George Orwell Essays Why I Write Homework Checklist Template
Here, for example, is his list of the national characteristics of the foreigners who make occasional appearances in this bizarre genre: Frenchman: Excitable. The Dickens essay was an attempt to worry away at why he was such a successful writer and is the longest in this collection.
But it is infused with the same spirit of personal engagement as everything else.
Because what the piece is really about, of course, is not the toad itself, but the thrill of that most promising time of year, the spring, even as seen from Orwell's dingy Islington flat. How one longs for him to have lived long enough to be let loose on the lads' mags culture of the early twenty-first century. The abundance of the mass media offers a greater choice than ever.
When he produced articles like this, hair-shirted fellow socialists got cross. We are adrift in a sea of newspapers, magazines, radio, television and limitless cyberspace.
Then he reveals in the last sentence that he had killed the elephant ''solely to avoid looking a fool". It is hard to imagine many people less suited to the job of an imperial policeman than Orwell.
It is that amazing ability to make you believe that you would have felt as he felt that is his genius. When he first sees the elephant, which is said to have run amok, it is standing, beating a bunch of grass against its knees, ''with that preoccupied grandmotherly air that elephants have".
Take Shooting an Elephant, which recounts an incident during his time as a policeman in Burma. In the seconds after pulling the trigger the beast remains standing, but ''a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant... He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old".
For his caustic piece on Boys' Weeklies he evidently immersed himself in mountains of the things. Sometimes it is the choice of subject matter: how many journalists can write with any authority on what is like to queue to be let into an overnight shelter for the homeless? He can write a 60-page essay on Charles Dickens which frequently seems to be tending to a conclusion that he was a sentimental old fool, but then come to an unexpectedly affectionate final judgment.
The result is a piece so deft and witty that it has you laughing out loud. You have travelled with him on his journey and are rather startled, and pleased, to discover where you have ended up.