SEMINAR REFLECTION – GEORGE ORWELL

The first of this term’s lectures discussed the significance of the storytelling techniques used by George Orwell in his autobiographical work Down and Out in Paris and London. This work explores the events the narrator experienced as a homeless man in one of the world’s busiest cities. Most importantly, the narrator is the author himself. This new technique of writing became a great topic of discussion amongst critics, who argued that such stories cannot be classified as journalistic work as it is not fully factual and objective. Including the author’s perspective is one of the key principles that you must avoid doing as a journalist. Hence why Orwell’s usage of storytelling techniques was subject to scrutiny; it could not be accepted as being journalism due to it being too similar to fictitious work. Moreover, readers found it difficult to differentiate fiction from nonfiction. However, during our seminar we discussed that Orwell’s blurring of the boundary between fact and fiction was not at all a weakness of the work. As students we agreed that Orwell’s work was greatly written and much easier to understand compared to usual academic work that we read. However, we said that one must be aware that not 100% of the work is factual and that some details may be made up for entertainment purposes, for example to dramatize certain matters throughout the novel. Orwell’s piece ‘Why I write’ was one of his inspirational works that explained why he chose that particular style of writing. Additionally, it was the piece that all aspiring journalists in my seminar highly praised.

 

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