He was born in Bengal, an outposts of the Brtish empire. Since his parents could not pay the fees at a public school, Orwell had to win a scholarship, and then he went to Eton. But he felt an outcoast among very rich boys
At the end of the schooldays, he refused to go on to university and decided to go to Burma, as a superintendent in the Imperial Police, but then he realized that the Empire was based on a false and inequitable concept, and this helped to develop his social and political concept. So he began to write on social themes by living among the urban poor of Paris and London and sleeping in slums and public dormitories for the homeless. This gave him the material for his first book, Down and out in Paris and London.
Orwell was acquainted with radical political theories: at first he embraced anarchism, but later moved closer to socialism. He was concerned with the state of the working people and investigated their sufferings.
Then he went to Spain where he enlisted in an anarchist battalion. He was wounded in fighting against the Fascist and returned to England. Here he became the literary editor of the Socialist newspaper Tribune.
It is a satire of totalitarianism and Orwell alluded to the Russian revolution. It is a political fable in the form of an allegory: it describes the revolt of the animals on a farm, who expel their cruel master and adopt socialist principles.
The germ of the fable was suggested to him by a sight of a little boy driving a cart-horse whipping it whenever it tried to turn. He thought that if such animals became aware of their strenght, we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.
A wise boar is one of the animals working on Mr Jone’s farm. One day he wanted to tell a dream to the other animals, but before he reminds them that man condemns animals to a short life of misery and slavery. If animals can get rid of man, they will become masters of their lives. Then he tells the dream of a farm where animals work and live happily together, without the control of man.
After his death, the socialism he had proposed changed. Three pigs take over the leadership and introduced seven principles. The last one was: all animals are equal.
One night all animals run Mr Jones off the farm. But soon the pigs begin to struggle to obtain the leadership, just as men do in human civilized society. Napoleon becames the leader and all the opponents are punished with death. He begins acting as human beings and the animals are hungry and overworked again. The seven commandments are reduced to one: all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
The struggle between humans and animals, which stands for the struggle against any form of exploitation;
the danger of propaganda;
easy manipulation of masses;
the uselessness of any revolution by the masses due to lacking of unifying values and lack of class consciusness.
Language and political writing
Orwell is a writer who considers his art as one possible instrument in the liberation of mankind. He tried to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole. He said that the language sholud be spare and simple, but clear and direct to become an instrument of information.
It is a dystopian novel about the society of the future.
Orwell imagines the world divided into three superstates; Eustasia, Eirasia and Oceania, with totalitarian governments, always at war with each other. Britain is dominated by an omnipresent “Big Brother” ruled by “Ingsoc” (English scoialism) and controlled by the “Thought Police” aiming at the elimination of all original ideas and individual emotions. Huge photographs of the leader warns that “Big Brother is watching you”. Every citizen is spied and the Thought police punishes any infrangements of totalitarian system.
The book’s interest is in the original and informative account Orwell gives of the political mechanism of totalitarianism: the methods by which thought is controlled, privacy is invaded.
In the novel the thoughts of the citizen are controlled through language: in the Britain of the future, a new language will gradually be introduced until it will be impossible to commit the crime of subversive thought: the number of words used in common speech will be cut down, to limit the danger of indipendent thought and let survive only those words politically and socially acceptable.
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