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George Orwell The author and his timesGeorge Orwell was a quiet decent Englishman who passionately hated two things inequality and political lying Out of his hatred of inequality came a desire for a society in which class privileges would not exist This to him was democratic socialism His hatred of political lying and his support for socialism led him to denounce the political lie that what was going on in the Soviet Union had anything to do with socialism As long as people equated the Soviet Union with socialism he felt no one could appreciate what democratic socialism might be likeAnd so he says he thought of exposing the Soviet myth in a story that could be easily understood by almost anyone and which could be easily translated into other languages That story was Animal Farm and it has been translated into many other languages Understanding Orwells political convictions--and how they developed--will greatly enrich your reading of Animal FarmHe was born Eric Blair--he took the name George Orwell many years later--in 1903 in India His father was an important British civil servant in that country which was then part of the British Empire He retired on a modest pension and moved back to England a few years after Eric was born Thus the family was part of the lower upper-middle-classes as Orwell was to say people in the English upper classes who werent rich but who felt they should live as the upper classes traditionally did Thats why when Eric was eight the Blairs sent him away to boarding school to prepare for Eton an exclusive prep school Eric had a scholarship and yet his father still ended up spending almost a quarter of his pension to send his son to that boarding school From his parents point of view the sacrifice paid off Eric won a scholarship to Eton From the boys point of view it meant that in a ferociously snobbish class-conscious world
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