, Research Paper
Eric Arthur Blair (later George Orwell) was born in a small village near the border of Nepal. At that time India was part of the British Empire, and Blair’s father, Richard, held a post as an agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Cicil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair, was about eighteen years younger than his father. His family was described by some as being “lower-upper-middle-class.” They owned no land or any extensive investments. At the age of thirteen, Eric won a scholarship to Wellington, and then later to Eaton, the famous private school. Eric finished the final examinations at Eaton at 138th of 167. He did not get a scholarship to a college, so he joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. He later resigned and moved to London. There he decided to live with the poor on the street and write about it in a book. The book was titled Down and Out. After two other works were rejected from the publisher, he wrote Burmese Days, a book based on his experiences in the colonial service. He later moved to Wallington, Hertfordshire and opened a small shop, where he did business in the mornings, and wrote in the evenings. There he met Elieen O’Shaughnessy, whom he later married. In 1936 he moved to Spain and joined a militia to fight against the Fascist movement. He wrote down things that would happen to him on the battlefield. He had to hide these papers so he would not be accused of being a Fascist. He fled the country to France with his wife. In 1938 he moved to Morocco and became ill with tuberculosis. While there, he wrote a couple more books. Later, his wife died due to complication from an operation. Orwell became a producer of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Two years later he resigned. In 1945 he moved to the island of Jura, where he wrote 1984. Later that year he married Sonia Bronwell, but died five years later.
1984- The plot has three main movements, corresponding to the division of the book in three parts. The first part, the first eight chapters, creates the world of 1984, a totalitarian world where the Party tries to control everything, even thought and emotion. In this part Winston develops his first unorthodox thoughts. The second part of the novel deals with the development of his love to Julia, someone with whom he can share his private emotions. For a short time they create a small world of feeling for themselves. They are betrayed, however. O’Brien, whom Winston thought being a rebel like himself, is in reality a chief inquisitor of the Inner Party. The third part of the novel deals with Winston’s punishment. Finally he comes to love Big Brother. Generally, the plot is very simple: a rebel, a love affair with a like-minded, capture, torture, and finally the capitulation. Apart from Julia, O’Brien, and of course Winston, there are no important characters there is no attempt to create a range of social behavior, and the complex personal interactions therein, all traditional concerns of the novel. Indeed, one of Orwell’s points is that life in 1984 has become totally uniform. So the traditional novel would be unthinkable. In fact Winston is the only character worth writing about; all the other characters are half-robots already. So one could say that the plot was built around Winston’s mind and life. This gave Orwell the opportunity to focus on the reaction of the individual to totalitarianism, love, and cruelty.
Animal Farm- The story takes place on a farm somewhere in England. The story is told by an all-knowing narrator in the third person. The action of this novel starts when the oldest pig on the farm, Old Major, calls all animals to a secret meeting. He tells them about his dream of a revolution against the cruel Mr. Jones. Three days later Major dies, but the speech gives the more intelligent animals a new outlook on life. The pigs, who are considered the most intelligent animals, instruct the other ones. During the period of preparation two pigs can distinguish themselves, Napoleon and Snowball. Napoleon is big, and although he isn’t a good speaker, he can assert himself. Snowball is a better speaker, he has a lot of ideas and he is very vivid. Together with another pig called Squealer, who is a very good speaker, they work out the theory of “Animalism.” The rebellion starts some months later, when Mr. Jones comes home drunken one night , and forgets to feed the animals. They break out of the barns and run to the house, where the food is stored. When Mr. Jones recognizes this he takes out his shotgun, but it is too late for him, all the animals fall over him and drive him off the farm. The animals destroy all whips, nose rings, reins, and all other instruments that have been used to suppress them. The same day the animals celebrate their victory with an extra ration of food. The pigs made up the seven commandments, and they write them above the door of the big barn. The animals also agree that no animal shall ever enter the farmhouse, and that no animal shall have contact with humans. These commandments are summarized in the simple phrase: “Four legs good, two legs bad.” After some time Jones comes back with some other men from the village to recapture the farm. The animals fight brave, and they manage to defend the farm. Snowball and Boxer receive medals of honor for defending the farm so bravely. Also Napoleon who had not fought at all takes a medal. This is the reason why the two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, often argue. When Snowball presents his idea to build a windmill, to produce electricity to the other animals, Napoleon calls nine strong dogs. The dogs drive Snowball from the farm, and Napoleon explains that Snowball was in fact cooperating with Mr. Jones. He also explains that Snowball in reality never had a medal of honor, that Snowball was always trying to cover up that he was fighting at the side of Mr. Jones. The animals then start building the windmill, and as time passes on the working-time goes up, whereas the food ration declined. Although the “common” animals have not enough food, the pigs grow fatter and fatter. They tell the other animals that they need more food, for they are managing the whole farm. Some time later the pigs explain to the other animals that they have to trade with the neighbor farms. The common animals are very upset. After the revolution, there has been a resolution that no animal shall make trade with a human. The pigs ensured that there never has been such a resolution, and that this was an evil lie of Snowball. Short after this decision the pigs move to the farm house. The other animals remember that there has been a commandment that forbids sleeping in beds, and so they go to the big barn to look at the commandments. When they arrive, the 4th commandment has been changed to: “No animal shall sleep in bed with sheets.” The other commandments were also changed: “No animal shall kill another animal without reason,” or “No animal shall drink alcohol in excess.” Some months there is a heavy storm that destroys the windmill, that is nearly finished. Napoleon accuses Snowball of destroying the mill, and he promises a reward to the animal who gets Snowball. The rebuilding of the mill takes two years. Again Jones attacks the farm, and although the animals defend it, the windmill is once again destroyed. The pigs decide to rebuild the mill again, and they cut down the food ration to a minimum. Someday Boxer breaks down. He is sold to a butcher, whereas Napoleon tells the pigs that Boxer has been brought to a hospital where he has died. Three years later the mill was finally completed. During this time Napoleon deepens the relations with the neighbor farm, and one day Napoleon even invites the owners of this farm for an inspection. They sit inside the farmhouse and celebrate the efficiency of his farm, where the animals work very hard with the minimum of food. During this celebration all the other animals meet at the window of the farm, and when they look inside they can’t distinguish between man and animal.
Down and Out in Paris and London- Down and Out in Paris and London is a documentary of the life of lower class people in Paris and London. Orwell shows up the social conditions of the so-called plongeurs (cheap and unqualified workers in restaurants, hotels etc.) in Paris, and of the tramps in London. By joining these people, and living amongst them, Orwell generates a very realistic view. Orwell wasn’t only living amongst them, for these months he was even one of them.
The book consists of 38 chapters. The fist 25 chapters deal about Orwell’s experience as a plongeur in Paris, whereas the next chapters describe his experience as a tramp in England.
Homage to Catalonia- This is an autobiographical account by George Orwell of his experience as a volunteer for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, published in 1938. Unlike other foreign intellectual leftists, Orwell and his wife did not join the International Brigade, but instead enlisted in the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista; POUM). The book chronicles both his observations of the drudgery of the daily life of a soldier and his disillusionment with political infighting and totalitarianism.