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George Orwell was a British writer, most widely known to the public for his most famous novels “1984” and “Animal Farm.”
The “Big Brother is watching you” quote is used continuously all over the world to comment on the political situation in countries (it is especially frequent to see such a poster in protests).
His books and essays are not just stories – they are a critique of the world we live in, that you cannot help but agree with, and you hate him because he was completely right.
You do not want to live in a world like in Orwell’s stories, and yet, in some situations, it seems that our realities are excerpts from his novels.
Orwell was an ordinary man, a son of a colonial civil servant in eastern India, where he was born in 1903. He got English education and then became a worker in the Imperial Police in the, then British – Burma.
However, the job did not seem to satisfy him. He had an itch for something else – for words.
In 1927 he decided to scratch the itch, resigned his job and moved to Paris.
Becoming a writer was everything except easy, so Orwell was forced to do some manual jobs to make a living, while he was penning his first book.
His real name was Eric Arthur Blair but felt that George Orwell had a better sound to it, so he decided to take it as his pen name.
The first book he published was “Down and Out in Paris and London” in 1934, and shortly after that he also published his first novel “Burmese Days.”
Up till that point, he considered himself an anarchist, but as he saw more of the world, he became a socialist. Then soon he became an anti-Stalinist, as he had an experience in which he had to flee to survive, afraid of communists that were supported by the Soviets and were chasing after revolutionary socialists.
Nearing the age of forty, he worked for the BBC and later became an editor of the Tribune.
By then he was already successful, publishing books and writing articles and reviews for newspapers, but he became a real star with the publication first of his novel “Animal Farm” and then, four years later of “1984”.
He died of tuberculosis just one year after the publication of “1984”.
These books made quite an impact on the literary world and are frequently quoted even today.
Which brings us to the next point: Orwell’s most famous quotes.
George Orwell Quotes – Top 10
Apart from being a novelist that knew how to pack what everyone was thinking in a compelling story, Orwell was also a journalist and essayist.
His importance as an essayist is often in the shadow of his two novels, but we must not forget to mention it.
Most of the opinions he has been packing up in fictitious stories in his novels – he had stated loud and clear in his essays.
He also talked about writing, as well as the worth of literature quite often.
That is why in the following list of quotes, you will also find many taken from his essays. Although many of them lose some of their power when taken out of context, they still ring true even read individually.
Quotes by George Orwell – Animal Farm
Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.
There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word—Man.
All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind.
Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure. On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility.
In the old days, there had often been scenes of bloodshed equally terrible, but it seemed to all of them that it was far worse now that it was happening among themselves. Since Jones had left the farm, until today, no animal had killed another animal.
There was no thought of rebellion or disobedience in her mind. She knew that, even as things were, they were far better off than they had been in the days of Jones, and that before all else it was needful to prevent the return of the human beings.
They knew that life nowadays was harsh and bare, that they were often hungry and often cold, and that they were usually working when they were not asleep. But doubtless, it had been worse in the old days. They were glad to believe so. Besides, in those days they had been slaves, and now they were free, and that made all the difference.
No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.
Quotes by George Orwell – 1984
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end.
It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn’t only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other word? A word contains its opposite in itself.
For after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable–what then?
In the old days, he thought, a man looked at a girl’s body and saw that it was desirable, and that was the end of the story. But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred.
Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon.
At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation. In the face of the Thought Police there is no other way.
Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.
Both of them knew — in a way, it was never out of their minds — that what was now happening could not last long.
Quotes by George Orwell – The Road to Wigan Pier
No sooner have you washed one child’s face than another is dirty; before you have washed the crocks from one meal the next is due to be cooked.
Our age has not been altogether a bad one to live in.
To the ordinary working man, the sort you would meet in any pub on Saturday night, Socialism does not mean much more than better wages and shorter hours and nobody bossing you about.
You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but not to cooks or bacon-curers or market-gardeners.
Poverty is poverty, whether the tool you work with is a pick-ax or a fountain pen.
All his opinions change into their opposites at the first brush of reality.
Quotes by George Orwell – A Collection of Essays
I was crying partly because I felt that this was expected of me, partly from genuine repentance, but partly also because of a deeper grief which is peculiar to childhood and not easy to convey: a sense of desolate loneliness and helplessness, of being locked up not only in a hostile world but in a world of good and evil where the rules were such that it was actually not possible for me to keep them.
Myths which are believed in tend to become true.
The intellectual is different from the ordinary man, but only in certain sections of his personality, and even then not all the time.
On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.
To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.
The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable.”
Whoever writes about his childhood must beware of exaggeration and self-pity.
Clarity is the remedy.
George Orwell was an author who had a strong political opinion and made sure to include it in all of its writings.
If we listen to the writing advice stating that good writers have something to say, then Orwell is an exceptional one.
His books are clever, interesting, and full of relatable lines. The collection of quotes above was just a little chunk of the wealth that Orwell’s manuscripts offer.
So, if you are reading this now, you know that you have a big task ahead of you: read Orwell’s thoughts in their full form.