What are some biographical facts about George Orwell that can connect to his book 1984?

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gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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There several aspects of George Orwell’s life that relate directly to his novel 1984.

One of the more general and basic is that Orwell was a long term socialist. He was not, however, purely theoretical in his politics, but instead lived them first hand, fighting against Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

There are more specific links, though.

In 1984, Orwell paints vivid pictures of the poor in England. He was not born poor, but spent some time living and working among this class early in his life. (See Down and Out in Paris and London for details here.)

His heroes are charged with political crimes; Orwell was charged with treason for his actions in Spain.

There is a considerable amount of propaganda in in 1984, and commentary on how this propaganda affects people, history, and clear thinking. For a couple of years during World War II (1941-1943), Orwell worked for the British government essentially as a propagandist. He hated this experience, and when governments tried to reshape reality.

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audmkamp's profile pic

audmkamp | In Training Educator

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One life experience that connects well to his book is his early childhood education. In Orwell's autobiographical essay, Such, Such Were the Joys, he describes his experiences between the 8-13 years old while a student at St Cyprian's boarding school. In the essay, Orwell talks about contradictions of the Edwardian middle and upper class world-view, on the psychology of children, and on the experience of oppression and class conflict.

In the essay he also describes education at the school as "a preparation for a sort of confidence trick," meant to maximize his performance on admissions exams to top English public schools, without concern for any true knowledge, learning or understanding on the student's part.

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