E. M. Forster's Thoughts on George Orwell's Work
In a 1950 commentary by English novelist Edward Morgan Forster, the effects
of a strong, well-constructed essay on an individual can readily be seen.
The writings of George Orwell have forced Forster to delve into the depths
of his own thoughts, even going so far as to prompt him to put those
thoughts down on paper for others to evaluate. In his article, Forster
analyzes, with critical intentions, an anthology of essays by George Orwell,
collectively entitled Shooting an Elephant. He uses these pieces to discuss
what he believes are Orwell's pejorative ideas and objectives for writing.
It doesn't take long for Forster to begin to describe the deeper problems
with Orwell's habits and style. Because of Orwell's tendency to focus on
unpleasant topics, and because of his desire to share that subject matter
with the rest of the world--almost immediately--Forster declares Orwell a
nagger. The raw fact that Orwell never seemed to let up on those
disconcerting issues troubled Forster, who felt that constant narrative
delving into unpleasantness should be avoided.
Later in his essay, Forster accuses Orwell of continuously looking into the
future with the intention of "stamping upon [the] embryos" (303) of possible
change, good or bad, which could occur in a people. Through this description
of Orwell, along with Orwell's goal to "ameliorate a world which is bound to
be unhappy" (303), Forster almost implies that Orwell attempts to play God.
Throughout his commentary, Forster reiterates in multiple ways his belief
that Orwell's works are too pessimistic and gray, leaving his audience with
downhearted feelings and a despondent look into the future. Once again,
Forster finds this candid negativity deplorable and undesirable. Though some
of Forster's arguments bring up valid points, his underlying critical
analysis of Orwell--as a sort of annoying and untiring gadfly pestering the
world for the good of his own satisfaction and nothing more--is simply
A quality piece of writing is judged effective by its ability to induce its
readers into thought. This thought involves more than just a review of the
surface plot. It involves contemplation of sometimes veiled implications
which work to stimulate reflection over the appropriate aspects of an