Critical Analysis: Jan Moir’s ‘A Strange, Lonely and Troubling Death’

George Orwell, in his article The Politics of English Language, discusses why he believes that language should be used in its simplest form. He believed language was beautiful enough without having to burden it with layers of explanation. He argued that you should never use a metaphor, simile or other figures of speech.

Jan Moir’s ‘A Strange, Lonely and Troubling Death‘ is one of the most memorable and controversial articles of 2009, written shortly after Stephen Gately’s death in October. In her article, Moir used such language to hide the defamatory meanings of her article.

Instead of giving a clear statement, she “sugar-coated” her words so that they didn’t sound as cynical as they were meant. She used metaphorical language such as “live a life that is shadowed by dark appetites or fractured by private vices” to hide her opinion in what Orwell would describe as “dying metaphors.” Layering her opinion with flowery language in this way has disguised the vulgar points that she is making.

The only sympathy given in her article is to Stephen’s mother for still believing that it was “nothing more than a tragic accident.” She mocks how wrong it is to accept this by using imagery, for example “like a broken teacup in the rented cottage.”

Moir then uses innuendos to blame his death on the fact that he was homosexual. She dismisses that there were no suspicious circumstances and instead said his death “strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.”


Politics of the English Language by George Orwell (–.html [Accessed November 2009]

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