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George Orwell



A negative future utopia

George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903, in the village of Motihari, India. His father was an agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service, India.

His mother, Ida Mabel Blair, was the daughter of a French tradesman. George lived a fairly privileged life in India. In 1907, the family moved back to England, and at the age of eight, George was sent to a private school in Sussex. Five years later he won a scholarship to Wellington, and soon after that, another prize to Eaton, the famous public school. But there, he failed to win another scholarship to any university, so in 1922, he joined the Indian Imperial Police. Five years later, then he resigned from the police force for two reasons. First, it was a distraction for his real love writing, and secondly because he didnt believe in that political system.

From India, he went back to London and started to write; he lived in London, then he moved to Paris, where he stayed in a working-class quarter as a dishwasher. When he returned to London he continued living with the poor.

In 1930, he wrote Down and Out, then titled A Scull’ions diary. Anyway this work was rejected twice from the publishers; but, the moment he decided to burn it, it was finally accepted and published even reviewed. It was there that Eric changed his name into the pseudonym George Orwell.

During that time he also wrote Burmese Days, a book based on his life as part of the Indian Imperial Police. It was published in 1934.

After two years, in 1936, he was married to Eileen OShaughnessy. In the same year, he received a commission from the Left Book Club to examine the conditions of the poor and unemployed. This resulted in his next book, The Road to Wigan Pier.

However, the Club was not very happy of the book, because George criticised English Socialism as well as the English class system.

After publishing that book, he went to Spain, where originally he intended to write articles on the Civil War which had recently broke out. It was a conflict between the communist/socialist Republic and Francos Fascist military, who was rebelling.

So, Orwell joined the POUM (Partido Obrero de unification de Marxista), then he joined the army; but he was wounded, and he was obliged to go to Barcelona.

Later he escaped to France with his wife and published Homage to Catalonia, an account of his Spanish experiences.

From those experiences he could learn two things: the first one was that socialism was possible to apply, if only for a short time; then he learned that there would always be class systems.

In 1938, he fell ill of tuberculosis and, in order to recover, he spent all the winter in Morocco.

In 1939, World War II broke out and Orwell wanted to support Britain against the German enemy, but he was declared unfit for services.

Two years later, in 1941, he joined the BBC as a talks producer in the Indian section of the eastern service. However, in 1943, he left the British Broadcasting Corporation and became the literary editor of the Tribune. In the same year he also wrote Animal Farm.

In 1946, after the death of his wife, he settled on the Scottish isle of Jura; there, two years later, in 1948, he wrote 1984, but, because of his tuberculosis, he went back to England. In the same year he married Sonia Bronwell, just before his death in the January of 1950.

The book 1984, which is Orwells most famous work, represents the best example of his negative Utopia; its a Dystopian novel, because it describes a future society where mans instincts and intelligence are crushed by a ruthless, all-powerful party. The story is set in 1984,not to distant from the time it was written.

Its important to say that it has become one of the modern myths, the picture of a world where individuality is annihilated. In fact some of the novels key terms have entered many languages; the best example is the term Big Brother, the symbol of a distant, mysterious yet omnipresent and oppressor.

The world of 1984 is one of tyranny, terror, and perpetual warfare. Orwell wrote it in 1948, shortly after the Allies had defeated Nazi Germany in World War II and just as the West was discovering the full dimensions of the evils of Soviet totalitarianism.

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