George Orwell Essay, Research Paper
Biography Report In any writer’s life, there are many important people who can affect the writer’s work. In George Orwell the Political Pen, By Keith Ferrell, the headmaster of St. Cyprian and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan Wilkes influenced Orwell’s works. The British author George Orwell, pen name for Eric Blair, was born in 1903 in the Indian Village Motihari. At the young age of eight, Eric Blair was packed off to boarding school at St. Cyprian’s where he was an outsider. He was one of the very few scholarship students among wealthy children of upper class. Blair learned quickly enough, under the unwavering guidance of Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan Wilkes, St. Cyprian’s had developed a regimen for the boys designed to strengthen their characters, to instill in them the harsh discipline they would impose on them. The school master and his wife used kicks and caresses to keep the boys in line. Mrs. Wilkes dominated school life far more than did her husband. She was constantly on patrol, walking up and down the halls in search of boys transgressing the school’s strict rules. Those boys would be penalized severely. St. Cyprian instilled maturity in its students, and the students were expected to display maturity from the day they arrived. Anything less was a denial of their class and responsibilities. There was also a feeling at St. Cyprian’s that the boys’ mail was closely scrutinized by Mrs. Wilkes, and that comments which reflected poorly upon the school would not only be censored, but would also bring down punishment on the letter writer.
In academic matters, lessons were taught by rote, with memorization rather than understanding. The teachers and administrations were less concerned with whether or not the students actually understood the material than they were with whether or not their charges would be able to give the correct answers on the tests they would face when trying to get into a prestigious public school, as private high schools are known in Britain. Therefore, the students were not taught, but were handed facts to be memorized to pass the entrance exams. Since Eric Blair thrived on true learning, this school was not for him. He could not bear to tell his parents about the school since his parents were struggling so much to pay the tuition. These experiences were George Orwell’s first taste of dictatorship, for he was being helpless under the rule of an absolute power. Orwell transferred these feelings of hatred for unquestioning obedience to authority to Winston Smith, who in Nineteen Eighty Four, finds himself trapped in a harsh totalitarian world where the Party tries to control everything, even thought and emotion. However, unlike Winston Smith, who was defeated by society and his own weaknesses, George Orwell’s life was ended with triumph. In conclusion, Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes put George Orwell through the unique experiences of his school life, which he uses to create the living nightmare in the novel Nineteen Eighty Four.