George Orwell, a pen name of Eric Blair, was born June 25, 1903 in a place called Motihari Bengal India. His original name was Eric Blair, but latter changed his name to George Orwell in 1933, due to his deep affection for England and English way of life (Shelden, 2006). Orwell was born in a poor family with his father Richard Wellesley Blair working as an Opeum sub-duty agent of the Civil Service in India, the then British Colony (Fink, 1968).
George was taken to England at the age of one by his mother, Ida Mabel Limouzin, and at the age of five, he was enrolled into Anglican Parish School in Henley, where he did well and was recommended for a half scholarship in St. Cyprians School in Eastbound Sussex, which was among the best preparatory academies in England during that time (Fink, 1968). This scholarship made work easier for his parents who only paid half of his fee. It is in this school where George wrote the first poem published and titled, “Awake! Young Men of England”, (Shelden, 2006).
Orwell later proceeded to Wellington and Eton colleges on another scholarship where he was taught French by Aldus Huxley, the author to Brave New World. After finishing his studies, he moved to Burma in 1922, where he joined the Indian Imperial Police up to 1927 as an assistant superintendent, after failing to get another scholarship that would further fund his education to the University level (Fink, 1968).
Change to a Writer
While George was a cop in Burma, he developed negative attitude and dislike of the imperial rule which was full of oppression of the Indians and further made him resign to join writing (Shelden, 2006). His dissatisfaction with the imperial rule was later explained in his collection of essays ‘Shooting an Elephant’ (1950) that revealed the unjust actions of the colonial police officers against the local Indians. His book ‘A Hanging’ (1931) also revealed how a Hindu man was hurriedly hanged leaving the colonial officers relieved and that he had not known that the duty included killing. Orwell later returned to England in 1928 where he lived in poverty doing low paying jobs. This kind of life made him write the book ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ (1933) (Fink, 1968).
George Orwell’s Literacy
George Orwell’s literacy and his political career were full of tensions between his desire and prospect of equality and social justice for all, without any sense of discrimination. He became a regular contributor to the New Adelphi from 1930 and then adopted his pen names in 1933 by which he would use to assign all his publications where Orwell was a name of a small river found in Eastern Anglia, a scenery he liked visiting and George, a British name that explained his love for the English way of life. Orwell continued with his writing but because writing could not sustain him fully, he complemented it by doing some other jobs like teaching, which he took in 1934 in a private school, where he also finished writing his first novel titled ‘Burmesse Days’ (1934) and further the ‘Keep the Aspidistra Flying’ in 1936, a story of a young man who was a book seller’s assistant, pointing to the shop keeper job he did in Wallington between 1936 to 1940.
At the same time, George was commissioned in 1936 by Victor Gollancz who was a publisher, to do a documentary work for the Left Book Club on unemployment in the North of England. His work on the documentary helped him produce ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ which is considered to be a very big step toward contemporary literary journalism. Because of his strong sociologist ideology, Orwell moved to Spain to report about the civil war, and ended up fighting together with the Union Workers Marxist of Unification militia where he was short on through the neck by a sniper.
He luckily escaped the war and this made Orwell a stronger challenger of the French communism, but became a stronger champion on the English Socialism that was further seen in most of his subsequent, books because he wanted to write on behalf of a common poor man – a life he lived in the Northern London where he learned about the difference between the socio economic classes. The French civil war made him come up with ‘Homage of Catalonia’, that offered support and hope to the common man, that sooner the common man will win the fight against oppression (Shelden, 2006). This was in a bid convincing the rulers to consider the rights of the weak common me.
Orwell continued writing to sustain himself and in 1940, he began writing reviews of books for the New English Weekly, to extend his writing skills and to earn a living. In 1941, he moved and began working for BBC Eastern Service whose main focus was to help the British win the support of the Indians, and Asians in the Britain wars through the use of propaganda (Shelden, 2006). Orwell never felt satisfied in his job as a propagandist despite the good pay, and therefore resigned from his job in 1943 to join Tribune as a literary editor of the left wing journal that was sponsored by a group of labor party.
One year later (1944), Orwell published a very successful book the ‘The Animal Farm’ which earned his much income in his lifetime (Orwell 1954). The Animal Farm was a story of betrayal after a revolution depicted by animal actors who successfully led a revolution against Mr. Jones, the man who was the owner of the farm, with a reason that he is the enemy who overworks the animals and eat without producing, but gives them back the least. Later on, the Pig who becomes a leader after the departure of man changes tune that some animal are more equal than others (Orwell, 1954). This was pointing at the Russian Revolution with a sharp focus on the opposition against Stalin’s Policies. This book has, however, embraced by many all over the world and has since been translated into several languages.
From 1945, George Orwell became a correspondent for the Observer and the Manchester Evening News in Germany. Another writing work that was very successful was the book ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ that was published in 1950 viewed as one of the most acceptable classical writing and science fiction, which is compared with ‘Brave New World’ written by Aldous Huxley and ‘Time Machine,War of the World and Invisible man, by H.G. Wells (Fink 1968). George Orwell died shortly after the publication of the new book ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ on January 21, 1950 from tuberculosis, only three months after marrying his second wife Sonia Bronwell (Fink 1968). However, his writing skills have been a motivation to many authors and younger writers around the world.
George Orwell has been known as a democratic sociologist who advocated for fair treatment of the poor and the common men. Through his method and career as journalist and novelist in the press and in books, he became outstanding as the best sociologist, advocator and journalist. He gave different experiences he went through anywhere he went, like in the case of “Homage to Catalonia” that describes his experiences and the suffering of the common men during the Spanish Civil War. “Down and Out in Paris and London” is another publication that describes poverty conditions in the cities while “The Road to Wigan Pier” described the deplorable living standards of poor miners in northern England (Fink, 1968).
Equally, his books titled “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Ninety Four” became most successful and out spoke him as a novelist that any other activity he ever did (Orwell 1954). The book “Animal Farm” is considered to be an allegory of the Russian Revolution by the Stalinism while “Nineteen Ninety Four” focused on the power of language to nature reality (Fink, 1968; Boon, 2009). Ever since Orwell’s death, many authors have used his writings as the baseline of their work with many people around the world borrowing his quotations in their normal expression.