Politics and the English Language Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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In his essay "Politics and the English Language," how does George Orwell himself use rhetorically effective similes and metaphors?

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A metaphor is a comparison that does not use the words like or as while a simile is a comparison that does use the words like or as.

In the first paragraph of his essay, Orwell uses several similes to describe how his critics perceive his defense against abusing language. According to them, he is indulging in sentimentalism and wants to bring language back to archaic or outdated usages. Since "sentimental archaism" is an abstract term, however, Orwell uses similes to make clear what he is saying:

It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes.

Comparing what his critics think he is doing to preferring candles to electric lights or old fashioned cabs to planes paints a vivid picture in our minds. Orwell is practicing what he is preaching, which is the use of precise, fresh language.

Later in the essay, Orwell states:

he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one...

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