The Impact Of The Spanish Civil War On George Orwell.

2261 words - 9 pages

Few would argue that experiencing the harsh realities that one is confronted with in wartime would change one's outlook on life, politics, the future and possibly, even the past. Previously insignificant events gradually come into focus as being of vital importance to our understanding of an issue and perspectives of all sorts on all issues are impacted, either leading to a change in perspective or a solidification of our current views. George Orwell's experience in the Spanish Civil War from 1936, unique as it was, was no different. Orwell's Spanish experience enabled considerable contact with those of varying political persuasions on the left, right and centre, thus Orwell's own political inclinations were slightly modified and disillusionment did arise with his experience with communism.Another area of considerable change in Orwell's life in which he also experienced disillusionment was in the area of historical inquiry. As will be proven, this disillusionment was compacted by his own struggle with historical methodologies and ethics, thus we can see the reasons behind the voluminous nature of Orwell's writings that concern themselves with this. In addition to this, Orwell had always been one prone to comment on injustice and other quirks of society he saw in society, and through the Spanish civil war, he was exposed to even more injustice. Orwell's limited exposure to the Great War of 1914- 1918, World War Two and other experiences in his worldly travels also had considerable impact on his life and those around him. However, as we shall see, there was an even greater and more significant change in Orwell that took place in the years immediately surrounding his Spanish experience.As is evident in many of Orwell's literary works of the late 1930's and the 1940's, Orwell was quite disappointed in ever decreasing role that objectiveness was playing in historical works. Orwell, by his own admission saw his Spanish experience as one of the phenomena that drove him to disillusionment with historical discourse as a whole. Patai also takes on this point of view by suggesting that the lies and fabrications that the Communists produced in promoting the view that Orwell's militia -the POUM, was an undercover Fascist group were a prominent factor in Orwell's newfound hatred and distrust of the extreme left. In hindsight, the absurd nature of political attacks like this can be seen, particularly when we know that for around a year already that the POUM had been fighting and dying against Franco's fascists. This is hardly the approach a fascist fifth column force would have taken in this historical context. Nevertheless, there were far more outreaching implications for Orwell's new mindset. It was major issues like this that begun to affect both his political and historical outlooks.When we consider that Orwell went to Spain as a journalist, it hardly seems worth mentioning that he should have been aware of how an author's motif and background affects the...

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