Tell Me More About... George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair, most commonly known by his pen name George Orwell, was born on the 25th June 1903 in Bengal, India. A world-renowned writer, essayist, novelist and journalist to name but a few, he was known for novels such as ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. He became a teacher in Hayes, West London, in April 1932, to add to his many talents, before his untimely death at the age of 46 on the 21st January 1950.

Son of Ida Mabel Blair and Richard Walmesley Blair, Orwell moved to Oxfordshire, England in 1904 with his mother. From an early age Orwell dreamed of being a world-renowned writer, telling his friend that one day he wished to write a book in the style of H.G. Wells. Orwell was educated at St Cyprians School, before moving to Wellington College in January 1917, finally moving to Eton in May 1917.

Following his education, Orwell returned to his birth country of India to join the Indian Imperial Police Service. After nearly 6 years in the police service, Orwell was taken ill with dengue fever and returned to the United Kingdom. Whilst on his leave of absence due to illness, Orwell decided he would like to become a writer so resigned from the Indian Imperial Police Service in 1927.

In April 1932, Orwell took up a post at The Hawthorns High School, a small school for boys with only 14 to 16 pupils, in West London as a teacher. Whilst here he continued his writing career, his standout piece during this time being ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’, a memoir novel about his time in Paris and London in 1928. Orwell moved schools in mid-1933 to teach at Frays College, Middlesex, a larger school. In 1934 Orwell developed a chill whilst out writing his motorbike, this developed into pneumonia which resulted in a stay in hospital. Upon his discharge from hospital, Orwell did not return to teaching.

Orwell continued to write after leaving teaching, with his most famous novel coming in 1945, ‘Animal Farm’. The novel centres around Manor Farm in Willingdon, owned by Mr Jones the farmer, where the animals living there are unhappy with the way the farm is run, so plan a revolt and a plan to overthrow the humans. With characters such as Old Major, Napoleon, Snowball, Boxer and Muriel, ‘Animal Farm’ looks to reflect on the time of the Russian Revolution. Today ‘Animal Farm’ is still an important part of English Literature, particularly for GCSE English Literature students up and down the UK.

In 1947 Orwell was diagnosed with tuberculosis, a condition that would be a factor in his death aged 46. He married his second wife, Sonia Brownell in his hospital in October 1949, where Sonia cared for Orwell until his death on the 21st January 1950.

A statue of Orwell is placed at the BBC Broadcasting House in London, with the inscription "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear" placed behind it on the wall.

If you have enjoyed reading about George Orwell, why not try another blog in our ‘Tell Me More About..’ series and find out more about Shakespeare in our ‘Tell Me More About… Shakespeare’ blog.


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