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form and folly


            We have all seen it; as well we are all guilty of it. The crime I talk about is not one of any grave importance to the majority of us. However, it is a crime punishable by an even more horrific penalty than death. The penalty: being branded ignorant. The crime: bad grammar, or worse yet bad sentence structure. I myself am guilty of the most insulting atrocity in the "bad grammar book," the dreaded I as part of a formal essay, it is as one might say my Achilles" heal. I guess I shouldn't complain. We are all programmed from the grade we first learn the alphabet to learn and follow the "simple" rules of English. Nonetheless I have never taken kindly to being told how to write. In his essay Politics and the English Language, George Orwell describes the decline of the English language. Conveniently he also explains to everyone who reads his essay, how to write. That is if they want to write without "making nonsense of the whole passage" (27). He attributes the majority of the decline to four major topics. The topics are dying metaphors, operators or verbal false limbs, pretentious diction, and last but not least meaningless words. He further suggests that the major contribution factor to the use of the above topics is politics. This essay will examine the use of language in a political speech by President George w. Bush on the topic of the threat of Iraq. It will accomplish this by looking at the different topics Orwell stated that are responsible for the decline of the English language included this speech. .
             When I started reading this speech I was immediately struck, because if the writer of the speech was following the rules laid down by Orwell he would have forced himself to stop almost as soon as he had begun. Vagueness, pretentious diction, dying metaphors, and meaningless words are riddled though out the speech like a horribly woven tapestry. To begin, we will look at pretentious dictation.


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