Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Although George Orwell requested that no books be written about him, it is not difficult to glean a considerable amount of autobiographical material from his novels. His autobiographical works and several essays shed much light on his life and personality.

He was born in Motihari, Bengal, in 1903, of Scottish parents and christened Eric Blair. His father was a minor official in the Indian Civil Service and retired to England before his only son was eight years old.

At the age of eight, Orwell received a scholarship to study at a preparatory school, St. Cyprian's, on the south coast of England. It was an expensive school, and his family could not have afforded to' send him without the scholarship. His experiences during this period are found in his essay "Such, Such Were the Joys," published post-humously in 1950. The title is cryptic as there are few "Joys" described in the essay. One section is concerned with the punishment for bedwetting, a common occurrence among young newcomers; another section describes the snobbish attitude of the school director, favoritism toward the very rich boys; "I doubt whether Sim ever caned any boy whose father's income was much above 2,000 pounds a year...." and there are sections discussing the cramming classes for the scholarship boys and the canings. "It is a mistake to think that such methods of physical punishment do not work.... The boys themselves believed in its efficacy.