His purpose in the analysis is to show “the special connection between politics and the debasement of language.” Orwell maintains that, in his time, political speech and writing are “largely the defence of the indefensible.” That is, the actions of ruthless politicians can be defended, but only by brutal arguments that “do not square with the professed aims of political parties.” He gives examples of the British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, and the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan.
In this way, abstract language becomes a means for political writers to “justify unjustifiables.” He presents a list of tools that can be used to resist dishonest language.
Orwell sees the use of honest language as political act in itself, a form of resistance against insidious and widespread manipulations of rhetorical structures.
When a person becomes lazy they allow their language to think for them.
In this way, political writers end up following a party line.
He presents a list of corrupting habits that cause writers to think poorly and thus write poorly.
The list includes unoriginal or mixed metaphors, pretentious diction, and abstract or meaningless language.
As an instrument, language can be manipulated for various purposes.
As Orwell will show, language can also manipulate those who use it unconsciously.
He moves on to present different examples of language that reflect different habits of thinking.
He selects examples from different academic texts, political pamphlets and a letter to the editor of the .