Thursday, November 13, 2014
Finding consistent patterns in Orwell’s thought process, and stance regarding the life of the impoverished is a steady navigation which can be processed clearly.
I. George Orwell’s experience with poverty influenced his novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
A. Orwell’s detailed accounts of working undesirable jobs can be seen in his novel.
1. Gordon Comstock considers his job to be a “good” job, but finds little passion in what he does as a book keeper. a.) Both Orwell and his character know that they’re capable of being in professions they’re interested in, but cannot seem to find a way.
II. The inability to secure a livable wage causes his character in his novel to become bitter and isolated.
B. Gordon Comstock’s war against the “money-god” is a projection of Orwell and his discontentment with income based class systems.
2. His character believes that his girlfriend, Rosemary, will not advance in their relationship due to his poor economic status.
b.) His friend, Philip Ravelston, tries to reach out often, but Gordon is too enveloped in the idea that he’s a despicable person because the majority of his acquaintances earn a higher wage. This realization of having less and the ability to identify those with more causes his character to become aggravated frequently.
III. Conditions within the poor community are accepted as common practice, and this enrages Orwell.
C. In his memoir he describes how working conditions violate the basic rights of human beings, and by the end of the day everyone is exhausted from fourteen hour shifts.
3. When someone is driven to work in poor environments for extended periods of time they no longer have the luxury to think.
c.) The inability to think causes the poor to be complacent and continue on without progress.
IV. Being forced to live off of meager rations in London and Paris produced an embarrassment and income insecurity which can be detected in his character Gordon Comstock.
D. In his memoir he discusses the importance of keeping up appearances, and that it costs him sixty centimes to buy a drink. He calls these purchases “expensive lies”.
4. Gordon Comstock often rations his cigarettes noting that he only has so many left and there will be no incoming funds for the coming days. d.) Gordon appears as he sees himself – dressed in old clothing in desperate need of repair. He can hear the coins clinking together in his worn pockets, and knows exactly how much (or how little) they hold.
V. Orwell’s experience in a public ward in France exposes him to the dispassionate treatment the poor receive in hospitals.
E. During his stay he notes the lack of sterilization; he receives treatment using equipment that had moments before been used on another patient.
5. Orwell also discusses the inhumane treatment of patients by the head doctor, and his group of students who view the afflicted as subject for study. d.) He reflects on the patients confined to accept their fate inside of the hospital because they couldn’t afford treatments in their homes.
English 102 CSN
Thursday, November 13, 2014
George Orwell’s memoir, Down and Out in Paris and London, was published in 1933. Three years later he produced a novel, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, which followed the life and endless depressions of Gordon Comstock (Keep the Aspidistra 1). In 1946 Orwell published his essay, How the Poor Die, which recounted his experience in the Hôpital X, a public ward in France. It’s not a difficult task to identify the