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Why I Write

Team 1 ( Nadia Jessica and Nadia Ivonne).- Orwell describes his literary exercise of
keeping a sort of diary existing only in the wind. He quotes an example of the content of
this continuous story about himself.
Identify this part and discuss:
A. How does the writer regard the style of his prose?
B. What seems to be its dominant characteristic?
C. Do you think that meticulous descriptive prose usually adds to or detracts from a
piece of writing? Why? What did Orwell mean by saying that in his later years he
tried to write less picturesquely and more exactly?
D. What does Orwell mean when he says that as he grew old he stopped writing
purple passages?

Team 2 (Ariel and Zayra)- Orwell states that in a peaceful age I might have written ornate
or merely descriptive books.
A. According to Orwell, what mainly determines an authors subject matter?
B. What personal experiences and political events influenced the direction of his
C. How does the last stanza of the poem written in 1935 express his dilemma?
D. After the Spanish Civil War and other events of 1936-7, what became Orwells
major reasons for writing?
E. How does he explain his desire to make political writing into an art? What does he
maintain about his work even when it is downright propaganda?

Team 3 (Ximena and Daniela) .- Orwell says by the time you have perfected any style of
writing, you have always outgrown it.
A. From your own reading, do you think this is necessarily true of every serious
writer? Why? Can you name any writers who at some point in their careers seemed
to have perfected their styles, but nevertheless went on to write in a different style?
What reasons might have led them to make the changes?
B. When you look back on something youve thought or written years before, how do
you generally react?
C. Orwell claims that every book is a failure. Whose point of view is he expressing?
Why doesnt the inevitability of failure seem to discourage him? How does the
word demon explain the mystery involved in the horrible, exhausting struggle
to write a book?
D. What does Orwell mean when he states that good prose is like a window pane?

Theme for all teams.
Discuss the work of a writer whose writing has been affected by world events and who has
taken a specific political stand. Relate his similarities or differences with Orwells position
as a writer in this essay.

Politics and the English Language

Team 1.- (Bertha, Sebastian and Roberto)
Look carefully at Orwells five examples of bad prose. Would you have identified this
writing as bad writing if you had come across it in the course of your college reading?
What do the examples remind you of? Try to define for yourself one or two new categories
of misuse that have evolved as language and culture have evolved and bring examples.

Team 2.- (Ian and Juan Carlos)
What characteristics of Orwells own writing demonstrate his six rules for writing good
prose? Can you identify five examples in which Orwell practices what he preaches? Can
you identify any moments when he seems to slip? What tendencies toward the misuse of
language do you recognize in your own writing?

Team 3.- (Edgar, Jos Eduardo and Sergio)
Why Politics and the English language? What are the sources of Orwells concerns about
the misuse of language? Noting that he wrote the essay in 1946, what political concerns in
particular do you think gave rise to his essay?

Team 4. (Betsy and Mnica)
Note that Orwell does not provide positive examples of political expression. Why do you
think this is so? Is Orwell implying that all political languageregardless of party or
positionis corrupt? From this essay can you infer his political philosophy? Explain.

Theme for all teams.

Do we have the same concerns today? Where in contemporary culture do you see problems
with the misuse of language? Find one or two examples of each of these misuses of
language from contemporary discourse (that is, from the language you are immersed in
from newspapers to textbooks, advertisements to novels....) and bring them for your