George Orwell A Brief Biography
Meet George Orwell “Liberty is telling people what they do not want to hear.” - George Orwell
Meet George Orwell • George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in Motihari, Bengal, India. • He was not Indian; his father was a civil service worker for the British government. • Eric Blair later adopted the pen name George Orwell for its “manly, English, country-sounding ring.”
Orwell’s Early Years • In 1904, Orwell moved to Britain with his mother, where he stayed until the age of 19. • He began to write at an early age, dictating poetry to his mother and finding refuge in words and ideas. • He was sent to boarding school at the age of eight. • Orwell would later write about his unfavorable experiences there in Such, Such Were the Joys.
Orwell’s Young Adulthood • Since he did not earn a scholarship to college, Orwell instead opted to take a job in Burma with the Indian Imperial Police. • He would write about this in Burmese Days. • In Burma, he began to despise British imperialism and colonial rule.
Orwell as an Adult • During the 1930s, Orwell became a Socialist and fought in the Spanish Civil War. • This experience made him begin to hate Communism. • He then gravitated toward British Socialism. • During WWII, he served as a British sergeant and a journalist for the BBC.
Orwell as Social Commentator • As Orwell wrote about his wartime experiences, he emerged as someone willing to question any group’s ideology. • “Shooting an Elephant” • Homage to Catalonia • Animal Farm • 1984
Animal Farm • Part of Orwell’s inspiration to write this book was his witnessing a boy whipping a horse. • “It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the [worker].” - George Orwell
Animal Farm • Journal • What makes a good leader? • List attributes and explanations in notebook. • Discussion • Why do you think a government – or a leader – might be overthrown? • What makes people dissatisfied with their living conditions?