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George Orwell Essay, Research Paper

Table Of Contents

1) The life of George Orwell

A detailed chronological timetable of Orwell?s life.

2) The person George Orwell

His character, ideas and the typical topics he wrote about.

3) The most important literal works of George Orwell

4) Bookreports on some of his books.

a) Down And Out In Paris And London

b) 1984

c) The Road To Wigan Pier

d) Animal Farm

1) The life of George Orwell

1903Eric Arthur Blair is born on the 25th of june at Motihari, Bengal in India as the son of Richard Walmesley Blair (a civil servant) and Ida Mabel Blair.

1904In this year he is brought to England by his mother, where they

settle down in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

1908 – 1911Eric gets educated at Sunnylands, an Anglican school in

Eastbourne, Sussex.

1911He leaves Sunnylands and starts at St. Cyprian?s School.

1912Eric?s father retires from the India Civil Service and returns to England.

The family now moves to Shiplake near Henley.

1914Eric Arthur Blair gets his first work, Awake Young Men Of England

(poem), published.

1916Eric leaves the St. Cyprian?s School.

1917He starts at Eton College as King?s Scholar.

1921Eric leaves Eton College.

1922Eric Arthur Blair arrives in India as a recruit

for the Indian Imperial Police in Burma.

Serves there trough 1927.

1928 – 1929He lives now in Paris and workes as a dishwasher. In Ferbruary of 1929

he gets hospitalized because he suffers from pneumonia.

1930Eric workes as schoolmaster in London. He goes tramping in London

and its surroundings. He writes Down And Out In Paris And London which is rejected twice before it is published. He uses the pseudonym ?George Orwell? for the first time.

1933Orwell suffers again from pneumonia.

1934 – 1935In these years Burmese Days and A Cergyman?s Daughter are published. Orwell meets Eileen O?Shaughnessy, who was 30 at this point of time.

1936On the 9th of June he marries Eileen O?Shaughnessy. He also gatheres

information for The Road To Wigan Pier in this year. Keep The Aspidistra Flying is published and in December Orwell leaves for Spain.

1937He lives in Spain from January to June. George Orwell gets involved

into street fightings in Barcelona between the government and anarchist

troops. One day he gets wounded at the throat by a sniper. In March of this year The Road To Wigan Pier is published. There is a Left Book Club edition of 40.000 copies of this book.

1938Orwell comes into a tubercolosis sanatorium in Kent. Homage To

Catalonia is published in April. In September he goes to Morocco for his health.

1939 In this year Orwell?s father Richard Blair dies. George Orwell

comes back to England after his stay in Morocco. In June the book Coming Up For Air is published.

1940Inside The Whale gets published in March. In May he moves to

London. Orwell writes for Time and Tide and Tribune. In this year he

joins the Local Defense Volunteers (Home Guards).

1941 – 1943 The Lion And The Unicorn is published in February

1941. Orwell starts at the BBC as the Talks Producer

in charge of broadcasting to India and Southeast Asia.

In 1943 his mother dies. Orwell also starts his work on Animal Farm in this year.

1943 ? 1946 Orwell works as the Literary Editor of Tribune.

1944George Orwell finishes Animal

Farm. He and his wife Eileen

adopt a one month old boy,

whom they name Richard Horatio


1945Orwell is now a war correspondent for The Observer in Paris and

Cologne (March ? May). Death of his wife Eileen on March 29th. He

covers the first post-war election campaign (June ? July). Animal Farm is published in August after problems finding a publisher for this book.

1946Critical Essays is published in February. Orwell moves to Barnhill, Isle

of Jura in May. Animal Farm is elected ?the book of the month? in the USA and sells half a million copies there.

1947On Christmas Eve of this year Orwell enters Hairmyres Hospital, near

Glasglow, with tuberculosis of the left lung. Starts writing Nineteen

Eighty ? Four.

1948He returns to Barnhill and completes the revision Nineteen Eighty ?

Four by December.

1949George Orwell enters Costwolds Sanitorium,

Cranham, Gloucestershire in January. In June

Nineteen Eighty ? Four is published and sells more

than 400.000 copies in the first year. In September

he is transferred to University College Hospital in

London. George Orwell marries his second wife

Sonia Bronwell, an editorial assistant with Horizon,

in hospital (October).

1950George Orwell dies suddenly on the 21st of July in University College

Hospital, of a hemorrhaged lung. Buried in the churchyard of All

Saints, Sutton Courtnay, Berkshire as Eric Arthur Blair.

3) The most important literal works of George Orwell

His first work to be published was Awake Young Men Of England, which was a poem.

It came out in 1914 when Orwell was just 11 years old.

The next important work by George Orwell was published in 1930. It was called Down And Out In Paris And London. The original version of this book entiteled “A Scullion’s Diary” was completed in October 1930 and came to only 35,000 words because Orwell has used only a part of his material. In 1931 the London Chapters were added. One year later the title was first changed to “Confession of a Down and Out in Paris and London”, and then to it’s actual name. In the original manuscript Orwell used an ‘X’ for his name before he finally adopted his pen-name, ‘George Orwell’.

Between 1934 and 1935 Burmese Days and A Clergyman?s Daughter were published.

One year later Keep The Aspidistra Flying was published.

In 1937 The Road To Wigan Pier is the next important work to be published. In this

book George Orwell describes the bad conditions in which the coal-miners and their

familys had to live. Orwell also talks about Socialism and the English class system in

this book. He gathered the informations and his material for this book by living with

the miners families and visiting mining towns.It had a Left Book Club edition with

more than 40.000 copies.

Just one year later Homage To Catalonia was published. This book is about the

Spanish Civil War.

In 1939 Coming Up For Air was published.

In May of 1940 Inside The Whale came out.

One year later The Lion And The Unicorn was the next book to be published.

Animal Farm came out in August of 1945. It was very difficult for Orwell to get this politically brisant story printed, which was refused by several publishers, before it finally could be presented to the readers all over the world. One year later this book was very popular in the U.S.A., and so it was elected ?the book of the month? there, because of selling more than 500.000 copies.

1946 is the year in which Critical Essays was published.

The last book to be published was Nineteen Eighty ? Four. It came out in June 1949 in London, and sold more than 400.000 copies in the first year. Since 1954, this was when the first paperback of this book came out, it has been reprinted twenty ? six times. This book is also politically brisant, just like Animal Farm or The Road To Wigan Pier.

4) Bookreports on some of his books.

a) Down And Out In Paris And London


Down and Out in Paris and London is a documantary of the life of lower class people in Paris and London. Orwell shows up the social conditions of the so-called plongeurs (they are 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. It was even more than that, Orwell wasn’t only living amongst them, for these months he was even one of them.

The book consists of 38 chapters. The first 25 chapters are about Orwell’s experience as a plongeur in Paris, and the next chapters describe his experience as a tramp in England.

Orwells narration starts in the Rue Du Coq D?Or, a street in one of the slums in Paris. This was a very busy street and many foreigners lived there in very cheap hotels. Despite the dirt and the social problems there were also some respectable French people living in this quarter. Most of them owned tiny shops and bistros. In the evening the bistros were full and the people where drinking, singing and laughing there. Orwell wrote that he thinks this slum is a quite represatentive one for Paris.

Orwell stayed in the H?tel des Trois Moineaux, a very dirty place with many bugs. The other lodgers where foreigners of any trade, artists, navvies, students and prostitutes. Orwell earned his living by giving English lessons ocassionally. The money he earned with the lessons wasn’t enough, and one month before his savings came to an end he started looking for a job. He intended to become a tourist guide or something similar. But a piece of bad luck prevented this. A young Italian has robbed nearly all his savings (Later Orwell admitted to a friend that he wasn’t robbed by an Italian, but stripped of all his money by a girl. He did’t want to admit a relation becauce of his conservative parents). This was the time when Orwell’s real poverty begun. From this time on Orwell had to live on six francs a day.

He describes that poverty isn’t the way we expect it to be. We, who have never experienced real poverty, think that it must be terrible, it isn’t, it happens to be squalid and boring. Another problem is that you don’t dare to admit it, you have to pretend that you are living quite well. You have to waste desperately needed money on things you can’t afford, just to make people think that you are well off. These lies are expensive lies. He also describes that poverty and in consequence hunger degrade a man to “a belly with some additional organs”. Orwell lived three weeks like this, until his last savings were gone. From this point on, he had to live on his money that he earned with english lessons, this were thirty-six francs a week. He had no experience of being poor, and so he often handled the money bad and was a day without food. Sometimes he smuggled out some clothes to bring them to the pawn-shop, to get some money.

One day even the english lessons were canceled abruptly. At this point Orwell decided to pawn all his clothes, and to stop pretending being well of. At the pawn-shop he didn’t get the money he had expected, and so he left dissapointed, with no clothes, except what he stood in, and only little money left. Luckily some days later he recieved two hundred francs for a newspaper article he wrote, and so could afford to pay another months rent. Now Orwell realized that he had to look for a job. He went to visit an old friend, a Russian called Boris, who had promised him some help. Boris had fleed from Russia after the revolution , and has worked his way up to be a waiter. Boris was a former officer at the Russian army and therefore pleased about everything that had to do with soldiers. Boris often used to talk about the army and his dream of saving enough money as a waiter, in order to open an own restaurant.

So Owell went to visit Boris. But what he found there didn’t make him expect too much. The address Boris has given him was a tiny dirty little hotel in a narrow back-street. Orwell was very dissappointed when he saw that Boris was even worse off than himself. Boris was in this situation because he was injured at his leg, and therefore he was still a bit lame. In the afternoon Boris and Orwell went out to search a job. They went to a caf? which was used as an employment bureau. Young waiters, dishwashers, cooks and many more were sitting in the caf? with an untouched cup of coffee. Once in a while a restauranteur would come in and talk to the barman. The barman then would call a person. Boris and Orwell sat there for two hours (that was the maximum one could stay there) but they were never called. Later they heard that one had to give the barman twenty francs to get a job. They went to some other restaurants and caf?s, without result. In the next weeks they went around in Paris looking for a job. Everything went as bad as possible, and it seemed that they missed jobs by half an hour. Boris sometimes collapsed in the most utter despair. Then he would lie the whole day in bed cursing. The situation became worse and worse. In his despair Orwell even went fishing in the Seine, but he didn’t fish anything, that could feed him. At this point even Boris was completely out of money. He even had to flee from his room, because he couldn’t afford to pay the months’ rent. Boris pawned all his clothes, and so they could afford their first meal after having been three days without food.

b) Nineteen Eighty ? Four


The Story starts, as the title tells us, in the year of 1984, and it takes place in England or how it is called at that time, Airstrip One. Airstrip One itself is the mainland of a huge country, called Oceania, which consists of North America, South Africa, and Australia. The country is ruled by the Party, which is led by a figure called Big Brother. The population of Oceania is divided into three parts:

1.The Inner Party Members (app. 1% of the population)

2.The Outer Party Members (app. 18% of the population)

3.The Proles (the rest of the people)

The narrator of the book is ‘Third Person Limited’. The protagonist is Winston Smith, a member of the OuterParty, working in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, rewriting and altering records, such as newspaper-articles, of the past. The action starts when Winston develops critic thoughts against the ruling dictatorship of the party, for the first time. Doing so he buys himself a book, a rare thing these days, to use it as a diary. Having a diary was a crime, which could even be punished with death. There were so-called telescreens in each room, showing political propaganda. It had a built in camera and microphone, in order to spy on the people. Therefore keeping a secret book was not only forbidden, but also very dangerous. When Winston makes the first entry in the diary ,he thinks about an experience he has made during the Two Minutes Hate, a propaganda film, that was repeated each day. During this Film he caught the eye of O’Brien, a member of the Inner Party, of whom he thought that he might also stand critic to the regime, or that at least there is a bond of some kind between them. After the reflection, he finds that he has written the sentence :”Down with Big Brother” all over the page. In the same night Winston dreams about, his mother and sister, who had starved to death in the war because he had been so greedy. Then he dreams of having sex with a girl he has seen in the Records Department, during the Two Minute Hate. Early in the morning Winston is woken up by the harsh voice from the telescreen. During the performance of the exercises, Winston’s thoughts move back to his childhood. The last thing he remembers clearly, is the World War. After the WW the party has taken control of the country, and from then on it was difficult to remember anything, because the party changed the history permanently to their own benefit. After the exercises Winston goes to work, to the Minitrue (Ministry of Truth), where his job is to alter records, and once altered, to throw them into the Memory Hole where they are burnt. For example B.B. (Big Brother) has promised that there will be no reduction of the chocolate ration, but there has been one, so Winston has to rewrite an old article, where the speech of B.B. is written down. At dinner Winston Smith meets Syme, a philologist, who is working on the 11 th edition of The Newspeak Dictionary, Syme explains the main character of their work on this dictionary. During their conversation the telescreen announces that the chocolate ration has been risen to 20 g a week, whereas yesterday it was cut down to 20 g a week.Winston wonders whether he’s the only person with memory, that isn’t inflicted by Doublethink. As he looks around in the dining room he catches the eye of the dark-haired girl he had dreamed the same night. Back home again he makes an entry into his diary about his meeting with a prostitute three years ago. He rememberes her ugliness, but nevertheless he had sex with her. Winston had a wife, but she was very stupid and just following the orders of the Party, which said that there may only be Sex to produce children, “new material” for the Party, and that sex for the personal pleasure is a crime. Then Winston thinks about the Party, and believes that the only hope lies in the Proles who pose over 80% of Oceanias population. Later he remembers another fact of his past, Jones, Aaronson and Rutherford, the last three survivors of the original leaders of the Revolution. They were arrested in 1965, and confessed all kind of sabotage. On trial, they were pardoned and reinstated but not long after this, they were arrested again, and executed. During the brief period Winston has seen them in the Chestnut Tree Cafe. In the same year a half page torn out of The Times came to Winston trough the transport tube in the Minitrue. This page of The Times showed the three men in Eastasia on a certain day. But Winston remembered clearly that they have confessed being in Eurasia on that day (At this time Eurasia was at war with Oceania, and Eastasia was an allied). So Winston could proof that the confessions were lies. But Winston had sent this paper down to the Memory Hole. The last entry Winston writes in his diary is that freedom is to say that two and two makes four. If this is granted everything else follows. The next day Winston decides not to participate in the community actions, but to take a walk in the quarters of the Proles, around St Pancras station. During the walk a Rocket-Bomb explodes nearby. After a while Winston finds himself in front of the junk-shop, where he has bought the diary. There he sees an old man just entering a pub. He decides to follow the man, and to ask him about the time before the revolution, but the old man has already forgotten nearly everything about this time, except for some useless personal things. Winston leaves the pub and goes to the Shop, where he finds a pink piece of glass with a piece of coral inside which he buys. Mr Carrington, the owner of the shop, leads him upstairs to show him an old fashioned room. W. Smith likes the room because of its warmth and of course because there are no telescreens. When Winston leaves the shop he suddenly meets the dark-haired girl in the street. He now believes that this girl is an amateur spy or even a member of the Thought Police, spying on him. The next morning he meets the girl in the Ministry of Truth, and in the moment she passes, she falls down and cries out in pain. When Winston helps her up, she has presses a piece of paper into his hand. At the first opportunity he opens it and finds the startling message: “I love you” written on it. For a week he waits for an opportunity to speak with her. Finally he is successful, and he meets her in the canteen where they fix a meeting. Some time later they meet on the fixed place, there the girl gives Winston precise instructions how to get to a secret place on Sunday. It is Sunday and Winston is following the girl’s directions. On the way he picks some bluebells for her. And then finally she comes up behind him, telling him to be quiet because there might be some microphones hidden somewhere. They kiss and she tells him her name, which is Julia. She leads him to another place where they cannot be observed. Before she takes off her blue party-overall, Julia tells Winston that she is attracted to him by something in his face which showes that he is against the party. Winston is surprised and asks Julia if she has done such a thing before. To his delight she tells him that she has done it scores of times, which fills him with a great hope. Evidence of corruption and abandon always fills him with hope. Perhaps the whole system is rotten, and will simply crumb to pieces one day. The more men she had, the more he loves her, and later as he looks at her sleeping body, he thinks that now even sex is a political act, a blow against the falseness of the Party. Winston and Julia arrange to meet again. Winston rents the room above Mr Carringtons junk shop, a place where they can meet and talk without the fear of being observed. It is summer and the preparations for “Hate Week”, an enormous propaganda event, are well forthcoming, and in this time Winston meets Julia more often than ever before. Julia makes him feel more alive, she makes him feel healthier, and he even puts on weight. One day O’Brien speaks to Winston in the Ministry of Truth. He refers, obliquely to Syme, the philologist, who has vanished a couple of days before, and is now, as it is called in Newspeak an unperson. In doing so O’Brien is committing a little act of thoughtcrime. O’Brien invites Winston to his flat, to see the latest edition of the Newspeak dictionary. Winston now feels sure that the conspiracy against the Party he had longed to know about – the Brotherhood, as it is called – does exist, and that in the encounter with O’Brien he has come into contact with its outer edge. He knows that he has embarked on a course of action which will lead , in one way or another, to the cells of the Ministry of Love. Some days later Winston and Julia meet each other to go to the flat of O’Brien, which lies in the district of the Inner Party. They are admitted to a richly furnitured room by a servant. To their astonishment O’Brien switches off the Telescreen in the room.(Normally it is impossible to turn it off) Winston blurts out why they have come: they want to work against the Party, they believe in the existence of the Brotherhood, and that O’Brien is involved with it. Martin, O’Brien’s servant brings real red wine, and they drink a toast to Emanuel Goldstein, the leader of the Brotherhood. O’Brien asks them a series of questions about their willingness to commit various atrocities on behalf of the Brotherhood and gets their assent. They leave, and some days later Winston gets a copy of “The Book”, a book written by Emanuel Goldstein, about his political ideas. Now it is Hate Week and suddenly the war with Eurasia stopps, and a war with Eastasia starts. This of course meant a lot of work for Winston. He had to change dozens of articles about the war with Eurasia. Nevertheless Winston finds time to read the book. The book has three chapters titled, “War is Peace”, “Ignorance is Strength” and “Freedom is Slavery”, which were also the main phrases of the party. The main ideas of the book are:

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