George Orwell and Animal Farm and 1984

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George Orwell and Animal Farm and 1984

George Orwell is only a pen name. The man behind the classics Animal Farm and 1984 was named Eric Arthur Blair and was born to a middle class family living in Bengal in 1903. Eric Blair got his first taste of class prejudice at a young age when his mother forced him to abandon his playmates, which were plumber's children (Crick 9). He could then play only with the other children in the family, all of whom were at least five years older or younger than Eric (Crick 12). This created in him a sense of alienation that plagued him all his life and seems to be reflected in the bitter decay and loneliness he later expressed in his novel 1984. As he moved around unsuccessfully from job to job, he never really developed a sense of self-worth. His childhood self-esteem had already been scarred by his bed wetting habit, of which Orwell Biographer Jeffrey Meyers writes that it "was only the first of endless episodes that made Orwell feel guilty: he was poor, he was lazy and a failure, ungrateful and unhealthy, disgusting and dirty minded, weak, ugly, cowardly" (23).

His writings, under the name of George Orwell, and specifically his two major novels, mentioned above, contain themes warning readers of the dangers present in modern society, a world he saw as bleak and repressive through the filter of his unhappy childhood and two world wars. Despite their sometimes dark settings, his works are very accessible, which has made him popular among those not usually comfortable with more intellectual fiction. But his works do discuss serious themes and contain a specific focus, making them valid pieces of literature and not just popular fiction.

Animal Farm is Orwell's...

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...is rule. 1984 shows the tendency of the dictator to want to control every aspect of a people's actions, feelings, and thoughts. A single man, with absolute power over a country's military, government, and minds, inevitably produces a lower standard of living, a constant fear of being arrested, and a trend of state sanctioned murders in order to establish and uphold the regime. This modern danger, along with Orwell's expression of his own personal alienation, is what is depicted through the dark humor of Animal Farm and the poverty and paranoia of 1984.

Works Cited

Crick, Bernard. George Orwell: A Life. Boston: Little, Brown, 1980.

Meyers, Jeffrey. A Reader's Guide to George Orwell. Ottowa: Rowman and Allanheld, 1975.

Orwell, George. 1984. New York: The New American Library, 1961.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Penguin Books, 1946.
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