The real name of George Orwell was Eric Arthur Blair but he was better known by his pen name. Orwell was born in Bengal, India on 25th June, 1903 where his father was working for the opium department of civil services. Orwell’s family dynasty has a respected history as his grandfather was a clergyman while his great-grandfather was a wealthy person having business interests in Jamaica. His mother was French and he had two elder sisters. At a very young age of one year, Orwell’s mother took him back to England. His interaction with his father remained minimal while he grew up in the company of his sisters and mother. His mother’s desire was to send him to a public school but given the financial strength of the family, a scholarship had to be obtained. Orwell displayed his writing talents at a very early age when still at school he wrote poems which were published in the local newspaper. Later Orwell joined the Eton College but due to his below par performance in studies and the continuing financial woes of his family, it wasn’t possible for him to go to a university. He then got enlisted in the Indian Imperial police for the simple reason that going for further studies did not seem a very appealing idea because his academic results at college were poor.
In 1922, Orwell was posted to Burma and hence sailed on a ship all the way from England via Suez Canal and Cyloon to Rangoon. During his stay at Burma, he was entrusted with significant responsibilities as compared to his young age. At times he was responsible for the lives of men who numbered in thousands. Orwell’s stay in Burma culminated in 1927 when he left for England on the account that he had contracted dengue fever. He never came back and decided to quit the Indian Imperial Police job to become a full time writer. While back in England, Orwell started a sincere effort to pursue writing and began collecting material on lower social class’s life. He even changed his life style to give himself more opportunities to interact with the lower class and understand their way of life. In 1928 he moved to Paris where he lived in a bohemian neighborhood in close proximity of one of his aunts. There he had to face financial distress as his savings were stolen and he had to take menial jobs to make ends meets.
In December 1929, Orwell moved back to England where he started living with his family in Southwold. He befriended the daughter of a local clergyman but she refused his marriage proposal even though remained a loyal friend. Meanwhile he took up a tutoring job that also included a disabled child. During these years he worked on a number of books and essays which were published in journals and magazines. He got married in 1936 to Eileen O’Shaughnessy. It wasn’t until 1936 that Orwell left England to take part in the Spanish Civil war on the Republican side. He was intrigued by the developments taking place in Spain. After arriving in Spain he joined the International Brigades and got involved in active fighting. His part in the Spanish civil war ended when he was hit by a bullet in the throat but was very lucky to have survived. Thereupon he returned to England in June 1937. Later he fell seriously ill and with funding help from a friend, he spent some time in French Morocco to recover his good health. He arrived back in England in March 1939. During the Second World War, Orwell had enlisted in the Home Guard and also worked for the BBC eastern service but resigned in 1943 due to his concerns over the ethical aspects of the programs he was airing. In 1944, Orwell finished one of his most successful novels “Animal Farm” which was published in 1945 and the royalties provided a constant stream of cash flows for the first time in his life. Orwell’s first wife died in 1945 although he did marry for the second time shortly before his death. In 1949 Orwell’s yet another world class novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. These two novels now define the acme of Orwell’s literary career. George Orwell died on January 21st, 1950 due to Tuberculosis.
George Orwell’s Works:
Through out his life Orwell had written numerous books and essays which were published from time to time. His famous works are enumerated below:
1- Burmese Days was written in 1934. This novel depicts the experiences of Orwell in Burma while working as a contingent of the Indian Imperial Police. The novel seems to have been shaped by his personal experiences during his stay at Burma and the responsibilities that were entrusted in him.
2- Down and out in Paris was published in 1933. This novel reflects the account of his low life in London and Paris where he led his life as a low class citizen. His experiences in Paris included dish washing and other low jobs. It was at this time the he chose the pseudonym “George Orwell” for himself.
3- A Clergyman’s Daughter was published in 1935. After Orwell’s brief stay in Paris he returned to his family in England. He acquainted a clergyman’s daughter at the same time but she had refused his proposal to marriage. The novel was written at the same time.
4- Keep the Aspidistra Flying was published in 1936. The novel is Orwell’s reflection on the low life that he had led during the previous years. The time that he had spent in the lodgings and the bohemian neighborhood in Paris where he interacted with the low class people had provided the feedback for this novel.
5- Coming up for Air was published shortly before the Second World War. Because war was just nearby, the settings of this novel depict the prospects of war compared with the blissful times of peace.
6- Animal Farm was published in 1945 and is regarded as one of the best works of Orwell. The plot of the book reflects Orwell’s anti Stalinism views. He was dejected with communist policies after his experiences during the Spanish civil war. George Orwell had basically used this novel to voice his criticism of Stalinist beliefs in an artistic, indirect but yet articulate manner.
7- Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949 and was an equal success like that of Animal Farm. This novel was such a success that many of the words used have become the part of ordinary vernacular. The novel narrates in artistic Orwellian style the existence of a totalitarian society where dissent to government would become very difficult. The novel was a reflection on his personal experiences.