Eric Arthur Blair well known by his pen name George Orwell


Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell, was born on June 25, 1903 and died on January 21, 1950. He was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic of other writers and the societal order. His works are distinguished by clear prose, opposition to totalitarianism, awareness of numerous social injustices, and an outspoken supporter of democratic socialism. His well-known fiction works include Animal Farm (1945) and the alternate reality novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). He also penned nonfiction pieces like The Journey to Wigan Pier (1937) and Homage to Catalonia (1938). The former depicted his experience of being a working class individual in north England while the latter a narration of his personal experiences during and in the Spanish Civil War. His essays were largely focused on politics, literature, culture and language. Orwell's works were acclaimed to the extent that he was ranked second out of the 50 greatest British writers since the year 1945 by The Times. The subsequent sections of this paper shall look at Orwell's life, background and a critical analysis of his works.


Eric Arthur Blair was born in the year 1903 the month of June on the 25th day in Motihari, Bengal Presidency which is the present-day Bihar, in British India. Charles Blair, His great-grandfather was a rich countryside gentleman who lived in Dorset and married Lady Mary Fane. Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, His grandfather, was a clergyman and in contradistinction from Charles Blair, Eric Blair was not as wealthy and described his family unit as being lower-upper-middle class. Richard Walmesley Blair, His father, was employed in the Opium Department of what was then the Indian Civil Service and his mother was Ida Mabel Blair. Orwell had two siblings (sisters): Marjorie, who was older than him, and Avril, who was five years younger than him. His mother took him to England when he was a year old. His birthplace, as well as ancestral house, have been declared protected monuments of historical importance in Motihari (Johnston, 2003).

Educational Journey

He attended a day-boy to a convent school in Henley-on-Thames as his mother lacked the fee to send him to a public school. He was transferred to various schools as his parents sought a cheaper school. Later, he wrote in his works how much he hated the school and often how he realized that he was there because he was poor. It was while in school that he started typing and publishing his works; for example, he wrote two poems while at St Cyprian's that were published by Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard. Additionally, these poems impressed the external examiner so much and earned him a scholarship to Eton University. However, Orwell did not do well in his academic studies and his parents later decided to enroll him in the imperial police since they lacked the money to take him to another university without a scholarship. After these events, Orwell traveled to various places such as Spain, Paris, and Hampstead in search for jobs.

Influences and Motivations

What influenced Orwell to write was largely the injustices he saw in the society and went through. He was refused a spot I the army which he found unfair and resorted to writing short plays and reviewing other writers plays. Orwell died of Tuberculosis after wedding his last wife. Additionally, Orwell was influenced by earlier authors such as Charles Dickens and Arthur Koestler, having read about five novels written by Arthur Koestler (Andrews, 2017).

Critical Analysis

Orwell's works are well done in depicting the injustices in the society. For example, in the animal farm, Orwell manages to explore several themes that touch on the everyday life of ordinary citizens as well as the leadership in society. He has criticized leaders in his texts and essays as well. The use of various themes throughout his works has resulted in him being ranked as one of the best writers of all time in England and beyond. Additionally, his style of writing, which was full of analogy and allegory was acclaimed by several people and sources. The animal farm is used as an example for this paper to depict a cross section of every work that Orwell did. In this novel, he uses various domestic animals to show the inequalities in the animal society which translate to the people society since animals often do not have such elaborate language and organization as is depicted in the novel. As a matter of fact, the novel depicted the injustices that were characteristic of Orwell's society without mentioning names of the leaders. This avoided criticism and retaliation from the ruling class against the author.

However, the mastery of language that is evident in the works of Orwell is impressive and his critical view of matters is on point and it is what makes his works clear and desirable.

However, the author was largely inclined in showing the negative aspects of the society to the extent that his work could be viewed as a vendetta mission. His texts could be interpreted to show a vengeful individual who is not content with the society. In a nutshell, his works appeared biased since he focused on injustices and never really there to show the positivity in the society. This is not exactly a weakness but can make his novels unreliable as sole sources of evidence since they do not give a balanced view of the society but a specific stand that is characteristic of the author (Orwell, 1996).

Impact on Other Authors

The works of Orwell have lefty a significant impact on several authors after his death. One example is Mira kami Haruki's salutation towards Orwell's 1984. In this work, Haruki praises Orwell and uses his style of writing while at it. Margaret Atwood was also influenced by Orwell's works, particularly by his strong comments on totalitarian and communist regimes. She read Animal Farm when she was nine years old and later re-read the text with a deeper understanding of its implications; this had a significant effect on her subsequent writings. This is seen in her novel The Handmaid's Tale in which she presents an alternate reality Orwell's 1984 alternate reality. Additionally, Atwood's later writings which touched on government and society had references as well as similarities to Orwell's writings. Last but not least, William Golding, was also influenced by Orwell's works. Although the connection between the two authors is less direct, there are plenty of similarities in how the two authors wrote and their writing topics have been noted to coincide perfectly. There are multiple elements of Orwell scattered throughout Golding's work and clearly helped in shaping his novels.


Andrews, V. (2017, March 1). Atwood and golding. Retrieved from

Johnston, T. (2003, December 10). 100 years after birth, Orwell still exerts strong influence, writers say. Retrieved from

Orwell, G. (1996). Animal farm: A fairy story. Kolkata: Signet; 50th Anniversary edition.

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