Over the last decade, I have had the opportunity to read some of the most exquisite pieces of literature from all over the world. From Russian classics like The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky to Indian gems like The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, I consider myself privileged to have been able to get my hands on the best there is.
In the process of reading dozens and dozens of novels, I came across some of the most revered authors of all time. But none of them influenced me as much as Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name, George Orwell. Undisputedly one of the greatest dystopian writers of the English language, Orwell wrote two of my favourite novels, 1984 and Animal Farm. Those two are, in fact, Orwell’s most popular works, and I fail to fathom how he could write such stories which seem to be reminiscent of the word we are living in.
What Makes George Orwell So Special?
In this blog, I don’t want to discuss the biography of George Orwell, though it is an interesting topic in itself. Just to give a gist of it, Orwell was an English novelist born in the early 20th century, in British India. He died at age of 46, and within that short period, he witnessed the First World War, the Second World War, the Indian Freedom Struggle, the Holocaust, the Spanish Civil War, and the rise of totalitarianism across the globe. He died of tuberculosis in London, United Kingdom.
Now, what makes George Orwell so special? He wrote what he saw, and today, we see what he wrote! It’s as simple as that.
George Orwell was born as brought up in arguably the most turbulent times of modern history. And this was amply apparent in his works. He was heavily impacted by the world he lived in, especially by dark sides of human nature that were on display in abundance in the first half of the 20th century. He depicts the dark, dreary emotions, instilling fear, anxiety, and discomfort in the readers. This makes him stand out among the most revered authors of the modern era.
And he grips you! He grips you like a creeper grips and wraps it around a tree. His books pull you in, and never let you go until you’re emotionally exhausted. Very few authors can do this. When I first read George Orwell’s magnum opus, 1984, I had a disturbing feeling in my heart and stomach at least a dozen times.
Rich & Luxurious Writing
George Orwell is an elegant storyteller, and his narration is embellished with his luxurious writing. Especially in 1984, Orwell takes a complex approach, which is difficult and consuming, but equally satisfying for literature nerds and enthusiasts. His style of third-person narration is unique and his writing is rich and beautiful.
Orwell’s writing is certainly not a beginner’s ball game, which is why the young guns aren’t familiar with him. In the Eastern Hemisphere, George Orwell continues to be a lesser-known author among the youth. I personally didn’t know about George Orwell until a couple of years ago. Neither any of my friends from school or college did.
Then I came across a political discussion of YouTube. It was some social activist who mentioned the book 1984. Out of curiosity, I bought the book and read it. At first, I was bored by the humourless language, but as I flipped pages, I realized that this is no ordinary novel. And by the time I finished it, I was convinced. Not reading George Orwell would have rendered my literary journey incomplete. The sheer brilliance with which he makes the point and kills all hope is something I had never seen.
Contrastingly, Animal Farm is a different game altogether. The gritty and complex narration makes way for satire, and while 1984 pins you to the ground, this one simply pushes you till you lay flat and then sits on you. The book is quite accessible for a young and inexperienced audience, without compromising on the meaty literary gifts for the nerds.
His Writing is as True as Death
One thing I found common in both, 1984 and Animal Farm, is that both of them are extremely truthful. They are so true that it almost scares you. If you have been apolitical in your life, be careful! You’ll suddenly realize what a shitty world you live in, which is controlling you without even you realizing it. And sadly, all that you feel is true.
The world is not a rosy sugary wonderland the elites want you to believe. It is a dark dirty pit, where you either live as a slave or die fighting. He exposes myths like democracy, free will, free speech, and freedom in general. He makes us realize that all of these are mere illusions, while the reality is dominance. The strong dominate the weak, and the intelligent dominate the fools. That’s it! This is the ultimate truth of this world.
Don’t get me wrong, George Orwell doesn’t promote anarchy. What he says that law, rules, regulations, and punishments exist, but only for the commoners, or the headless chickens who are willing to do whatever they are told to do. Not for the elite!
How it Shaped My Worldview
George Orwell’s writing has had a significant impact on my perception of the world. I have realized one fact, and that’s no one in this can help us without their inherent interest. We only become a tool for them to toil with and to gain power.
Let me explain. The Leftists and the Centrists are campaigning against the Right Wing at the moment. They accuse them of corruption, racism, totalitarianism, and whatnot. They blame the right for the horrible living standards of the poor, the widespread unemployment, and inefficiency of the administrative system.
But are Leftists or the Centrists any different? I don’t think so. For instance, the left was in power in West Bengal for a very long time. What did it do? Barring Kolkata, and a few neighboring towns, has the region progressed? No, it hasn’t. Likewise, take Uttar Pradesh. The crime capital of this country. UP was predominantly ruled by the socialists, and they failed miserably. They failed not only in administration but also in intention. They plundered the poor and pleased the rich.
Does that mean the Right-wingers are righteous? Not at all! In fact, they are more dangerous than their predecessors. But who let them in? Who made the holes so big that the animals could infiltrate and ruin this beautiful world? The socialist and the centrists did!
This is what I feel after reading George Orwell. I no longer have any political affiliation, and I’m utterly thankful! Indeed, Eric Arthur Blair is by far the greatest author of dystopian literature for me.
Which authors do you like the most? Let me know in the comments below.
Noman is a literature student, news analyst, and content creator. When not writing news and other content for clients, he likes to read novels and talk about them. Born and raised in a ghetto of Mumbai, he is vocal about the social issues facing the slums and his community. Noman is the co-founder of Bombay Reads, a platform where he likes to write and discuss books.