Anyone here a fan of Orwell as I am? Maybe not as much as I am (have two biographies, an introduction to Orwell, his major works, and one volume of many of his essays and letters), but still a fan. I even did my Senior paper on Orwell!
Many of my favorite works of his are his essays and letters that he wrote. Two great essays are Such, Such Are the Joys about his experiences in the tyrannical St. Cyprian school and another one about how sports are obsessed about too much. My favorite work of his of all time is 1984. So, I guess I’ve started this thread (my first at CS) for anyone who wanted to talk about Orwell. If there is anyone out there…is there?
I like a bit of Orwell here and there. As cliche as it sounds, 1984 is my fave Orwell book. Animal Farm didn’t really do it for me, or his other literary achievements.
I am a huge fan of George Orwell. He’s one of the most ruthlessly honest writers I’ve ever read. I do, of course, love 1984 and Animal Farm, but it’s as an essayist that he really shines. “Shooting An Elephant,” “Notes on Nationalism” and “Politics and the English Language” are some of the finest essays I have ever read, and I honestly enjoy them better than the novels. His simple, clear style is tonic.
He was, of course, imperfect. His contempt for technological “progress” was asinine, IMHO. He shared in full measure the homophobic bigotry of his time. And I never agreed with his socialist views - but then his socialist views are part of what make him admirable, since he refused to let those views blind him to the tyranny of the Soviets at a time when almost all socialists were stooping for excuses for Lenin and Stalin. But he doesn’t have to be perfect to be a hero, and that’s what I think he was: a genuine hero and a man whose virtues I would be truly proud to have attributed to me.
I’ve read Animal Farm and 1984, and I really love the latter. I haven’t read it in about two years, so I can’t remember specific details off the top of my head, but I love the parts where Winston remembers moments from his childhood, before Big Brother takes over. And the scenes where he is with Julia in Mr. Carrington’s shop and the woman is singing outside are particularly moving.
I rememeber one line I had to memorize for my senior class essay: “If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love.” And then there was a part about a mother giving her child her food because it was natural, regardless of the Party’s effort to fight instincts.
Also, the symbolism of the paperweight is lovely; I’m paraphrasing, but I believe the line is, “The glass paperweight was the room, and the coral inside was Julia’s life and his own, fixed in a sort of eternity at the heart of the crystal.”
I also like the idea that Winston’s diary has the power to save him, to set him free from the Party, even though this ultimately fails.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It disturbs me. I have to re-read it, though, to be able to discuss it better.
I read Animal Farm in eighth grade. I recall a few kids saying it was the best book they ever read, but I didn’t love it or hate it. I’m interested in reading some of his essays though; I think I’ll check them out when I get a chance.
If you can get your hands on them, the four volume collected essays and articles that Penguin reissued in the early 80’s is a must buy.
I have read and enjoyed “clergyman’s daughter” “1984” “Down and out in Paris and London” “Burmese Days” “coming up for air” “animal farm” and my all time favorite “Keep the Aspahderia flying” (I Know that is incorrect spelling but still.
Great honest author… going to have to dust them all off and reread them now!
Loved Animal Farm, thought it was better than 1984, although I suppose I read Animal Farm at a younger age and I might not feel the same way if I read them both today. I do think that it has one of the most ominous lines in the history of literature:
“All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others”
That still gives me chills.
Politics and the english language is excellent. Tought me a lot about writing, although I think I fall into the bad habits he describes.
I have Volume 4 (1945-1950). I love when he talks about his adopted son, Richard (b. May 1944). It’s obvious he had so much love for that little boy. It’s a shame that Orwell died when Richard was only six. A great site that I go to for impossible to find book is http://www.bibliofind.com
Danimal: He was indeed imperfect. If he thought that what they had in 1945 was technological progress, I wonder what he would think of our age today (he would be 98).
One of the saddest things I find in his life is the fact that he did something so stupid as to marry Sonia Brownell, not six months before his death in January 1950. It’s obvious she just wanted him for his money and name (she continued to be called Sonia Orwell after his death). He honestly loved her, and while he wasted away in the hospital she was out partying and enjoying the social luxery of being an Orwell. One of the ironic parts about his marriage to Sonia is that he married her partly to have a mother for Richard (his first wife, Eileen O’Shaungessey (sp?) Blair died in 1945 from complications to an operation). She disliked Richard greatly and when Orwell died, she shipped him off to Avril Blair, Orwell’s younger sister, in Scotland. Plus, she kept all of the Orwell roalties and gave hardly anything to Richard.
I’ve read “1984” “Animal Farm” and “Homage to Catalonia” (I don’t think anyone else has mentioned that one yet.) I enjoyed all of them, although in “Homage” I was looking more for a war story type book than analysis of the Spanish Civil War, which was what it was primarily. My favorite quote from Orwell, is “Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own except that you happen to be insane.” O’Brien says that to Winston in “1984.” I’m curious as to everyone else’s favorite Orwell quotes.
‘Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously , and accepting both of them’.
The story of my life.
I’ve read 1984, Animal Farm (which I dig), Down and Out in Paris and London, and Homage to Catalonia. All great stuff! My absolute favorite is Homage to Catalonia, and if I ever run across The Road to Wigan Pier again I’m buying it. I really enjoyed his descriptions of life in the Spanish Civil War and slumming around England and France as a homeless laborer; it’s a side of life that wasn’t much talked about or shown.
I remember reading “To Kill an Elephant” in high school English and it made a bit of an impression on me, but I don’t remember that much about it.
There are plenty. Which is not surprising from someone with such a deep respect for language and the difference between using it well and using it badly (let me second- actually third- the praise of “Politics and the English Language”. Anyone considering writing…anything, really, including posts to message boards, should read it first.)
But I’m going to go for something relativly obscure that I’ve always liked-
“The atom bomb are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling the cities the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and niether the dictators or the bureacrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.”
From " ‘I Write as I Please’ - Some Thoughts on the Common Toad" In which he turns momentarily from the horrors of the world to consider the toads emerging for hibernation to mate. I find it very heartening to come across someone who can look squarely at the ugliness of the world, and still see the beauty. Not to mention, I am heartened that the dictators and the bureaucrats are unable to prevent the coming of spring.
From 1984: “If you want to imagine the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face…forever.”–O’Brian
From Keep the Aspistra Flying: “Kiddies klamor for their Breakfast Krisps.”