This Is A Review And Examination Of Orwell's Homage To Catalonia. It Concerns The Spanish Civil War, Specifically From The Side Of The Poum.

1044 words - 4 pages

The depiction of the Spanish Civil War by George Orwell in his Homage to Catalonia is remarkable; an extremely well written novel. Orwell, an Englishman by way of India, joined the Workers' Party of Marxist Unity (POUM) to fight against Fascism, and if asked why he was fighting, would have said for "common decency". Orwell went to Spain with the intention of doing some writing for various newspapers and journals, but quickly joined a section of the militia under the control of the POUM. Homage to Catalonia was originally written for the Left Book Club, yet the book is a great depiction of the political and the physical aspects of war, and the Spanish in general. Although the members of the Left Book Club would have had considerable knowledge of the circumstances in Spain, the average reader is ignorant of the conditions of war and the Spanish, thus this first hand account of the Spanish Civil War is extremely enlightening to the populace at large. Orwell begins by conveying his first impressions of the Spanish and trench warfare. Orwell thoroughly describes his tribulations at the front line, yet amusingly is much more concerned with finding firewood than with the enemy. The reader would think that the Spanish were inept at doing most things, something which Orwell comically attributes to saving his life at times and in fact, this book is quite funny in places as Orwell makes light of the glaring inadequacies of the Spanish at the most perilous times. Orwell compared his time at the front to that of a mock opera, yet he found his time at the front line to be one of the most meaningful experiences of his life. Orwell's beautiful prose and the thoroughness of this account made Homage to Catalonia a joy to read.Perhaps the most important aspect that Orwell relates, something necessary for the Spanish Civil War to be truly understood, is the fact that Spain is a mess and everything is confusing. Political rivals are fighting a common enemy, yet in no way are aligned with one another. Orwell does a fabulous job of capturing Spain in her chaotic state. Orwell goes into detail about who is fighting who and which sides are which. To very simply describe the situation, there are the Anarchists, who wanted a workers' type party, and the Communists, obviously advocates of Communism, fighting Fascism led by General Franco. Although the Anarchists and Communists have very different political agendas, they are both fighting Fascism, so at the time are peaceful rivals. To add to the confusion, Stalin supports the Communists and the PSUC, while the POUM is anti-Stalinist, yet they fight a common enemy. Franco and the Fascists have German support.Orwell devotes a few chapters to laying out what is happening politically and goes into a lot of detail. My only criticism of this work is found in these chapters as they are filled with many acronyms such as CNT, UCT, PSUC, nearly requiring a scorecard to be understood. These chapters are quite confusing to...

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