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Biography

George Orwell

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The life of George Orwell...

George Orwell’s life can be separated into 3 parts; his early life and education, his socialist/activist middle life years and the years before his death in which he wrote his most famous pieces of literature.

      George Orwell was born in Bengal India in 1903 under the name Eric Blair. His father worked as a civil servant for the British government in India, a British colony at the time. A year after his birth he moved to England with his mother and sister and lived there the first 19 years of his life (www.george-orwell.org). In England he went through the British school system and eventually went on to Eton University on an academic scholarship for a few years (www.george-orwell.org). Throughout his schooling he showed an interest in writing, submitting and getting published in college periodicals. Sadly, Orwell seemed to have mixed feelings about college life at Eton so he eventually dropped out. Ironically, it seems that upon the ending of this education Orwell found his true self.

            Upon abruptly ending his education Orwell chose to go back to India. He ended up in Burma India working in the Indian Imperial Police. He held this job from 1922 until 1925 where he started to get angry towards British Imperialism, portrayed in his essays essays “A Hanging” and “Shooting an Elephant” (online-literature.com). This is important to note because it is Orwell’s first act, out of many throughout his lifetime, in which he advocated liberal/ socialist policies. This anger led to his resignation upon which he moved back to Europe and officially began his career as a professional writer. For the next few years Orwell went in and out of poverty many times (www.george-orwell.org). This gave him first hand experience with the poor and working classes. In 1933 Orwell began writing for a paper called the New Adelphi where he adopted his famous pseudonym George Orwell. Also this year he wrote and published one of his first novels Down and Out in Paris and London. This novel detailed the plight of poor people in the major cities, which again presents his liberal leanings. During this time Orwell became a school teacher, published his second major novel Burmese Day in 1934 and in 1936 he married his first wife Eileen O’Shaugnessy. During these years Orwell also adopted the views of a socialist. He traveled to spain to report on the civil war. He eventually took the side of the United Workers Marxists Party militia (online-literature.com). By the end of the war he had developed a hate for communism and eventually joined the English socialist party. Orwell was wounded in the neck during this war and wrote a book called Homage to Catalonia (online-literature.com) published in 1938. Upon escaping a narrow death Orwell and his wife retreated back to England, and it was also at about this time that the Second World War broke out.

            It is during and after the Second World War that Orwell became a more affluent writer. During World War 2 he was a member of the home guard, worked as a journalist for the BBC from 1941-1943, then became the literary editor from the Tribune from 1943 – 1945 (online-literature.com). It was towards the end of World War 2 that Orwell wrote one of his most famous novels, Animal Farm published in 1945 (www.george-orwell.org).This same year his wife, Eileen O’Shaugnessy died. A short four years after the death of his wife and publishing Animal Farm, Orwell published his most influential book 1984 and remarried to Sonia Browell. Sadly though, Orwell wasn’t able to enjoy his marriage or the success of his new book. Only a few months after his marriage Orwell died of tuberculosis on January 21, 1950.

Works cited for this page:

"Orwell, George." Encyclopędia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopędia Britannica Online. 11 Oct. 2006  <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9057505>.
 

http://www.george-orwell.org/l_biography.html

 

http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/

Quick Facts:

  • Born 1903 in Montihari, Bengal, India.
  • Birth name: Eric Blair
  • Attended Eton University
  • Worked for the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922-1925
  • 1936, Married his first wife Eileen O’Shaugnessy.

  • Reported on the Spanish Civil War - late 1930's
  • Published Animal Farm - 1945
  • Wife Eileen O’Shaugnessy dies - 1945
  • Publshed 1984 - 1949
  • Remarries to Sonia Browell - 1949
  • Died January 21, 1950 in London England.
 
 

Vincent Andrews
World Author Website Project
Coral Gables Senior High School
IB English IV - period 2