George Orwell

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George Orwell was the alias of the English writer Eric Arthur Blair, who was born on the 25th of June, 1903 in Mothari, India. The year after his mother Ida moved with him and his older sister back to England, while the father Richard remained in India, where he worked as an agent in the Opium Dept. of the Indian Civil Service for the British Empire. He stayed there until his retirement in 1912. The Blairs led a relatively privileged and fairly pleasant life. Orwell later described them ironically as “lower-upper-middle class”.

In his essay Why I write, 1947, he explains he has known that he must become a writer ever since the early age of five, or maybe six. At school he won many scholarships, hence upgraded himself from school to school, finally ending up at the famous public collage Eton. There he finished as no.138 of 167 and neglected to win another scholarship to either Oxford or Cambridge, where students usually goes after Eton. Instead he joined the Indian Imperial Police. He served in Burma for five years, but resigned in 1927 while home on leave; for two reasons. First: he still wanted to become a writer. Second: he didn’t support the political system in Burma. Links between his writing and his political ideas were already beginning to show.

Back in London he found an apartment in Portobello Road, where he started teaching himself how to write. In 1928 he decided to live among the poor and so did in London at first and then in Paris, where he worked as a dishwasher. The reason for this was that he wanted to get rid of a type of loathing that was typical for his class. 1930 his book Down and out in Paris and London, based on his experiences, was published under an assumed name; it was his attempt to become a new person, namely the class less anti-authoritarian George Orwell. The book was a documentary on life not known to the English middle class, of which he was a member, and he wanted to show them what was right under their noses.

In 1936 he opened a village shop and married Eileen O’Shaughnessy, he also wrote The road to Wigan. At the end of this year he went to Spain where he stayed for two years until he became ill with tuberculosis and went to Morocco for the winter. 1941 he started working for BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), and in 1943 he left them to become literary editor for Tribune, while beginning to write Animal Farm, which is one of the two works he is most famous for. In 1944 he adopted a son, but the next year his wife tragically died during an operation.

Late in 1945, after being in Europe to report on World War II, he moved to Scotland, where the weather was very bad for his tuberculosis. In spite of this he managed to write his most famous novel there, Nineteen Eighty four, but later admitted that the cold climates effect on his disease probably had a lot of influence on the book as well. It is from this book the well known expression “Big Brother is watching” comes, which refers to the au...

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marie bjelmehag [2003-12-28]   George Orwell
Mimers Brunn [Online]. http://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=2586 [2017-05-22]

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