George Orwell: Rebel with a Cause

George Orwell was born under the name Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in India among the sahib class (a term used in colonial times to address Europeans). His father was a British official in the Indian Civil Service, while his mother, a Frenchwoman, was the daughter of an unsuccessful teak merchant in Burma. Coming from a middle-class background, Orwell later referred to this class as "the landed gentry without land," describing people whose social aspirations did not match their income. He was raised in a somewhat snobbish atmosphere.

He spent his early years relatively carefree in India until the age of four when he was sent to school in England. There, due to both poverty and his brilliant mind, he stood out from his peers. His family hoped that George, because of his intelligence, would "succeed in life" and help them regain their lost wealth.

Orwell stated that as a child, he was lonely and due to his inappropriate behavior, unpopular at school. He grew up to be a sullen, withdrawn, and eccentric young man.

“Like any other lonely child, I used to invent characters and have conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued.” - George Orwell

Instead of graduating from college, Orwell decided to follow the family tradition and went to Burma in 1922, where he worked as an assistant superintendent in the Indian Imperial Police. He soon realized how the British imposed their will on the Burmese and became increasingly ashamed of his position as a colonial policeman.

He left Burma, and upon returning to Europe, in an attempt to redeem himself and alleviate his guilt, he began to live the life of the poor and marginalized. He wore shabby clothes and stayed in cheap lodgings in London with workers and beggars, and for a time, he lived in the slums of Paris, where he worked as a dishwasher in hotels and restaurants.

Orwell's aversion to imperialism led him not only to personally reject the bourgeois way of life but also to a political realignment.

Right after returning from Burma, he began to call himself an anarchist, and later, during the 1930s, he considered himself a socialist.

Orwell's literary journey began during his time on the Asian continent. His experiences in Burma exposed the cruelty of colonialism, and he began writing essays that exposed the differences between the British ruling class and the local population. This was a harbinger of the strong social and political criticism that would become the hallmark of his works. He later compiled his thoughts from that period into the book "Burmese Days."

Additionally, one of the transformative chapters in Orwell's life was his participation in the Spanish Civil War. The decision to join the fight against fascism was evidence of his unwavering commitment to ideals.

His experiences during that period were documented in the autobiographical work "Homage to Catalonia."

In Spain, he witnessed power struggles, wartime propaganda, and the persecution of dissenters. These themes would become central to his later masterpieces "Animal Farm" and "1984."

Orwell's writing style is typically concise and clear. He intentionally avoids the use of figurative language and unnecessary words.

In his essay titled "Politics and the English Language," Orwell offers six rules to improve one's writing:

Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Never use a long word where a short one will do.

If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Never use the passive where you can use the active.

Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

George Orwell was married twice. In one of his letters, Orwell's first wife, Eileen O'Shaughnessy, complained to a friend, saying, "I haven't written before because we've been having the most appalling and violent quarrels." Later, she continued in a similar tone: "I thought I'd save myself trouble and write one letter to everybody after the murder or the divorce." George didn't speak much differently about his marriage. In a letter to a former lover, he admitted to being unfaithful to Eileen at times, among other things, saying: "I wasn't very nice to her. And I think she wasn't very nice to me sometimes, but it was a real marriage because we went through some awful struggles together, and she understood all about my work." Together, they adopted a son, Richard Horatio Blair, and Eileen tragically died during an operation at the age of 39.

In the fall of 1949, shortly before his death, Orwell married Sonia Brownell.

Orwell died of tuberculosis at the age of 47. He was buried under his real name, Eric Arthur Blair.

Works by George Orwell:

"1984" is a dystopian novel that presented George Orwell's terrifying vision of the future. The author modeled the imaginary totalitarian state after the Soviet Union during Stalin's reign and Nazi Germany under Hitler. The main character, Winston Smith, is an employee of the Ministry of Truth, where he does what the ruling regime demands of him. However, despite the manipulations and mortal danger, he tries to resist and think for himself. The book is one of the most provocative and important works of world literature, and today its themes are probably more relevant than ever.

"Animal Farm" is a satirical novel that mocks Stalin and Soviet totalitarian communism. The book tells the story of a group of farm animals who overthrow and drive away their exploitative human masters, establishing their own egalitarian society. In the end, the intelligent and powerful leaders of the animals, the pigs, subvert the revolution. Concluding that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others," the pigs create a dictatorship even more oppressive and soulless than the one established by humans.

In the preface to "Animal Farm," Orwell also criticized the state of affairs in Great Britain, but this was censored.

"Homage to Catalonia" is George Orwell's account of his experiences and observations during the Spanish Civil War. The author recounts the revolutionary fervor in Catalonia, his boredom on the battlefield, the bullet he received in the neck while stationed on the front line, and his escape to France. The book represents the struggle against fascism and communism, but it is also a tribute to true human values, unadulterated humanism, humanitarianism, and the fight to create a free world where people will not be hostages to any form of slavery.

"Burmese Days" is George Orwell's first novel set in Burma during the time when the country was ruled by Great Britain. In the five years he spent in the Burmese police service, Orwell met the local people, learned Burmese and Hindustani, and incorporated his experience into the book "Burmese Days." There he got to know even better the dark side of colonial rule, imposed superiority, and the arrogance of his race and class, so he resigned in disappointment to break all ties, as he later wrote, "not only with imperialism but also with any form of man's rule over man."

"Keep the Aspidistra Flying" is a social novel interwoven with humorous notes that tells the story of a poor, unsuccessful, and disappointed Gordon Comstock, a thirty-year-old bookseller who would like to make a living from writing. The aspidistra from the title is a hardy houseplant once very popular in England. Chronically short of money, Gordon sees the aspidistra on all the windows of households where members of the lower middle class, from which he himself, to his regret, cannot rise, live. He has a hard time making ends meet but refuses the help of a wealthy friend; dejected and torn between pride and prejudice, reason and feeling, necessity and freedom, duty and art, Gordon simply doesn't know what to do.

"1984""animal farm""burmese days""homage to catalonia""keep the aspidistra flying"AnarchistBrilliant mindBritish officialColonial indiaColonial policemanColonial ruleColonialismDystopian novelEileen o'shaughnessyEric arthur blairGeorge orwellGreat britainHouseplantIndian civil serviceLanded gentry without landLiterary styleLonelinessMarriageMiddle-class backgroundPolitical criticismPovertyRichard horatio blairSahib classSatirical novelSocial novelSocialistSonia brownellSpanish civil warStalinismTotalitarianismTrue human valuesTuberculosis