George Orwell

Remembering George Orwell

MNA Feature Desk: British novelist, essayist, journalist and critic George Orwell was born on June 25, 1903, in Motihari, Bengal Presidency (present day Bihar), in British India, to a British colonial civil servant. His real name was Eric Arthur Blair.

During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism in essays, reviews, columns in newspapers and magazines and in his books of reportage. He talked about the social and political issues that plagued the world, having seen much unrest and poverty in life.

When we think of George Orwell, who died on this date in 1950 at the age of 46, it is primarily as a satirist. This is the legacy — the fault, really — of his last two novels, 1945’s “Animal Farm” and “1984,” which was published in 1949.

Here, Orwell cemented what has become our lasting image of him, as the author of a certain type of political parable, in which totalitarianism, with its slogans (“War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” “Ignorance is Strength”) becomes a metaphor for the fallacy of social control.

What Orwell is describing is humanity, which is, after all, the only thing we have to share. It is not enough, and yet, it has to be enough. That, as he understood and continually sought to articulate, is the burden not just of language, of literature, but also, fundamentally, of life.


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