1984 - George Orwell

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GEORGE ORWELL – “1984”
LIFE
Blair was born on June 25, 1903 in Motihari, Bengal (modern Bihar), in India. His mother, brought him to the United Kingdom at the age of one. He did not see his father again until 1907, when this visited England for three months before leaving again.
After Blair finished his studies, his family could not pay for university and he had no prospect of winning a scholarship, so in 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. He came to hate imperialism, and when he returned to England on leave in 1927 he decided to resign and become a writer. He later used his Burmese experiences for the novel “Burmese Days” (1934) and in such essays as “A Hanging” (1931), and “Shooting an Elephant” (1936).In 1928, he moved to Paris, where his aunt lived, hoping to make a living as a freelance writer. Then he came back to England in 1929, using his parents' house in Southwold, Suffolk, as a base. Writing what became “Burmese Days”, he made frequent forays into tramping as part of what had by now become a book project on the life of the underclass. Meanwhile, he became a regular contributor to John Middleton Murry's New Adelphi magazine.
Blair completed “Down and Out” in 1932, and it was published early the next year while he was working briefly as a schoolteacher at a private school in Hayes, Middlesex. Blair adopted the pen-name George Orwell just before “Down and Out” was published.
In December 1936, Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco's Nationalist uprising. Although he travelled alone to Spain, he became part of the Independent Labour Party contingent, a group of some 25 Britons who joined the militia of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), a revolutionary socialist party with which the ILP was allied. The POUM, along with the radical wing of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (the dominant force on the left in Catalonia), believed that Franco could be defeated only if the working class in the Republic overthrew capitalism — a position fundamentally at odds with that of the Spanish Communist Party and its allies, which (backed by Soviet arms and aid) argued for a coalition with bourgeois parties to defeat the Nationalists. In the months after July 1936 there was a profound social revolution in Catalonia, Aragon and other areas where the CNT was particularly strong.
By his own admission, Orwell joined the POUM rather than the communist-run International Brigades by chance — but his experiences, in particular his narrow escape from the communist suppression of the POUM in June 1937, made him sympathetic towards the POUM and turned him into a lifelong anti-Stalinist.
In 1949, Orwell wrote “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Originally, Orwell titled the book “The Last Man in Europe”, but his publisher, Frederic Warburg, suggested the change.
“1984”
The dangers of Totalitarianism
1984 is a political novel written with the purpose of warning readers in the West of the dangers of totalitarian government. Having witnessed firsthand the horrific lengths to which totalitarian governments in Spain and Russia would go in order to sustain and increase their power, Orwell designed 1984 to sound the alarm in Western nations still unsure about how to approach the rise of communism. In 1949, the Cold War had not yet escalated, many American intellectuals supported communism, and the state of diplomacy between democratic and communist nations was highly ambiguous. In the American press, the Soviet Union was often portrayed as a great moral experiment. Orwell, however, was deeply disturbed by the widespread cruelties and oppressions he observed in communist countries, and seems to have been particularly concerned by the role of technology in enabling oppressive governments to monitor and control their citizens.
In 1984, Orwell portrays the perfect totalitarian society, the most extreme realization imaginable of a modern-day government with absolute power. The title of the novel was meant to indicate to its readers in 1949 that the story represented a real possibility for the near future: if totalitarianism were not opposed, the title suggested, some variation of the world described in the novel could become a reality in only thirty-five years. Orwell portrays a state in which government monitors and controls every aspect of human life to the extent that even having a disloyal thought is against the law. As the novel progresses, the timidly rebellious Winston Smith sets out to challenge the limits of the Party’s power, only to discover that its ability to control and enslave its subjects dwarfs even his most paranoid conceptions of its reach. As the reader comes to understand through Winston’s eyes, The Party uses a number of techniques to control its citizens, each of which is an important theme of its own in the novel

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