themselves and give their knowledge about the subject. George Orwell was raised, like many, why to writing. However, he wanted to delve into that mystery and in 1946 he published his essay ‘Why I Write.’

Thirty years after Orwell, Joan Didion, a respected essayist, wrote her essay ‘Why I Write,’ which is the same title as Orwell. But that they share the same title doesn’t mean that they think or write in the same way. Orwell and Didion both share their experience in their writings, but a more in-depth examination reveals several substantial differences such as their reason for why their write, what motivates them to write and what is their purpose.

There are several reasons why men and women decide to put their thoughts on paper and make them stories. It is obviously that Orwell and Didion share the same thought of why to write, but each one has a different answer or thought. In the center of the essay, Orwell states, ‘I write it because there is some lie that I want to draw attention and my initial concern is to get a hearing’ (Orwell 6). For George Orwell, the main reason he writes is to emphasize a situation in which many people ignore or simply are not fully informed, to be able to express his point of view, and to make people interested in what they don’t know.

In the middle of her essay, Didion says, ‘I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means’ (Didion). It is pretty simple why Didion writes. Didion writes to answer all of her curious questions in detail. Writing gives her the opportunity to express her thoughts, ideals, and emotions onto paper. Many writers write for a reason, and that reason motivates them to continue doing what they are most passionate about. Each writer is different, but there must be more than one motivation to continue writing.

According to Orwell there are four motivates to devote to literature. Orwell believed that they are sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. Orwell said during his early years, ‘I am a person in whom the first three motives would outweigh the fourth’ (Orwell 4). Saying that Orwell is motivated by the desire to be remembered, the desire to share a valuable experience, and the desire to be fair in what he writes.

However, the events of the Spanish American War swayed him to write politically. In her essay, Didion provides a motive for writing not mentioned by Orwell. She recalls that in college she found it difficult to process her thoughts, which were seemingly random and abstract. Didion writes, ‘I knew I could not think. All I knew then was what I could not do. All I knew then was what I was not, and it took me some years to discover what I was ‘(Didion). Didion took some time to find her motivation to dedicate herself completely to writing, which made it difficult for her to think and clarify her ideas. Every writer has a reason and a motivate to write.

But what makes a writer unique from others is to be clear about the purpose of what he or she wants to write or what is his or her passion to sit in a chair for hours and let the words flow. Orwell and Didion both have different purpose in writing, in the sixth page, Orwell remarks, ‘What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art’ (Orwell 6). For Orwell, his purpose of writing is political content, so he, as a writer, wants to broaden society’s perspective on politics. In the center of her essay, Didion states, ‘What is going on in these pictures in my mind?’ (Didion). Didion’s purpose is not immediately clear but on examining it more, it is clear that her purpose is to write down her personal experience and that she is instead concerned about expressing the pictures in her head, not some complicated theory of writing.

Orwell and Didion both share their experience in their writings, but a more in-depth examination reveals several substantial differences such as their reason for why their write, what motivates them to write and what is their purpose. Each of them has a different way of thinking and seeing their ideas, and that is what makes them different in certain ways. Orwell and Didion share some similarities, but, as they share similarities they also have several differences from the reason they write to the purpose of what they write. They, as writers, try to give meaning to what they write, but of course, they will do it in their own way.

Personally, I think Orwell’s essay gets the job done better than Didion’s. His work, to me, resonates more and leaves more of an impact in my mind than Didion’s just by reflecting his reason to write. Didion is obviously doing something different than Orwell’s, she describes her personal life and experiences in much greater detail, giving her essay a more personal, and at times aesthetic feel.

Cite this paper

Why I Write by George Orwell. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/why-i-write-by-george-orwell/

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