What are other examples of Orwell using similes and metaphors in "Politics and the English Language"?Please include the rhetorical effectiveness of these devices as part of your answer.

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A first example occurs in paragraph 4 as Orwell writes:

the concrete melts into the abstract.

Concrete does not melt, therefore readers read this knowing it to be a comparison to something that does indeed melt. This serves to illustrate the point that a gradual, yet inevitable change is taking place.

Another example in the 4th paragraph occurs in these words:

phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.

Here, Orwell demonstrates the ineffectiveness of phrases which are often used to just fill the necessary space on a paper to be a complete piece of writing or speech. If a carpenter were to put together a well-built hen-house, he would select materials that fit each other perfectly and he would fasten the pieces together himself with precision. This simile compares writing to construction. Both processes are creative, but can be done either poorly or effectively. This simile gives a visual representation to the reading audience.

Orwell uses the pretentious nature of Latin derivitives to "haunt" and the need to look for solid language as the "hunt". These occur in paragraphs 7 and 11 respectively. These figurative uses of these words function to create a feeling or mood in the reader. This mood feels both overshadowing and labor-intensive as these figures of speech portray.

The simile

an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink

demonstrates a comparison that once again readers can visually relate with. The process of clearing a clogged sink is irritatingly frustrating. This provides a relatable example that helps portray overused stale phrases.

Orwell's rhetorical strategies of using similes, metaphors, and figurative language are highly effective because they both clarify his intended points and help persuade the reader that he is right. The abilities to relate and clarify meaning position readers to agree with Orwell.


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Politics and the English Language

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