‘Good prose is like a window pane.’-George Orwell
In this book, George Orwell, the author of famous works like Animal Farm and 1984, explains how he started writing.The book offers an insight into the mind of one of the great writers of his era, and also explains how he graduated from writing poems to short stories while a continuous “story” about himself was forming in his head.
According to Orwell, there exist four motives for writing in varying degrees in writers:
1.Sheer egotism: The tendency to get back to someone. He says that serious writers are more vain and self centered than journalists, though less interested in money.
2.Aesthetic Enthusiasm:The ability to find beauty in the most mundane of places and describe them in words.
3.Historical Impulse:The tendency to find the truth behind anything.
4.Political purpose: The ability to influence the world to move in a certain direction with your words.
For Orwell, the first three motives outweigh the fourth, but he has been forced to become a political author because of the turbulent times he lives in.Orwell says that when he sits down to write, he does that think that his new book will be an art. Rather, he writes because he wants to expose a lie, a blatant truth.Discussing the importance of having a political purpose, he says that whenever he has lacked it in his books, he has produced lifeless novels.
The author is writing at a time when the Fascist movement is gaining traction in Western Europe. He says that the only way to combat it is if Socialism comes to power in Britain.He further goes on to elucidate the role of India as a colony in the whole process and says that Britain has three options- either to grant free status to India and allow it to come in the hands of Britain’s enemies like Russia and Japan; or to treat India and other colonies as partners with the possibility of succession or lastly, to continue ruling the colonies. He thinks that granting immediate power to self rule would do the colonies more harm than good since all the main officers running the countries were still British. However, he feels that India needs to be given the option of succession to maintain peace in the colony.
I recommend this book to get to those who enjoy a liberal dose of politics in the books they read.