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The Broadview Reader Essay

1191 words - 5 pages

The Broadview ReaderIntroductionThe Broadview Reader is a collection of selective essays on a variety of themes that intrigue ones mind. One such theme in the compilation is 'Language and Communication' which pulls on the reader's rationality while emphasizing the outcome of language manipulation. In particular two essays stand out, George Orwell's Politics and the English Language and Russell Baker's 'Little Red Riding Hood Revisited.' In essence both pieces demonstrate how language can be contorted and distorted to twist the meaning of the simplest of things.While Orwell takes a direct style in listing down the number of problems with the use of language in modern times, Baker uses a subliminal method. Even with the given differences in the approach to the topic, their work still demonstrates the same basic theme. Orwell's critique of the use of the English language goes hand in hand with Bakers satire on the same subject. There are several points of arguments made by Orwell that are reflected in the writing style of Baker.Use of LanguageBoth writers through their essays show us that the use of language can change the meaning, perception and reception of a piece. Language has the power to inform the reader or confuse him. There are two ways in which a modern writer can completely make a mess out of a piece of writing. He can either use extremely complicated terminology in hopes of giving his piece depth and value but only end up confusing his reader, or he can purposely play with his words to 'slant' the meaning of the text to influence the reader.The confused writerBoth writers show that at times when composing an essay or an article, the author in trying to sound sophisticated and intelligent actually ends up with the opposite effect; instead of being impressed the reader is often left confused about the subject matter of the piece. Baker demonstrates this fact by giving us his version of the children's story by making use of modern jargon to revise the tale. For example "Little Red decided a retrograde movement was in order and hung a left, resulting in a bay window where once there had been bare wall. Shedding granny's flannels, the wolf gave chase and was closing when a heretofore unnoted third party came upon the scene…" (Baker, cybersonique.org) here a simple scene is turned into a jumble of words which seemed to make no real sense, in order to understand the lines, some may even have to consult a dictionary or a thesaurus at frequent intervals. The otherwise simple language of the story is set aside for the 'sophisticated version' which not only confuses the reader but may also bore him.In his essay Orwell outlines the same problem of overcomplicating a simple thought by giving us two different translations of a verse from Ecclesiastes:"I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of...

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