Eric Arthur Blair, known by his pen name George Orwell was born on the 25th of June, in 1903, in Bengal, India. He was the bright son of Richard Wellesley Blair, a civil servant in the Indian Army, while his mother, Ida Mabel Blair, was the daughter of a French man. Soon after his birth, his mother took him to England and settled in Oxfordshire, while his father stayed in India. He spent his early years with his mother and sister. He did not know his father well until his retirement in 1912.
George stayed with his mother in England, and his formal education started from a convent school in Henley-on-Thames at the age of five. His mother wanted to send him to a public school, but their financial condition did not allow her to do so. He remained disturbed by the tense environment at home and outside during the wars. He spent long hours reading Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, and Rudyard Kipling, who left deep impacts on him. Later, in 1911, he attended St. Cyprian’s School, where he became distinguished among the other students on account of his intelligence and poverty.
He later claimed that his stay at that preparatory school shaped his mind about the English class system, and he documented all these experiences in his autobiographical essay, Such, Such Were the Joys published in 1952 (two years after his death). After earning a scholarship, he went to England’s leading schools, Wellington and Eton. However, after completing his schooling, he found himself at the dead end. Though he wanted to pursue his education, the financial strains forced him to quit.
George Orwell, a shining star of the 19th century, fell seriously ill in 1938 when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. For years, he tried to combat this fatal disease at the Preston Hall Sanatorium but continued to suffer for the rest of his life. Despite battling with this fatal disease, he continued to render his services to the world of writing. He died in London on the 21st of January in 1950.
Some Important Facts of His Life
- He knew seven languages, including French, Latin, Greek, Spanish and Burmese.
- He was the first one who used the phrase “cold-war” in his essay You and the Atom Bomb.
- He is also well-known for his phenomenal novel, Animal Farm.
George Orwell is considered a leading figure of the literary world. After completing schooling from England, he returned to India and joined the Indian Imperial Police Force in 1922. After five years of service, he resigned from his post and returned to England, where he worked hard to establish his writing career. He took all sorts of jobs to make both ends meet and managed, somehow, to publish his first significant work, Down and Out in Paris, with his penname in 1933. The book depicts the miserable plight of those who were living a transient existence. Describing the dark look at British colonialism in Burma, he published his next novel, Burmese Days, in 1934.
After this publication, his interest in politics grew stronger. Unfortunately, he became seriously ill in 1938, which severely affected his literary activities. To support himself, he performed various writing tasks: produced many essays and reviews. Later, in 1914, he landed a job with the BBC. As a producer, he developed many shows for his audiences and brought some literary figures, including E. M Forster and T. S Eliot, to appear in his shows. George had spent his life for literary services, and he is best known for his two novels, Animal Farm, and 1894, which present the bleak vision of his world and also a political satire of his time.
George Orwell, a towering figure, mesmerized the generations with his pen. His writings won universal acclaim with his simple and straightforward writing style. He avoided following the writing parameters set by the former authors and devised his own rules for literary writings. His early style from, Burmese Days, to, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, was experimental and literary. However, in the late 30s, he adapted a concrete, clear, and vivid style, which is evident in his masterpiece, Animal Farm. While his other major work, 1984, presents an elaborate satire on modern politics. Considering language as a primary and ultimate source that connects the writer’s and reader’s brain, he developed his own writing principles. The recurring themes in most of his writings are loyalty, the dangers of totalitarianism, psychological manipulation, and sexuality.
George Orwell’s Major Works
- Best Novels: He was an outstanding writer. Some of his best novels include Animal Farm, 1984, Burmese Days, Coming Up for Air, A Clergyman’s Daughter and Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
- Other Works: Besides novels, he tried his hands on nonfictions; some of them include Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.
George Orwell’s Impact on Future Literature
George Orwell, with his intellectual ideas, left a permanent mark on world literature, and even after many years of his demise, he still exerts strong influence across the world. George Orwell always found one or the other topic having a significant impact on other writers, including icons like that of Margret Atwood and William Golding. He was equipped with witty ideas and critical intelligence and predicted the post-apocalyptic world, among other themes. His masterpieces provided the principles for the writers of succeeding generations along with his incisive commentary against communist and totalitarian regimes that still seems relevant even in today’s world. He successfully documented his ideas about power and totalitarianism in his writings. Many readers enjoy reading his books, and writers, considering him a beacon for writing prose.
- “A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets”. (Burmese Days)
- “It was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away.” (1984)
- “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” (Preface to Animal Farm)