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George Orwell Essay Research Paper Eric Arthur

George Orwell Essay, Research Paper

Eric Arthur Blair was born in 1903 at Motihari in British-occupied India. While growing

up, he attended private schools in Sussex, Wellington and Eton. He worked at the

Imperial Indian Police until 1927 when he went to London to study the poverty stricken.

He then moved to Paris where he wrote two lost novels. After he moved back to England

he wrote Down and Out in Paris and London, Burmese Days, A Clergyman’s Daughter

and Keep the Aspidistra Flying. He published all four under the pseudonym George

Orwell. He then married Eileen O’Shaughnessy and wrote The Road to Wigan Pier.

Orwell then joined the Army and fought in the Spanish civil war. He became a socialist

revolutionary and wrote Homage to Catalonia, Coming Up for Air, and in 1943, he wrote

Animal Farm. It’s success ended Orwell’s financial troubles forever. In 1947 and 48,

despite Tuberculosis, he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four. He died in 1950 (Williams 7-15).

George Orwell’s life has influenced modern society a great deal. In

1903, Eric Arthur Blair was born. Living in India until he was four, Blair and his family

then moved to England and settled at Henley. At the age of eight, Blair was sent to a

private school in Sussex, and he lived there, except on holidays, until he was thirteen. He

went to two private secondary schools: Wellington (for one term) and Eton (for four and

a half years). After Eton, Blair joined the Imperial Indian Police and was trained in

Burma. He served there for nearly five years and then in 1927, while home on leave,

decided not to return. He later wrote that he had come to understand and reject the

imperialism he was serving. He was stuck between the hatred of the empire and rage

against the native people who opposed it, which made his job more difficult. Blair, on

his first six months of release, traveled to eastern England to research the poor. In Spring

of 1928, he took a room in a working-class district of Paris. He wrote two novels, which

have been lost, as well as publishing a number of articles in French and English. He

became ill with pneumonia, worked ten weeks as a dishwasher and kitchen porter, and

returned to England at the end of 1929. He used his parents’ home in Suffolk for writing

and earned money from occasional articles and teaching. Blair then completed several

versions of what was to become his first book, called, not by his choice, Down and Out in

Paris and London. The book was a record of his experiences, but “If it’s all the same to

everybody, I would prefer [it] to be published pseudonymously”. Discussing the

publication of his first book with his agent, he decided on three possible pseudonyms:

Keneth Miles, George Orwell and H. Lewis Allways. He favored George Orwell. The

Orwell is a river in Suffolk, south of his parents’ home. “George Orwell” published his

first book in 1933. Down and Out… was followed by the novel Burmese Days, published

first in the United States rather than in England because of his English publishers fear of

it’s giving offense in Burma. After Burmese Days came two more novels: A Clergyman’s

Daughter, published in 1935; and Keep the Aspidistra Flying, published in 1936. In the

Spring of 1936 he moved to Hertfordshire and married Eileen O’Shaughnessy, an Oxford

graduate in English, a teacher, a journalist, and later a London graduate in psychology.

Orwell’s reputation at this time was based mainly on his accounts of poverty and

depression. His next book, The Road to Wigan Pier was written for the Left Book Club

and started his career as a political writer. Much of this book was composed of an essay

on class and socialism, which was Orwell’s first statement of his political position. In

July, he left for Spain to fight (and write) in the Spanish civil war. For the next two or

three years, Orwell became a revolutionary socialist. When he returned from war , he

wrote Homage to Catalonia and in the winter of 1938, wrote Coming Up for Air. In 1941

he wrote London Letter’s and in August joined the BBC as a talks producer in the Indian

Section of the Eastern Service. Later in the year, he began writing Animal Farm. It did

not appear until August 1945, at the end of the war. He and his wife adopted a son in

1944, but in 1945 his wife died during an operation. Animal Farm’s success ended

Orwell’s financial worries that he had suffered from for twenty years. In 1946, he settled

in Jura, Scotland, with his younger sister as housekeeper, though he returned to London

for the winter. During 1947, in the early stages of renewed tuberculosis, he wrote the first

drafts of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In 1948, amid several attacks, Orwell wrote the second

draft. In September, 1949, he went into a hospital in London, and in October married

Sonia Brownell. In January 1950, Eric Arthur Blair, AKA “George Orwell”, died.

(Williams 7-15) WORKS In 1933, Orwell wrote Down and Out in Paris and London.

This was his first book. It is the record of a young man’s (most-likely Orwell’s)

experiences with poverty in Paris and London. It did very well for a first novel. In most

ways it was a long, autobiographical essay on poverty. (Wykes 71-72) Orwell’s second

novel was Burmese Days. It was an account of Orwell’s experiences working for the

Imperial Indian Police in Burma. For fear of insulting Burma, this novel was published

first in the U.S. rather than in England. (Wykes 44) His next two novels were A

Clergyman’s Daughter and Keep the Aspidistra Flying. A Clergyman’s Daughter,

published in 1935, is the journey of Dorothy Hare. A journey of escape and

self-exploration (Wykes 4). Keep the Aspidistra Flying, published in 1936, is a novel

about middle-class decline and compromise (Wykes 7). Orwell regarded these novels as

failures. The Road to Wigan Pier, written for the Left Book Club in 1936 was Orwell’s

fourth novel. This book started Orwell’s life-long career change to political writing. The

first part of this book is reporting on the poor and unemployed. The second part is an

essay on class and socialism, as I mentioned before. It was the first statement of Orwell’s

political position. (Wykes 50-60) Homage to Catalonia, Orwell’s fifth novel, completed

his break with the orthodox left. It is an attempt to tell the truth about war from Orwell’s

point of view. The genre to which this book belongs was later defined by Orwell as the

“Political book…a sort of enlarged pamphlet combining history with political criticism”.

Orwell came to believe that Homage to Catalonia was the best book he had ever written.

During winter in 1938, Orwell wrote his sixth novel Coming Up for Air. It is the

discovery of George Bowling, that his boy-hood home has changed like everything else.

It is regarded as his best novel (with the exception of Animal Farm and Nineteen

Eighty-Four). It illustrates in great detail, the fact that everything peaceful eventually

becomes corrupt. After Coming Up for Air, Orwell wrote one of his most-loved novels,

Animal Farm. It is the “fairy story” of an animal revolution on the Manor Farm, The

animals create a socialistic republic in which “Some animals are more equal than others”

(Orwell). The book an allegorical essay on the Russian Revolution. By the end of the

book the pigs disobey the laws of “Animal Farm”, but as they do so, they change the laws

to fit their needs. Animal Farm is a spiritual parody of the Communist Manifesto (Calder

5-20) Animal Farm was followed by Orwell’s eighth and last novel, Nineteen

Eighty-Four. Another of Orwell’s best novels, 1984 is the story of Winston Smith. Smith

is a member of a totalitarianist party ruled by the god-like Big Brother. There is no

freedom, privacy or choice. No friendship or love. There is only love for Big Brother. It is

the story of Smith’s secret rebellion from the party through love, sex, free-thought and

choice. It is said to be Orwell’s greatest achievement (Calder 74-88). CRITISCISM This

is the kind of book I like to read, where I get the truth in chapters of real life…”, writes

W.h* Davies about Down and Out in Paris and London. Daniel George for the tribune

says, “Much of it is, I should judge, written from first-hand knowledge.” Hames Farrell

comments “[Orwell’s] account is genuine, unexaggerated and intelligent” (Meyers 39-49)

About Burmese Days, an anonymous author writes, “Burmese Days, by George Orwell is

symptomatic of the reaction against conventional portrayals of Burma as a land of

tinkling temples bells, gentle charming Burmans, and strong silent Englishman”. For the

Fortnightly, G.W. Stonier observes, “Burmese Days is another novel, and I recommend it

to all those who enjoy a lively hatred in fiction” (Meyers 50-57) About Orwell’s next

novel, A Clergyman’s Daughter, Peter Quennel writes “A Clergyman’s Daughter is

ambitious yet not entirely successful”. Michael Sayers comments “George Orwell is a

popular novelist sensitive to values that most other novelists are popular for ignoring”.

For the Commonweal, Geoffrey Stone reports, “…in A Clergyman’s Daughter, [Orwell]

arranges circumstance so that the pessimistic conclusion will seem inevitable” (Meyers

58-64) “Mr. Orwell’s new book, bitter almost throughout and often crude is also all about

money,” writes William Plomer of Keep the Aspidistra Flying. Cyril Connoly, for the

New Statesman and Nation, writes, “The book is the recital of [Orwell’s] misfortunes

interrupted by tirades against money and the spiritual evil it causes”. An unsigned notice

in the Times Literary Supplement states, “If this book is persistently irritating, this is

exactly what makes it worth reading; few books have enough body in them to be

irritants” (Meyers 65-90) Walter Greenwood writes about The Road to Wigan Pier, “Mr.

Orwell has the gift of writing vividly, of creating in the mind’s eye a picture of the scene

described.” “Of Mr. Orwell’s book, there is little to say except praise…,” comments

Arthur Calder-Marshall. “It takes an ugly section of British life, and it forces us to

confront it for what it is,” writes H.J. Laski (Meyers 91-118) “Homage to Catalonia is… a

book which is at the same time a work of first-class literature and a political document of

the greatest importance,” reports Geoffrey Gorer. John McNair for the New Leader,

writes, “There have been many books written on the Spanish civil war, but none

containing so many living, first-hand experiences as this” (Meyers 119-151) “Mr. Orwell

writes with hard, honest clarity and unanswering precision of feeling,” states of Coming

Up for Air, an unsigned notice in the Times Literary Supplement. John Cogley for the

Commonweal, writes, “George Orwell, a hard man, is frankly sentimental about the

world he knew as a boy”. “Coming Up for Air, written in 1938, reverts to the journalistic

style of ease and understatement, the disquietude of Burmese Days worked out of it

(Meyers 152-190). “..it is a devastating attack on Stalin and his ‘betrayal’ of the Russian

revolution, as seen by another revolutionary,” writes Cyril Connoly on Animal Farm.

“The story is very well-written, especially the Snowball episode, which suggests that the

communist ‘Trotskyite’ is a conception on much the same plane as the nazi

‘jew’…,”writes Northrup Frye for the Canadian Forum. Isaac Rosenfield for the Nation,

writes, “George Orwell, to judge by his writing, is a man, not without imagination, who is

never swept away by his imagination.” Of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Fredric Warburg

comments, “This is amongst the most terrifying books I have ever read”. “Mr. Orwell’s

latest book, Nineteen Eighty-Four, can be approached either as a political argument or as

an indictment of materialism cast in fictional form,” writes Harold Nicolson. “Mr.

Orwell is in every way similar to Huxley, especially in his contempt for people, in his

aim of slandering man,” reports Isaac Anisimov for the Pravda.

George Orwell is one of the most beloved and respected authors in history. His

works speak out against money, hypocrisy, poverty and injustice. His style has

influenced many modern authors and will, most definitely, influence many more authors

to come.