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How does George Orwell explore social classes and the theme of class concioussness and...

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basalix | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 29, 2010 at 5:18 AM via web

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How does George Orwell explore social classes and the theme of class concioussness and class separation in Down and Out in Paris and London?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 31, 2010 at 10:44 AM (Answer #1)

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In Down and Out in Paris and London George Orwelll explores social class and the theme of class consciousness and class separation by having an objective narrator who is well educated enough to remain dispassionate and analytical as he, through varying circumstances, sinks into the underground impoverished classes in Paris and then London. The final message Orwell brings is that poverty is degrading and destructive to body and soul, and circumstances are worsened because authorities have no concern for the poor neither do authorities have a means to provide succor for the impoverished, who are left to wander the streets--where permitted--and sink into tuberculosis and other irremediable illnesses.

The narrator's journey into the underground, where class separartion is at its apex, is recorded with the clarity and precision, as one critic puts it, of the camera lens, therefore a sound exploration of social class and class consciousness is present. Down and Out would be informatively augmented by the 1952 film Sister Carrie starring Laurence Olivier as the successful maître d' who loses all and eventually sinks into the underground of New York and into death.

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