George Orwell in his essay “Why I write”, written in 1946 and published in London, addresses the reasons that made him become a writer and eventually sets four main general principles that are the main drive force for every piece of writing. “I write it 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.” By showing his inner drive to write he portrays a greater picture about writing as he shows how one writes consciously about what concerns one’s feelings and subconscious thinking. The four main principles of writing that Orwell presents in his essay are sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse and political purpose.
In addition for each of these principles the author gives a thorough explanation. Sheer egoism stands as a principle for all the writers that tend to show off their ability to write and to express in a high fashion of writing. Aesthetic enthusiasm stands as a principle for writers which have the desire to share an experience and feelings. Historical impulse stands as a principle for writers which tend to make an important point for the next generations. Political Purpose stands as a principle to show political background to the occurring situation in a broader context of meaning. The principles of writing that Orwell presents in his essay “Why I write” are exemplified in his two stories “A Hanging” written in 1931 and “Shooting and Elephant” written in 1936 where both reveal the experience of the author as a police officer in Burma, a political purpose which is imperialism and its effects on humans, a historical impulse which is British colonies period and the aesthetic enthusiasm as the author reveals his feeling about his personal experience.
The most apparent principle of writing in both short stories is the political purpose. In “A Hanging” the political purpose is evident as the story is presented in the period of time when Burma was a British colony. As the author narrates his own experience he shows how he was a British officer in one prison where many Burmese people where executed due to the law of death penalty. He relates the political purpose by presenting imperialism as a dehumanizing rule over weaker countries. “There was a clanking noise, and then dead silence. The prisoner had vanished, and the rope was twisting on itself...I found that I was laughing quite loudly. Everyone was laughing.” By referring to him and then the group of people that were laughing after an execution of a man, the author implies the evil human nature that in order to keep one’s duty and one’s position one could even feel satisfaction at someone’s tragedy.
On the other hand, in the short story “Shooting and Elephant” the political purpose is also presented through the system of imperialism and the impact that it had on human nature. The high significance of duty, authority and power are again presented as the main lust and greed of human...