Orwell’s focus on seeking and writing about injustice is comical, for his original aspiration as a writer was to write romances as fate chose differently for Orwell. As his political books and essays would be what he was known for, his writing being examples of political writing at its peak, few writers today would go to war and live like tramps for their beliefs and truly stand for their ideals, but Orwell was different. When he goes to write, he does not think, “I am going to produce a work of art.”.(Why I Write p.6) He writes because “there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” (Why I Write p.6) He does this by exposing in ways rarely seen in modern writing that the stories he writes about live. He does not just stand on the sideline gathering evidence from others and writing about it. He takes steps to see the problem entirely and make as many people aware of it as possible.
My father worked in journalism for a few years in New York and Vancouver. He describes that he started writing at the tail end of freelance investigative journalism when writers were given time and money and told to bring back a story worth the time and money. These stories would be a deep dive into a topic that the writer would spend months investigating. This is similar to the experiences Orwell had during his time as a policeman or living in a spike. This type of writing was where the romance in journalism came from traveling the world, spending months in conflict zones or train surfing or uncovering secrets, or writing about a revolution or just in an unknown part of the world. Examples can be seen in Ida Tarbell’s writing about standard oil or David Halberstam’s writing in Vietnam, Bertil Lintner’s writing about the atrocities in Burma during the civil war, and his talking with his colleagues in the US embassy bar. This idea of being an investigator set free on the world to chase stories you wanted to tell and tell the people back in your home country how the world works and usually given lots of time and money to do it was appealing to a particular group of people. This type of in-depth experience collecting that Orwell and others practiced for a living was popular among readers. While not pioneered by Orwell, this type of writing would be significantly influenced by him.
This is what appeals to me the most about Orwell. He can make not entirely accurate events feel grounded and written in a style as if they were real experienced events written about in a newspaper or magazine. His essays, mainly comprised of fact and his own first-hand experience mixed with a bit of fiction, are written with his grounded style and as convincingly and as plainly as possible despite the ongoing events adding to the realism. This became a signature of Orwell wrote with clarity, directness, and simplicity. This gives a convincing effect making his thoughts your own and making nothing feel like it’s filtered through the writer before you read it. His writing seems more like journalism than essay writing. This serves wonders for the events; you feel like none of them are exaggerated or made up, making his point even more convincing. His ability for Orwell to convince you of an idea or concept through plain language and a mix of his own experiences and fiction is the best quality of Orwell’s writing style.