George Orwell, Etonian down and out
On this day in 1903 English writer Eric Blair, whose pen name was George Orwell, was born.
The man whose writings gave us some of the best known terms for a dystopian future, such as Big Brother, Cold War and Room 101, wrote some chilling predictions of the future. Orwell came from a relatively poor family but won a scholarship to Eton.
After the Second World War he became known to the wider public through his books of political satire Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four. Most of his life and his writing was given to highlighting the struggles of underprivileged people, as portrayed in his book Down and out in Paris and London.
He probably knew this poem by Thomas Hardy about a meeting of struggling people, At the Railway Station, Upway:
There is not much that I can do,
For I’ve no money that’s quite my own!”
Spoke up the pitying child–
A little boy with a violin
At the station before the train came in,–
“But I can play my fiddle to you,
And a nice one ’tis, and good in tone!”
The man in the handcuffs smiled;
The constable looked, and he smiled too,
As the fiddle began to twang;
And the man in the handcuffs suddenly sang
With grimful glee: “This life so free is the thing for me!”
And the constable smiled, and said no word,
As if unconscious of what he heard;
And so they went on till the train came in–
The convict, and boy with the violin.
Today I will remember that there are probably many struggling people around me whom I should try to identify and to help.