Published: March 2011
Orwell draws on his experience in the Indian Imperial Police for his first novel, BURMESE DAYS, a devastating indictment of British colonial rule (he resigned to escape not merely from imperialism but from every form of man s dominion over man , as he later wrote). John Flory, cowardly and self-pitying, makes an unlikely but all-too-human tragic hero as he defies convention and prejudice to befriend an Indian doctor, then shoots himself when the girl who had seemed to promise escape from the stultifying lie of colonial life refuses to marry him. While reporting on the dark side of the Raj, Orwell nonetheless came under the spell of the landscape of the East, and the exotic background of BURMESE DAYS inspired his most lush descriptive writing. Back in England, Orwell tackles capitalism, nonconformity and compromise in KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING. Youthful idealist and would-be author Gordon Comstock rebels against a life of middle-class respectability (symbolized by the aspidistra), abandoning his job with an advertising company to work part-time in a bookshop. But everything goes wrong- alternately proud and self-loathing, he lets himself sink into poverty; he is unable to writ
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