George Orwell (1903-1950)
Study Questions and Activities
- Compare Orwell’s idea about the modern world with the depiction of Lenina’s dates with Henry and Bernard in Chapters 5 and 6 of Brave New World, especially her date with Bernard.
“Can Socialists Be Happy?”
- This essay appeared under the byline “John Freeman,” in Tribune, December 20, 1943, yet it has been attributed to George Orwell. Read the following discussion and, in point form, list the reasons Orwell has been credited with authorship. http://georgeorwellnovels.com/essays/publication-of-can-socialists-be-happy-by-john-freeman/
- Orwell writes, “All the evils and miseries we now suffer from have vanished. Ignorance, war, poverty, dirt, disease, frustration, hunger, fear, overwork, superstition all vanished. So expressed, it is impossible to deny that that is the kind of world we all hope for. We all want to abolish the things Wells wants to abolish. But is there anyone who actually wants to live in a Wellsian Utopia?” Write a brief essay defending Brave New World as a utopia in which one might want to live.
Read Orwell’s brief essay on Kipling, 1936. http://theorwellprize.co.uk/george-orwell/by-orwell/essays-and-other-works/rudyard-kipling-1936/
Now, after reading Orwell’s 1936 essay on Kipling (not to be confused with his longer essay written in 1942), clarify what Orwell means in the following sentence, taken from the 1936 essay: “…The picture then called up by the word “empire” was a picture of overworked officials and frontier skirmishes, not of Lord Beaverbrook and Australian butter.”
You might also enjoy reading Orwell’s longer essay on Kipling, published in 1942: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/rudyard-kipling/
You might also wish to view the following clips: http://theorwellprize.co.uk/events/oxford-2011-orwell-vs-kipling/
Film version Animal Farm (1954) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5110BLvXd0
TV Dramatization Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954 BBC Adaptation Nigel Kneale) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jCxCRW5yhE
George Orwell press photo by Branch of the National Union of Journalists (BNUJ) (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Orwell_press_photo.jpg) is in the Public Domain.