George Orwell was known for his significant contribution to literature. He wrote six novels and several essays in his time. One of his notable works is the book Animal Farm. But did you know the controversy behind his work entitled 1984?
The torture chamber in George Orwell’s novel 1984 was named Room 101 after a conference room at the BBC headquarters where he had to sit through countless dull meetings.
Who Was George Orwell?
George Orwell, also known as, Eric Arthur Blair, was born in Motihari, Bengal, India, on June 25, 1903. He was a member of the Sahib caste from birth since his father was a modest British civil servant in India. His mother, a Frenchwoman, was the daughter of a failed teak merchant in Myanmar.
In 1911, he went to a preparatory boarding school in Sussex when their family returned to England. Here, his social status and intelligence set him apart from everyone else. The challenges he faced turned him into an eccentric young man which was evident in his work.
Orwell was granted scholarships to Wellington and Eton. He started his education at Wellington and continued at Eton after.
In 1922, Orwell traveled to Burma, Myanmar, to work as an assistant district superintendent with the Indian Imperial Police. He worked in several country stations and appeared to be a perfect imperial servant. But his dreams caught up to him.
He aspired to be a writer since he was a child. By the time he understood how much the British had controlled the Burmese, he felt humiliated by his profession.
Orwell left Myanmar by 1927 and went back to England. On January 1, 1928, he resigned from the imperial police force. He had begun a path of action that would shape his character as a writer.
The racial and caste restrictions had kept him from mixing with the Burmese. Due to the guilt he felt, he thought he should get to know them by immersing himself and live as one of Europe’s destitute and outcasts.
Orwell dressed in rags and went to the East End of London and resided in a cheap home. He mingled among laborers and beggars. He also experienced living in the slums of Paris while working as a dishwasher in posh French hotels and restaurants. He traveled along English roads with professional vagrants. He went with the people of the London slums to work at the Kentish hop fields.
In its portrayal of a sensitive, conscientious, and emotionally isolated character in conflict with a repressive or dishonest social milieu, Orwell’s debut novel, Burmese Days, established the pattern of his subsequent works.
A Clergyman’s Daughter, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, The Road to Wigan Pier, the renowned Animal Farm, and 1984 were some of Orwell’s most significant works.
In 1950, Orwell died in London from tuberculosis. (Source: Britannica)
Why Room 101?
In Orwell’s 1984 novel, he prophesied about the future and how the government would be able to control an individual by suppressing their happiness and freedom through manipulation and fear.
Orwell created Room 101 in the novel’s climax. In this room, a person is put to their worst nightmare. By using their fear and phobia against them, they reach their ultimate breaking point. Room 101 is known as the final stage of embracing Big Brother for every resident of Oceania who has betrayed him.
In the 40s, Orwell worked at BBC Broadcasting House in London, and it is thought that he named the infamous Room 101 after a conference room there. Here, he was forced to sit through tedious meetings through World War II. (Source: The Vintage News)