Keep the Aspidistra Flying, by George Orwell

Keep the Aspidistra Flying is one of George Orwell’s lesser known novels, but no less powerful. The most telling aspect of this novel is the characterization it provides. Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a novel about wealth and money. The main character, Gordon Comstock, has a constant struggle with money. Whether it is the possession or the absence of income, Gordon always struggles with money and its position in his life. The ultimate goal of the novel is presenting both the character’s philosophies on wealth, and also where they lie in the possession of it.

Gordon Comstock is a character that is deeply despises money. This is expressed well in his resenting opinion of it. When first thinking of his girlfriend, Rosemary, he abhors the fact that she does not sleep with him. He blames this problem on his monetary position, and that if he were wealthy enough, she would be much more willing. Gordon believes money dominates all of society’s connections. “All human relationships must be purchased with money. If you have no money, men won't care for you, women won't love you” (“Keep the Aspidistra Flying”, Chapter 1). Gordon decided against money, and capitalism itself, at the age of sixteen. In fact, most of the story’s perspective is told through Gordon’s eyes, and he even views initial impression of people by the monetary worth he thinks they are. “He (Orwell) uses satire in the first chapter, when describing how Gordon Comstock interacts with customers in the bookshop.” (“Literary Analysis: Keep the Aspidistra Flying”) In the book store he works in, his impression of a customer is “A youth of twenty, cherry-lipped, with gilded hair, tripped Nancifully in. Moneyed, obviously. He had the golden aura of money.” (“Keep...

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... feeds the cautious nature of all those who value freedom, and he urges the reader to stop corruption before it has become too powerful.

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