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G. Orwell - Biography

Biography of George Orwell (1903-1950)

George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair on June 25, 1903, in Motihari, India. The Blair's were relatively prosperous civil servants, working in India on behalf of the British Empire. Blair would later describe his family?s socioeconomic status as "lower-upper middle class," on comment on the extraordinary degree to which British citizens in India depended on the Empire for their livelihood; though the Blair were able to live quite comfortably in India, they had none of the physical assets or independent investments that would have been enjoyed by their class in England proper. Despite this factor, Ida Blair moved back to England in 1904 with Eric and his older sister Marjorie so that they could be brought up in a more traditional Christian environment.
In England, Blair entered the public school system, and was admitted to Eton College in 1917. For most students of this era, Eton led directly to higher education at a university, often Oxford or Cambridge. Blair shunned further formal schooling, and after leaving Eton in 1921, returned to India in 1922 to join the Indian Imperial Police. This work gave Blair his first real experiences with the poor and downtrodden whom he would later champion, and unhappy with the his position as the "hand of the oppressor," Blair resigned from the police force in 1927, returning to England that same year.
Upon return to England, Blair lived in the East End district of London, which was filled with paupers and the destitute, whom he saw as the spiritual kin of the Burmese peasants he had encountered as a policeman. In 1928, Blair moved to Paris to become a writer, where he again lived among the poor, and was eventually forced to abandon his writing temporarily and become a dishwasher. He returned to England the next year (1929), and lived as a tramp before finding work as a teacher at a private school. This position gave Blair time to write, and his first book, Down and Out in Paris...

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