Eric Arthur Blair, more well known for his pseudonym George Orwell, was an English writer. Orwell’s writings were mainly focused on spreading awareness of social injustice, a strong opposition of totalitarianism and an open advocacy of socialism. He has been praised as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Eric was born on the 25 of June 1903 to a humble upper middle-class family in an eastern part of India at the town of Motihari, at that time a part of the British Empire. Eric’s parents were devout low income civil servants who struggled to afford their children a much desired traditional upper middle-class English education. When Eric was a year old, he together with his mother and sister moved to England without their father. At five years of age, Eric was sent to get an education on a Roman Catholic convent run by French nuns.
Later Eric’s mother wanted to have Eric study at a public school and chose the St Cyprian’s School, but would soon find out, that the price of the school tuition was too expensive. They managed to make an arrangement, which allowed them to pay only half of the tuition fees. Eric hated that school, and would later write of his experiences there in his essay “Such, Such Were the Joys”.
After his education Eric joined the British administered Indian Imperial Police in Burma. In 1927 he resigned from his duties as an imperial police officer to become a writer and “began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed masses in the working class” (Burmese Days 1937 p.7).
He would also write two essays “Shooting an Elephant” (1936) and “A Hanging” (1931) which were based on his experiences in Burma. In 1928 Eric moved to Paris where his unsuccessful start to his career forced him to make his living working in menial jobs. He eventually wrote his first novel ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ (1933) describing his life in the shoes of a normal worker. This was the first time he used the pen name ‘George Orwell’.
After this his writing career started.Orwell’s most famous novels are ‘Animal Farm’ (1945) and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949). Both of these novels are praised by critics and commoners alike for their timelessness, and that they can be applied to modern day problems. The Animal Farm is a short satirical novella which reflects the events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the following Stalinist era, but all this in a comical form of an animal farm.
Nineteen Eighty-Four on the other hand is a novel set in a dystopian future in a superstate called Oceania. In the novel the residents of Oceania are a subject of continuous government surveillance and manipulation, the state is ruled by the party and all signs of independent thinking and individualism are considered as “thought crimes”. Orwell wrote these novels after the Second World War, and thus I think these were made as a statement to the direction the world was heading back then, the government had more control over the people than ever, especially in the USSR. This novel has been praised by many critics such as Jonathan Freedland as ” An absorbing, deeply affecting political thriller” (2.
7.2015 Independent).I think especially Nineteen Eighty-Four is still very relevant today, because nowadays the government has massive amounts of information about almost every single person, thanks to smartphones and social media etc.
In conclusion, in my opinion, George Orwell is still today one of the most influential writers, and most of his words can reflect to today’s society very well.