George Orwell: Revolutionary, Soldier, And Author
The title of revolutionary, soldier, and author is a very rare and precious one. However, among the likes of C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, George Orwell stands apart from the rest. Amidst a sea of fantastical realms and mystical creatures, Orwell’s works of “concentration camp literature” changed the way the modern novel was written(Oxley 75). Through his two most famous works of Animal Farm and 1984, Orwell inspired thousands with works that apply to political ideals that people still debate today. Much like his stories, George Orwell was fictional. It was really Eric Blair under the pen name of George Orwell, who was the mastermind that was behind these novels driven by political conflict. What made Orwell so revolutionary were his dealings with communism and socialism, the way he represented political crisis through his novels, and the overall commentary he made on these movements.
Born on June 25, 1903, Orwell had many dealings with socialism, communism, and various other movements such as fascism(“George” n. pag.).During the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Orwell felt a deep calling to investigate the causes and progress of the war. This then leads him to join the war with the Republicans(“Eric” n. pag). It was the tyrannous possibilities of abuse that are subsequent to revolutionary claims of power that lead Orwell to write his novel Animal Farm. Orwell many times disagreed with how socialism was run, even to go as far as to anger his sponsors by examining the failure of socialists to care for the needs of England’s poor in The Road to Wigan Pier (“Eric”n. pag.). These dealings gave him the experience that he would later use in his future essays and novels to illustrate the consequences of these revolutions.
Orwell represented the political crisis in the way of fiction through the parallels in Animal Farm and the tyrannous rule of the Party over society in 1984. Many of the characters in Animal Farm represent real people who were involved with the Soviet Union during his lifetime. The farmer Mr. Jones represents the oppression that the revolutionaries fought to be free of. Other characters represent specific people or social classes. The two main characters Napoleon and Snowball, for instance, represent Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky(“George” n. pag). The pigs in the story start out as the revolutionaries, but over time they become what sociologists call a power elite(Oxley 77). Later in the story, they become a new class and separate their children from the rest of the animals to teach them separately(Oxley 80). This is very well a representation of what Orwell saw in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. In Barcelona, people lost interest in the war, which caused old class distinctions to reappear. By the end of May that year there was an atmosphere of suspicion, danger, and violence across the city(Oxley 71).1984 was written as a warning against totalitarianism and how any government with absolute power could deprive people of basic rights. While the book was based on the Soviet Union, it was set in England as a reminder that all government can fall to the abuse of power. (“Eric” n.pag)
Orwell had many commentaries on the results of revolutions such as communism or the effects of a totalitarianism society. The persecution of the animals during the massacre after the confessions of the animals who have done wrong can be seen as the bloodiest part of the revolution. (Oxley 79)This is very similar to the bloodiest part of the Russian revolution. The eventual reversion of the old ways can be seen in the last few chapters of Animal Farm. The pigs begin to wear clothes and carry whips. They revert the farm to its original name and make dealings with the humans. (Oxley 80)This can be seen as Orwell’s commentary on the eventual abuse of power and oppression that moves in a cycle of oppression and revolution through revolutions such as what he saw in Barcelona. Orwell comments on the effects of totalitarianism through the events of 1984. 1984 is considered one of the first major dystopian novels of the twentieth century. The Party, a group which controls all aspects of life in the fictional society stands to represent the totalitarianism views of movements such as the Nazis or the Soviet Union to control the people and to benefit themselves(“Eric” n. pag.).As a soldier in World War II, Orwell would have seen firsthand the effects and represented them through 1984.
Orwell leads a very interesting life full of controversy and conflict, even until his death on January 21, 1950 (“George” n.pag. ). Through all of this Orwell has managed to establish himself as a brilliant author. Because of his dealings with communism and socialism, his representation of political conflict in his novels, and his commentaries on the outcome of revolutionary movements, Orwell has inspired generations and inspired an entire genre of writing.