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Introducing George Orwell. Considered Himself an “Outsider”. Born Eric Arthur Blair, 1903 Spent early childhood in India Found relationships with others difficult Spent a lot of time alone Made up imaginary companions and told lots of stories Started writing early

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considered himself an outsider
Considered Himself an “Outsider”
  • Born Eric Arthur Blair, 1903
  • Spent early childhood in India
    • Found relationships with others difficult
    • Spent a lot of time alone
    • Made up imaginary companions and told lots of stories
  • Started writing early
    • Dictated poems to his mother before he could write
    • Continued to write in boarding school in England
      • Age 8
  • Indian Imperial Police in Burma
    • Secretly supported Burmese against British
  • Chronic lung illness takes him back to England
  • Begins writing career in England
    • Takes “George Orwell” as pen name – “manly, English, country-sounding ring”
    • Twenty years – newspaper columns, novels, essays, radio broadcasts
  • Fought in Spanish Civil War in 1936
  • He saw socialists, communists, fascists as self-serving and repressive
  • Supported England during WWII
  • Skeptical of government: the struggle between ideals and power
  • Questioned ideology of government
    • Animal Farm created to criticize the Soviet Union despite the alliance between the Soviet Union and England during WWII
on animal farm
On Animal Farm
  • “It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat [worker].”
  • Orwell on inspiration upon seeing a little boy whipping a horse.
animal farm
Animal Farm
  • First book in which Orwell blended artistic and political goals
  • Published in 1945
  • Dystopian animal fable; satire; allegory;
  • Russian Revolution – 1917
    • Czar Nicholas II overthrown by Bolsheviks under Vladmir Lenin’s leadership
    • Stalin takes over in 1924
    • Exalted nationalism – urged Soviet Union in modern industrial age
    • Created “collective” farms – peasants had to give up land.
    • Led executions of 20 million officials and citizens
    • Controlled flow and content of information
    • Outlawed church
more on animal farm
More on Animal Farm
  • No one wanted to publish the book
    • Too controversial since Soviet Union was England’s ally
    • Liberals admired the socialist experiment in the Soviet Union
  • Orwell believed that governments were encroaching on the individual’s freedom of choice, love of family, and tolerance of others.
the soviet revolution
The Soviet Revolution
  • Based on writings of Karl Marx – German intellectual in mid-1800s
    • Two classes of people: Working class and Owner class
    • Working class: creates all the products
    • Owner class: enjoys benefits of the products
    • This division leads to oppression of the working class
  • Marx believed a revolution would create a classless society
      • Work shared by all
      • Slogans like “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
      • Urged people to give up religion – he thought it was false hope of a better afterlife


  • belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion
  • No government
  • The strong get everything


The political, economic, and social theories of Karl Marx including the belief that the struggle between social classes is a major force in history and that there should eventually be a society in which there are no classes



  • a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole
  • small government
  • Specialization – equal distribution
  • Everyone gets what they need


  • a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs
  • collective


  • Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people, exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system
  • Not common – everyone does not vote


a form of government in which leaders are elected for a specific period by the majority of the citizenry, and laws are passed by leaders for the benefit of the entire republic, rather than a select aristocracy. In an ideal republic, leaders are selected from among the working citizenry, serve the republic for a defined period, then return to their work, never to serve again. 


Constitutional Monarchy

  • a form of democratic government in which a nonpolitical monarch acts as head of state within the boundaries of a constitution, whether written or unwritten
  • parliament or congress approves laws
  • people can remove king/queen


  • advocacy of a monarch or monarchical rule
  • state or nation in which the supreme power is seated in a monarch
  • supreme power or sovereignty held by a single person
  • can be good or bad depending on the royalty
  • a family who is in total power


  • a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
  • very harsh control or authority
  • citizens are give the impression that they are free


  • the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority
  • government controls everything
  • centralized control by an oppressive authority