Intro Task Reflecting on your holiday homework: 1. List at least 7 things that influenced Orwell’s writing in regards to political, social and economic context. 2. What are the main ideas he upholds about human nature and society?
What do you think of when you contemplate Paris??? Discuss and list your ideas! Want to see some photos?? So what was Orwell trying to do?
Chapters 1-3 Lesson Objective: Considering Authorial voice After group discussions, take notes on the following: • How is the concept of poverty introduced? • How would you describe the role of the narrator and their voice? Consider their lack of introduction and identity, the focus on observations of others, how is it shown that they are not trying to gain readers’ sympathy for themselves?
Descriptive observations Contrasts with innocence Poverty – link to human spirit Bleak tone I sketch this scene, just to convey something of the spirit of the Rue du Coq d’Or…Quarrels, and the desolate cries of street hawkers, and the shouts of children chasing orange peel over the cobbles, and at night loud singing and the sour reek of the refuse-carts, made up the atmosphere of the street. It was a very narrow street – a ravine of tall leprous houses, lurching towards one another in queer attitudes, as though they had all been frozen in the act of collapse. Emphasis of harsh sounds Adjectives develop feeling of entrapment Human quality, use of senses Alliteration develops flow. Represents negativity of the people; connotations Lives of people crumbling; stuck in their poverty
Why are they transitory? Can’t be sure of anything Impacted wide variety of people Interesting word choice The lodgers were a floating population, largely foreigners…They were of every trade…Some of them were fantastically poor…Bulgarian… Russian…p. 3 The Englishman…the Romanina… It would be fun to write some of their biographies, if one had time. I am trying to describe the people in our quarter, not for the mere curiosity, but because they are all part of the story. P. 5 What does this reveal about the people he is going to write about? What authorial comment does the reader gain? Tone, perceptions? What views are evident? Humanising the people – not just subjects They are all important – not simply grouped together Key word – not just an interesting story, but real people
What do the observations about the following reveal: • the people selling/buying the fake postcards • Charlie • The Jewish man in the pawn shop
Narrator’s sense of surprise at what he observed There were the Rougiers…an old ragged, dwarfish couple who plied an extraordinary trade. They used to sell postcards on the Boulevard St Michael. The curious thing was that the post cards were sold in sealed packets as pornographic ones, but were actually photographs of chateaux on the Loire; the buyers did not discover this until too late, and of course never complained. The Rougiers earned about a hundred francs a week, and by strict economy managed to be always half starved and half drunk.p. 4 Base level of society Contrast of settings - irony Sense of shame Irony/ humour Choices of the poverty stricken
The shopman was a red haired Jew, an extraordinarily disagreeable man, who used to fall into furious rages at the sight of a client…it would have been a pleasure to flatten the Jew’s nose, if only one could have afforded it. P. 17 What tone is used in this description? Why is this an interesting quote, considering Orwell’s key ideas and vales? Look at the essays on the wiki to help analyse the motif of Jewish references
There were eccentric characters in the hotel. The Paris slums are a gathering place for eccentric people – people who have fallen into solitary, half mad grooves of life and given up on trying to be normal or decent. Poverty frees them from ordinary standards of behaviour, just as money frees people from work. P. 3 What does this reveal about how these people fit into society? What does it reveal about the narrator? What does his language use reveal about him and his position in society?
Chapter 3 What is revealed about poverty in chapter 3?
Idea of Man against Society You discover…the secrecy attaching to poverty…But of course you dare not admit it – you have got to pretend that you are living quite as usual. From the start it tangles you in a net of lies, and even with the lies you can hardly manage it. P. 14 p. 16 One could multiply these disasters by the hundred. They are part of the process of being hard up. You discover the boredom which is inseparable from poverty. Thousands of people in Paris live it…out of work people of all kinds. It is the suburbs, as it were, of poverty.
Narrator’s perception Second person narrative voice His perception, but second person removes him from it It is altogether curious, your first contact with poverty. You have thought so much about poverty – it is the thing you have feared all your life, the thing you knew would happen to you sooner or later; and it is all so utterly and prosaically different. You thought it would be quite simple; it is extraordinarily complicated. You thought it would be terrible; it is merely squalid and boring. It is the peculiar lowness of poverty that you discover first; the shifts that it puts you to, the complicated meanness, the crust wiping. P. 14 Language use and construction of writing – how does it develop Orwell’s voice, position and purpose? What ideas about poverty are conveyed?
Links between Down and Out and modern context • What connections can we make between George Orwell’s text and our modern world? • How is it still relevant?
Chapter 4,5,6Boris, starvation and seeking work Boris – Disucssion. Write an analysis of Boris. Why is his character so important? Why does the narrator include him? What virtues does he respect/dislike in him? Make sure you provide examples of how his virtues and vices display Orwell’s endorsements or criticisms of society’s views and values.
Boris… • The character of Boris is integral to the story… • The contrasts between the narrator and Boris reveal… • Boris’ background endorses the narrator’s view that… • Through Boris’ experiences, Orwell criticises society for forcing people …
Chapters 6-9 Group analysis and presentation Note taking
Orwell’s writing and Language ValuesYou need to understand this!! See essays on wiki Complete note taking chart Complete written response Writing activity: Using the articles and essays write a response What does Orwell value about honesty, simplicity, directness and purpose within writing?
CHAPTERS 10 – 15 ‘HOTEL X’
Working Poor Notes by Dr. Karen Lynch It is (perhaps wrongly) some of the scenes and commentary from the Hotel X that stay with first time readers of Down and Out. The grand lie of fine dining is systematically exposed by Orwell. Conditions are filthy, but appearances are important. He devotes several pages to describing the “secret vein of dirt, running through the great garish hotel like the intestines through a man’s body”
Some things to consider… • Narrator – symbolises the upper class, Boris the lower class. Orwell implies upper class can have scruples and afford the luxury of being honest. Lower class abandon scruples and virtues in order to survive. • Imagery - The vivid imagery of the hotel – the squalid conditions underground and behind the dining room doors • The lie of the hotel – conditions are filthy, but appearance is everything
The work… • The physical and mental stresses and complexities of the tasks are demonstrated. Orwell not only describe the physical stresses of the labour of a scullion, but also the complexities and difficulties of the tasks; it is not only a physically demanding job, but a real skill in juggling several different tasks at once. • He also talks about the perpetuation of useless work, and comes very close to Marx and Engles observations about the danger of leisure time for the working masses “it is safer to keep them to busy to think”
So much hard work and suffering by the staff for the luxury and enjoyment of a few • Later he comments on the provision of unnecessary luxuries “Essentially, (he says) a smart hotel is a place where a hundred people toil like devils in order that two hundred may pay through the nose for things they do not really want…”
‘Book Rags’ chapter analysis briefs • Chapter 10 Analysis In the conversation between the narrator and Boris about signing on with the hotel for a month, the narrator symbolizes the upper class and Boris symbolizes the lower class. Therefore, Orwell implies that the upper class can have scruples; they can afford the luxury of being honest in their employ. The lower class has to abandon scruples or virtues in order to survive.
Writing Task: For each chapter find 3-5 quotes that support the ideas in the chapter analysis. Comment on how your chosen quotes link to the social/historical/cultural/ideological contexts and social conventions. Discuss how they work to convey the key idea. Try to incorporate how Orwell’s ideas regarding writing and language are evident.
Something tricky for you to think about: DISCUSSION…. Literary academic Peter Nicholls believes that there are two approaches to history in a lot of literature: the modern and the post-modern history. • A modern approach to history sees the past as a series of connected events. It involves authorship or owning the past. Through resiting the influences of the past you create your own identity. You learn and move on. • The post-modern approach sees history not as a series of events but often involving the clash of past and present. Identity is created by the past and sometimes a person is controlled entirely by the past.
Ch. 22 This is an important chapter as Orwell sums up his ideas on the plongeur’slife TASK: Read over chapter 22 and write a response. What is Orwell saying about the working classes, the role of work, social perceptions? • Comment on Orwell’s tone in this chapter. • How has the authorial voice changed? • Include quotes in your answer
Chapter 24. TASK: • Comment on this aspect of his writing. How is it significant that he did this? How do you see it as a positive or negative to Orwell’s writing?
Tramping Notes social differences in attitudes to poverty between France and England. Vagrancy laws enforced in England. So no ‘idling’ – those suspected were moved on by the bobbies. Orwell notes that in Paris, vagrants were allowed to be openly ‘vagrant’ and sit for hours at a time, in the same place. Not so in England – and hence this enforced marching or tramping from doss house (or spike) to spike. An endless, meaningless round that Orwell is at some pains to explain dispassionately as possible, with possible solutions in Chapter 36
Chapter 24 - 26 THINK ABOUT… • What view points does he have? Pg. 135, 137-8, Look at the Jewish motif? P. 140 • Comparison/imagery – p. 143 • Survival – p. 145 • Change of language • Views about accepting charity – pg. 149-151 At this point how does he view poverty in London?
Quickly read over chapters 24 – 26 TASK: Write a letter from Orwell’s perspective about his first days in London. • How does he perceive the life of a ‘tramp’? • How does he perceive society’s response? • What views and values are evident?
Chapter 27-30 Extended chapter responses
Paris to London Compare Orwell’s experiences between Paris and London. How are they different, and how does the writing differ?
Ch. 30 Compare/Contrast Orwell’s 3 friendsQuotes, what they represent, why Orwell is intrigued by them
Chapter 31 1. How is this chapter significant in revealing Orwell’s views about the social, political and ideological contexts? 2. What views and values are evident? 3. How is the authorial voice significant? Write a response, commenting on the about areas, using quotes.
Eg. Orwell returns to the motif of equality of all men, as he endorses that there is no essential difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of respectable people. • Orwell questions the ideological hypocrisy as he questions what is work? Whilst work is seen as necessary for social inclusion, he condemns the fact that beggars are despised, simply as they fail to earn a decent living. He criticises society’s lack of concern of whether work is useful or useless, instead demanding that it merely should be profitable.
Orwell’s frustration with the inequality within society is observed through his final comment in the chapter that …a beggar is simply a businessman , getting his living…
Chapter 32 - Language • In terms of the narrative, how is this chapter significant? Consider how it is removed from the rest of the narrative. What impact does this have? • How does this chapter link to Orwell’s views and values regarding language?
Chapter 33 pg. 193-194 …it is hard work…there is not skulking… …they are only engaged by the day…they have to wait hours for their job every morning The number of unemployed men who do the work make them powerless to fight for better treatment. • What views/values about the tramps and work are revealed? • What is Orwell endorsing/critiquing? Think about your contextual knowledge and ideas about social/historical/ideological contexts