Masaryk University Faculty of Arts Department of English and American Studies



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The Road to Wigan Pier is concerned with the issue of class in the United Kingdom. There appears to be unnecessary animosity of the upper-classes towards the working class acquired in upringing. Class distinctions epitomize inequality and their abolition seems unlikely to Orwell as the governing classes benefit greatly from the division. Therefore they wish to preserve the class system. Orwell considers socialism to be the solution to the issue of class as one of the greatest virtues of socialism is its emphasis on social equality. Socialism in his view represents the counterpoint to despotic regimes, notably to fascism. According to Orwell, socialism should strive to overthrow tyranny and establish equality. However, this discourages many people from supporting the system as it might lead to the lowering of life standard of the rich.

Socialism is often associated with mechanical progress which ought to improve the quality of human life. However, Orwell believes that there exists a connection between admirable human qualities and difficulties of life. In a world where all danger and disasters would be eliminated qualities such as loyalty and generosity might be of no use and cease to exist. Misfortune therefore appears to be an essential component of the formation of human personality.

Works Cited

Ball, Sidney. The Moral Aspects of Socialism. London: Fabian Society, 1926. Print.

Benson, George. Socialism and Capitalism. London: I.L.P. Publication Department, 1925. Print.

Carr, Craig L. Orwell, Politics, and Power. New York: Continuum, 2010. Ebrary. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Clutton-Brock, Arthur. The Philosophy of Socialism. Westminster: Fabian Society, 1916. Print.

Crick, Bernard. George Orwell: A Life. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1982. Print.

Dasgupta, Partha. An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution. New York: Oxford UP, 1993. Ebrary. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Friedman, Benjamin M. The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. 1st ed. New York: Vintage Books, 2005. Print.

Hyam, Ronald. Empire and Sexuality: The British Experience. Manchester: Manchester UP, c1990. Print.

Jameson, Fredric. “Modernism and Imperialism.” Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, c1990. Print.

Loomba, Ania. Colonialism, Postcolonialism. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, c2005. Print.

Orwell, George. Burmese Days. London: Penguin Books, 2002. Print.

---. Down and Out in Paris and London. The Penguin Complete Longer Non-Fiction of George Orwell. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1983. 7-153. Print.

---. The Road to Wigan Pier. New York: Berkley Medallion Book, 1967. Print.

Pallister, Minnie. Socialism, Equality and Happiness. London: I.L.P. Publication Department, 1925. Print.

Saunders, Loraine. The Unsung Artistry of George Orwell: The Novels from Burmese Days to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Abingdon, Oxon: Ashgate Publishing Group, c2008. Ebrary. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.

Spargo, John. Socialism: A Summary and Interpretation of Socialist Principles. New York: Macmillan Company, 1918. Print.

Thomas, Edward M. Orwell. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1965. Print.

Watts, Carl P. “Pax Britannica.” Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800-1914. Ed. Carl C. Hodge. Vol. 2. N.p.: Greenwood Press, 2007. 547-50. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

Williams, Bernard. “Morality and the Emotions: An Inaugural Lecture.” London: Bedford College, 1965. Print.

Resumé

Cílem této práce je rozbor politických a mravních aspektů třech zásadních děl britského spisovatele George Orwella. Těmito díly jsou Barmské dny, Na dně v Paříži a Londýně a Cesta k Wigan Pier. Hlavní důraz je kladen na vývoj Orwellových politických myšlenek ve vybraných dílech. Jeho kritika imperialismu a fašismu je srovnávána s jeho náklonností k socialismu. Práce dále porovnává Orwellovy socialistické názory s tradičními socialistickými přesvědčeními, jež jsou zastávány jinými socialistickými mysliteli. Práce zkoumá cíle Orwellovy tvorby za pomoci aplikace autorových mravních myšlenek na situaci nemajetných. Těmito cíli se ukazují být snaha zlepšit situaci chudých a upozornit na vykořisťovatelskou a rasistickou podstatu imperialismu. Práce poukazuje na stigmatizující vliv předsudků a mylných představ, které dle Orwella značně přispívají k posílení vzájemné nesnášenlivosti mezi nižšími a vyššími třídami. Tato práce předkládá tvrzení, že Orwell ve své tvorbě pohlíží kladně na myšlenku společenské rovnosti a snaží se vyvrátit výše zmíněné mylné představy.



Résumé

The aim of the thesis is to analyse the political and moral aspects of three major works by the British writer George Orwell: Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, and The Road to Wigan Pier. The main focus is placed on the development of Orwell’s political thinking in the selected works. His criticism of imperialism and fascism is juxtaposed with his favourable attitude towards socialism. Orwell’s ideas regarding socialism are compared with the traditional beliefs about the system argued by various socialist thinkers. The application of Orwell’s moral ideas to the situation of the destitute is studied in order to determine the aims of his writing. These aims appear to be the intention to ameliorate the situation of the poor and the effort to draw attention to the exploitative and racist nature of imperial regime. The thesis shows the stigmatizing effect created by prejudice and misconceptions. These in Orwell’s opinion contribute significantly to the animosity between the lower and the upper classes. The thesis proposes that Orwell regards social equality with favour and he desires to disprove the aforementioned preconceived ideas.





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