E. B. White

Start Free Trial

What is the central argument in E. B. White's Paris Review interview on the role and responsibility of the writer?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In E. B. White's Paris Review interview on the responsibility and role of the writer, he makes an argument that a writer should be socially engaged. He dances around this concept of authorship by beginning several statements with "A writer should. . . ."

Many of the ideas he has on authorship revolve around a symbiotic relationship between the written piece and the world around it; however, I think there is one sentence that could be understood to be the thesis:

The writer's role is what it has always been: he is a custodian, a secretary. Science and technology have perhaps deepened his responsibility but not changed it.

White believes that writers have a tie to the muck around them but have a duty to lift people up out of the muck rather than highlight its existence. He feels that it is a writer's duty to shape an event or problem with a viable way out.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team