A Collection of Essays

A Collection of Essays (Harvest Book) - George Orwell Such,Such Were the Joys...: I can't say that I liked this essay. It was hard to "witness" the brutality with which schooling was handled at the beginning of the last century. Harder still to experience it from such an intimate point of view. These were his caneings, his starvation, his humiliations, it was his spirit that was being broken(unsuccessfully). No, I didn't like this essay but it bloody well was effective in making me shudder and be grateful for the changes in schooling practices.
Charles Dickens: I loved this essay. I've never been a fan of Dickens - his long-winded style, the meandering story-telling made me want to throw his books across the room 5 minutes after I'd picked them up. This essay spoke to all of my dislikes and said - look at these works from an alternate point of view as a window into the mind and the world of the author. I don't agree with all of Orwell's arguments but they were all interesting to read and think about. I've got David Copperfield downloaded and will be giving it a go again, this time with (in some ways) a less and (in other ways) a more critical eye.
The Art of Donald McGill: I wasn't sure where this essay was going at first but when it finally got there ... I was thrilled with the message. A satisfying little read, this one.
Rudyard Kipling: I don't know enough of Kiplings work to raise argument with this essay. What Orwell does here is analyze the man behind the writer. He did so with Dickens as well. The worrisome part for me is the question of whether that evaluation, based primarily on the authors output, could be considered truth?
Raffles and Miss Blandish: Blech ... weakest so far!
Shooting an Elephant: A poignant essay that speaks beautifully and quite personally to one of the ways in which power corrupts.
Politics and the English Language: This should be required reading for all! I read this essay a few years ago and was moved to read more of Orwell's writings. It's one of his more optimistic pieces, he fully believes that it's possible to stop the deterioration of his beloved English. It would be possible too if politicians and advertisers wanted to sell reality in stead of fantasy all of a sudden! My favorite bit: "What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about."
Ghandi: The more I read of Orwell the more I see him as very sure of his point of view though he sees others and addresses them in his writing - that's what I like about him. In this piece he comes across more conflicted than I've ever seen. This is one of his least clear essays but it's still an excellent read!
Marrakech: Not quite an essay ... more a collection of vignettes depicting an awakening mind.