"It comes down to this.
Either I marry you and go back to the New Albion,
or you go to one of those filthy doctors
and get yourself messed about for five pounds."

ORWELL ASPIDISTRA AGAINST ABORTION

His baby had seemed real to him from the moment when Rosemary spoke of abortion;
...Its future, its continued existence perhaps, depended on him.
Besides, it was a bit of himself - it was himself.
Dare one dodge such a responsibility as that?

Keep the Aspidistra Flying - published in 1936 when he was thirty-three years old - is Orwell's fourth book. When I read it I was totally amazed to hear him writing about abortion. In it he said that if Marxism or Leninism came into power there would be "free abortion clinics on all the corners". He wrote these words in 1936 when there wasn't an abortion clinic in sight and now here we are seventy years later [2006] almost at that point of having aborted the next generation. Also I was amazed to read how much Orwell knew about pre-natal development. ~ Jackie Jura

AspidistraFlying

Chapter Eleven:

... He shut the door..."I wasn't expecting you," he began.

"I had to come. I got away from the studio at lunch time. I told them I was ill."

"You don't look well. Here, you'd better sit down."

There was only one chair in the library. He brought it out from behind the desk and was moving toward her, rather vaguely, to offer some kind of caress. Rosemary did not sit down, but laid her small hand, from which she had removed the glove, on the top rung of the chair-back. By the pressure of her fingers he could see how agitated she was.

"Gordon, I've a most awful thing to tell you. It's happened after all."

"What's happened?"

"I'm going to have a baby."

"A baby? Oh Christ!"

He stopped short. For a moment he felt as though someone had struck him a violent blow under the ribs. He asked the ususal fatuous question:

"Are you sure?"

"Absolutely. It's been weeks now. If you knew the time I've had! I kept hoping and hoping -- I took some pills -- oh, it was too beastly!"

"A baby! Oh, God, what fools we were! As though we couldn't have foreseen it!"

"I know. I suppose it was my fault. I --"

"Damn! Here comes somebody."

... At last, after nearly ten minutes ... he turned back to Rosemary. "Well, what the devil are we going to do about it?" he said as soon as the door had shut.

"I don't see what I can do. If I have this baby I'll lose my job, of course. But it isn't only that I'm worrying about. It's my people finding out. My mother - oh, dear! It simply doesn't bear thinking of."

"Ah, your people! I hadn't thought of them. One's people! What a cursed incubus they are!"

"My people are all right. They've always been good to me. But it's different with a thing like this."

He took a pace or two up and down. Though the news had scared him he had not really grasped it as yet. The thought of a baby, his baby, growing in her womb had awoken in him no emotion except dismay. He did not think of the baby as a living creature; it was a disaster pure and simple. And already he saw where it was going to lead.

"We shall have to get married, I suppose," he said flatly.

"Well, shall we? That's what I came here to ask you."

"But I suppose you want me to marry you, don't you?"

"Not unless you want to. I'm not going to tie you down. I know it's against your ideas to marry. You must decide for yourself."

"But we've no alternative -- if you're really going to have this baby."

"Not necessarily. That's what you've got to decide. Becasue after all there is another way."

"What way?"

"Oh, you know. A girl at the studio gave me an address. A friend of hers had it done for only five pounds."

That pulled him up. For the first time he grasped, with the only kind of knowledge that matters, what they were really talking about. The words "a baby" took on a new significance. They did not mean any longer a mere abstract disaster, they meant a bud of flesh, a bit of himself, down there in her belly, alive and growing. His eyes met hers. They had a strange moment of sympathy such as they had never had before. For a moment he did feel that in some mysterious way they were one flesh. Though they were feet apart, he felt as though they were joined together - as though some invisible living cord stretched from her entrails to his. He knew then that it was a dreadful thing they were contemplating - a blasphemy, if that word had any meaning. Yet if it had been put otherwise he might not have recoiled from it. It was the squalid detail of the five pounds that brought it home.

"No fear!" he said. "Whatever happens we're not going to do that. It's disgusting."

"I know it is. But I can't have the baby without being married."

"No! If that's the alternative I'll marry you. I'd sooner cut my right hand off than do a thing like that."

Ping! went the doorbell.

...When they had gone he came back to Rosemary's chair. He stood behind her, took hold of her small firm shoulders, then slid a hand inside her coat and felt the warmth of her breast. He lilked the strong springy feeling of her body; he liked to think that down there, a guarded seed, his baby was growing. She put a hand up and caressed the hand that was on her breast, but did not speak. She was waiting for him to decide.

"If I marry you I shall have to turn respectable," he said musingly.

"Could you?" she said with a touch of her old manner.

"I mean I shall have to get a proper job - go back to the New Albion. I suppose they'd take me back."

He felt her grow very still and knew that she had been waiting for this. Yet she was determined to play fair. She was not going to bully him or cajole him.

"I never said I wanted you to do that. I want you to marry me - yes, because of the baby. But it doesn't follow you've got to keep me."

"There's no sense in marrying if I can't keep you. Suppose I married you when I was like I am at present - no money and no proper job? What would you do then?"

"I don't know. I'd go on working as long as I could. And afterwards, when the baby got too obvious - well, I suppose I'd have to go home to father and mother."

"That would be jolly for you, wouldn't it? But you were so anxious for me to go back to the New Albion before. You haven't changed your mind?"

"I've thought things over. I know you'd hate to be tied to a regular job. I don't blame you. You've got your own life to live."

He thought it over a little while longer. "It comes down to this. Either I marry you and go back to the New Albion, or you go to one of those filthy doctors and get yourself messed about for five pounds."

At that she twisted herself out of his grasp and stood up facing him. His blunt words had upset her. They had made the issue clearer and uglier than before.

"Oh, why did you say that?"

"Well, those are the alternatives."

"I'd never thought of it like that. I came here meaning to be fair. And now it sounds as if I was trying to bully you into it - tryng to lay on your feelings by threatening to get rid of the baby. A sort of beastly blackmail."

"I didn't mean that. I was only stating facts."

Her face was full of lines, the black brows drawn together. But she had sworn to herself that she would not make a scene. He could guess what this meant to her. He had never met her people, but he could imagine them. He had some notion of what it might mean to go back to a country town with an illegitimate baby; or, what was almost as bad, with a husband who couldn't keep you. But she was going to play fair. No blackmail! She drew a sharp inward breath, taking a decision.

"All right, then, I'm not going to hold that over your head. It's too mean. Marry me or don't marry me, just as you like. But I'll have the baby, anyway."

"You'd do that? Really?"

"Yes, I think so."

He took her in his arms. Her coat had come open, her body was warm against him. He thought he would be a thousand kinds of fool if he let her go. Yet the alternative was impossible, and he did not see it any less clearly because he held her in his arms.

"Of course, you'd like me to go back to the New Albion," he said.

"No, I wouldn't. Not if you don't want to."

"Yes, you would. After all, it's natural. You want to see me earning a decent income again. In a good job, with four pounds a week and an aspidistra in the window. Wouldn't you, now? Own up."

"All right, then - yes, I would. But it's only something I'd like to see happening; I'm not going to make you do it. I'd just hate you to do it if you didn't really want to. I want you to feel free."

"Really and truly free?"

"Yes."

"You know what that means? Supposing I decided to leave you and the baby in the lurch?"

"Well - if you really wanted to. You're free - quite free."

After a little while she went away. Later in the evening or tomorrow he would let her know what he decided. Of course it was not absolutely certain that the New Albion would give him a job even if he asked them; but presumably they would, considering what Mr. Erskine had said. Gordon tried to think and could not. There seemed to be more customers than usual this afternoon. It maddened him to have to bounce out of his chair every time he had sat down and deal with some fresh influx of fools demanding crime stories and sex stories and romances. Suddenly, about six o'clock, he turned out the lights, locked up the library and went out. He had got to be alone. The library was not due to shut for two hours yet. God knew what Mr. Cheeseman would say when he found out. He might even give Gordon the sack. Gordon did not care.

He turned westward, up Lambeth Cut. It was a dull sort of evening, not cold. There was muck underfoot, white lights, and hawkers screaming. He had got to think this thing out, and he could think better walking. But it was so hard, so hard! Back to the New Albion, or leave Rosemary in the lurch; there was no other alternative. It was no use thinking, for instance, that he might find some "good" job which would offend his sense of decency a bit less. There aren't so many "good" jobs waiting for moth-eaten people of thirty. The New Albion was the only chance he had or ever would have.

At the corner, on the Westminister Bridge Road, he paused a moment. There were some posters opposite, livid in the lamplight. A monstrous one, ten feet high at least, advertised Bovex.

...He crossed the road and walked on, southward. A curious thought had struck him. He did not any longer want that war to happen. It was the first time in months - years, perhaps - that he had thought of it and not wanted it.

If he went back to the New Albion, in a month's time he might be writing Bovex Ballads himself. To go back to that! Any "good" job was bad enough; but to be mixed up in that! Christ! Of course he oughtn't to go back. It was just a question of having the guts to stand firm. But what about Rosemary? He thought of the kind of life she would live at home, in her parents' house, with a baby and no money; and of the news running through that monstrous family that Rosemary had married some awful rotter who couldn't even keep her. She would have the whole lot of them nagging at her together. Besides, there was the baby to think about. The money-god is so cunning. If he only baited his traps with yachts and race-horses, tarts and champagne, how easy it would be to dodge him. It is when he gets at you through your sense of decency that he finds you helpless.

...He looked up and saw that he was passing a public library. A thought struck him. That baby. What did it mean, anyway, having a baby? What was it that was actually happening to Rosemary at this moment? He had only vague and general ideas of what pregnancy meant. No doubt they would have books in there that would tell him about it. He went in. The lending library was on the left. It was there that you had to ask for works of reference.

... He opened one of the books and searched inexpertly through it. There were acres of close-printed text full of Latin words. That was no use. He wanted something simple - pictures, for choice. How long had this thing been going on? Six weeks - nine weeks, perhaps. Ah! This must be it.

Facts Unborn Facts Unborn

He came on a print of a nine weeks' fetus. It gave him a shock to see it, for he had not expected it to look in the least like that. It was a deformed, gnomelike thing, a sort of clumsy caricature of a human being, with a huge domed head as big as the rest of its body. In the middle of the great blank expanse of head there was a tiny button of an ear. The thing was in profile; its boneless arm was bent, and one hand, crude as a seal's flipper, covered its face - fortunately, perhaps. Below were little skinny legs, twisted like a monkey's, with the toes turned in. It was a monstrous thing, and yet strangely human. It surprised him that they should begin looking human so soon. He had pictured someting much more rudimentary; a mere blob with a nucleus, like a bubble of frog-spawn. But it must be very tiny, of course. He looked at the dimensions marked below. Length 30 millimeters. About the size of a large gooseberry.

But perhaps it had not been going on quite so long as that. He turned back a page or two and found a print of a six weeks' fetus. A really dreadful thing this time - a thing he could hardly even bear to look at. Strange that our beginnings and endings are so ugly - the unborn as ugly as the dead. This thing looked as if it were dead already. Its huge head, as though too heavy to hold upright, was bent over at right angles at the place where its neck ought to have been. There was nothing you could call a face, only a wrinkle representing the eye - or was it the mouth? It had no human semblance this time; it was more like a dead puppy dog. Its short thick arms were very doglike, the hands being mere stumpy paws. 15.5 millimeters long - no bigger than a hazelnut.

He pored for a long time over the two pictures. Their ugliness made them more credible and therefore more moving. His baby had seemed real to him from the moment when Rosemary spoke of abortion; but it had been a reality without visual shape - something that happened in the dark and was only important after it had happened. But here was the actual process taking place. Here was the poor ugly thing, no bigger than a gooseberry, that he had created by his heedless act. Its future, its continued existence perhaps, depended on him. Besides, it was a bit of himself - it was himself. Dare one dodge such a responsibility as that?

... Presently he went out. The dreadful thing was that he knew already what he was going to do. His mind was made up - had been made up for a long time past. When this problem appeared it had brought its solution with it; all his hesitation had been a kind of make-believe. He felt as though some force outside himself were pushing him. There was a telephone booth near by. Rosemary's hostel was on the phone - she ought to be at home by now. He went into the booth, feeling in his pocket. Yes, exactly two pennies. He dropped them into the slot, swung the dial.

... He came out of the booth. ...He seemed to be walking faster than usual. There was a peculiar sensation, an actual physical sensation, in his heart, in his limbs, all over him. What was it? Shame, misery, despair? Rage at being back in the clutch of money? Boredom when he thought of the deadly future? He dragged the sensation forth, faced it, examined it. It was relief.

Yes, that was the truth of it. Now that the thing was done he felt nothing but relief; relief that now at last he had finished with dirt, cold, hunger, and loneliness and could get back to decent, fully human life. His resolutions, now that he had broken them, seemed nothing but a frightful weight that he had cast off. Moreover, he was aware that he was only fulfilling his destiny. In some corner of his mind he had always known that this would happen. He thought of the day when he had given them notice at the New Albion; and Mr. Erskine's kind, red, beefish face, gently counseling him not to chuck up a "good" job for nothing. How bitterly he had sworn, then, that he was done with "good" jobs forever! Yet it was foredoomed that he should come back and he had known it even then. And it was not merely because of Rosemary and the baby that he had done it. That was the obvious cause, the precipitating cause, but even without it the end would have been the same; if there had been no baby to think about, something else would have forced his hand. For it was what, in his secret heart, he had desired.

After all he did not lack vitality, and that moneyless existence to which he had condemned himself had thrust him ruthlessly out of the stream of life.

... He slowed his pace a little, He was thirty and there was gray in his hair, yet he had a queer feeling that he had just grown up. It occurred to him that he was merely repeating the destiny of every human being. Everyone rebels against the money-code, and everyone sooner or later surrenders.

...He was making roughly in the direction of home. He looked up at the houses he was passing ... "Apartments" cards in half the windows, aspidistras in nearly all. A typical lower-middle-class street. But not, on the whole, the kind of street that he wanted to see blown to hell by bombs.

He wondered about the people in houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop assistants, commercial travelers, insurance touts, tram-conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn't. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn't be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transumted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and their scraps of furniture and their aspidistras - they lived by the money code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honor. They "kept themselves respectable" - kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in the bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and soul-savers never by any chance do.

The aspidistra is the tree of life, he thought suddenly...

9. BOOKLOVER'S CORNER (where Orwell wrote Keep the Aspidistra Flying)


Cake111 GOPuppetPage ORWELL BIRTHDAY TYPING ASPIDISTRA (Happy 111th Birthday Orwell), June 25, 1903-2014

Obama's comments supporting partial-birth abortion (Obama against Supreme Court decision to make partial-birth, late-term abortions illegal). NBC, You Tube

AbortAmericaCvr AbortAmericaCvr2 ABORTING AMERICA

Obama lifts funding ban on abortions abroad. Daily Mirror, Jan 24, 2009
The US president says the restrictions reduced basic healthcare for some of the world's poorest women. This led to back-alley abortions with countries including Ethiopia no longer able to offer comprehensive care for patients. Obama's action reverses the policy of predecessor George Bush - who said American taxpayers should not have to bankroll the abortion industry. The United States spends more than EURO$400-million on overseas family planning assistance each year...

Shhh. Obama Repeals the Abortion Gag Rule, Very Quietly, Time, Jan 23, 2009
On the day after the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, President Barack Obama repealed a Reagan-era policy that prohibited foreign nongovernmental family-planning groups from receiving U.S. funds if they provided abortions or even lobbied for abortion rights in their country. It is an action his abortion-rights supporters have waited eight years for and one they had encouraged him to waste no time taking.

Obama's Abortion Bombshell
Unrestricted abortion over wishes of individual states a priority for Presidency
by Peter Smith, Hawaii Reporter, Jan 24, 2009
Barack Obamaa has plans to reward the allies that helped him topple Hillary Clinton from her throne by making total unrestricted abortion in the United States his number one priority as president. Focus on the Family's CitizenLink has decided to remind its supporters that more than one year has passed since Obama made his vows to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that abortion would be the first priority of his administration. "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," Obama said in his July speech to abortion advocates worried about the increase of pro-life legislation at the state level. The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is legislation Obama has co-sponsored along with 18 other senators that would annihilate every single state law limiting or regulating abortion, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion. The 2007 version of FOCA proposed: "It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman." Obama made his remarks in a question-and-answer session after delivering a speech crystallizing for abortion advocates his deep-seated abortion philosophy and his belief that federal legislation will break pro-life resistance and end the national debate on abortion. "I am absolutely convinced that culture wars are so nineties; their days are growing dark, it is time to turn the page," Obama said in July. "We want a new day here in America. We're tired about arguing about the same ole' stuff. And I am convinced we can win that argument." Besides making abortion on demand a "fundamental right" throughout the United States, FOCA would effectively nullify informed consent laws, waiting periods, health safety regulations for abortion clinics, etc. Furthermore, medical professionals and institutions that refused abortions also would lose legal protections. FOCA would expose individuals, organizations, and governments - including federal, state, and local government agencies - to costly civil actions for purported violations of the act.

"Thirty-five years after Roe, abortion supporters, like Senator Obama, are dismayed that abortion remains a divisive issue and that their radical agenda has not been submissively accepted by the American public," states Denise M. Burke, vice president of Americans United for Life. "Rather than confronting legitimate issues concerning the availability and safety of abortion, they choose to blatantly ignore the concerns and interests of everyday Americans, as well as the growing evidence that abortion hurts women." Obama has won the crucial endorsement of abortion activist Frances Kissling, who broke from the ranks of other radical feminist leaders earlier this year to endorse Obama, saying Obama, not Clinton, would better use the bully pulpit of the presidency to accomplish their aims and end the culture wars over abortion.

Parental consent for abortion on Alaska Legislative docket. Channel 2, Jan 10, 2009
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Among the variety of early bills soon to be up for discussion when the state Legislature convenes is one on parental consent for abortions. Rep. John Coghill and Sens. Fred Dyson and Gene Therriault have all sponsored proposed legislation that would require parents to give permission before a teenage girl could legally receive an abortion. Looking ahead to the upcoming legislative session, Gov. Sarah Palin says it's something she, too, thinks is a good idea. "Certainly, if we are a society that mandates parental consent before our daughters get their ears pierced, or even take a Tylenol tablet at school, I would think that there would be support both for parents to have to give consent and be informed anyway before such an invasive procedure of an abortion would be performed on our underage daughters also," she said. The Legislative session begins in Jan. 20.

Sarah Palin: 10 things we've learnt (reform-minded, hockey-mommin', basketball-shooting, moose-hunting, salmon-fishing, pistol-packing, mother-of-five for Vice-President) & Palin fusing politics & motherhood in new way (a guardian of nation's disabled children) & The Evolution of Sarah Palin ("has ability to accomplish great things") & An ordinary, extraordinary woman ("America loves people like her". "I confess, I love Ms. Palin, too") & Leftist feminist sisterhood snarl at Sarah (they hate 'the pitbull with lipstick'). BBC/IHT/Fox/Globe/AmerThink, Sep 7-10, 2008. Go to 26.Julia & Rebellion & 30.Love Instinct & Family & UNBORN FACTS OF LIFE & OWED TO THE UNBORN & SARAH SHAKING THINGS UP

Unborn Womb BABY IN THE WOMB

ORWELL THE FAMILY MAN

Brochure Hands FACTS OF UNBORN LIFE (for students of all ages). Sep 10, 2007

BIGGEST ASPIDISTRA IN THE WORLD (inspirational song by Gracie Fields & also name of WWII radio transmitter). Go to 16.Ministry of Truth & Senate House

ORWELL & TRESSELL ASPIDISTRAS (the socialist writers had similarities)

Unborn Thumb Unborn Facts UNBORN FACTS OF LIFE

Abortion clinics cut to 20-week limit (but make it easier before 12-weeks). Sunday Times, Apr 3, 2005 & Honourary degree for Canada's abortionist (Morgentaler a Holocaust survivor who devoted his life to abortion). Montreal Gazette, Apr 3, 2005

Movie on Canada's Jewish abortionist (became wealthy in adopted homeland killing millions of unborn people). CTV, Jan 5, 2005

China's population reaches 1.3-billion (forced abortion for 1-child policy means 40-million extra men with no wives by 2020). CTV News, Jan 11, 2004. Go to CHINESE TAKE-OVER

Abortion pill causes another death (676 adverse events with hospitalization but gov't says RU-486 is safe with a black-label on the box). Boston Globe, Nov 17, 2004

Anti-abortion med student failed (for not providing abortion option). LifeSite, Mar 19, 2004. Go to 22.Doublethink & 27.Goodthink and MY ORWELL CONVERSION

Abortions & profits up at Planned Parenthood (made $36.6 million on 227,385 abortions & received $254.4 million from taxpayers & $228.1 million from donations). Cybercast News, Dec 12, 2003. Go to 14.Experimentation & 30.Love Instinct & WHERE HAVE ALL BABIES GONE?

Abortion ship denied entry to Poland (whereas in Ireland the police & port officials cleared way). Reuters, Jun 21, 2003. Go to KILLING PRODUCTS OF CONCEPTION

Woman's Right-to-Know Act (abortion leads to breast cancer). Guardian, May 22, 2003. Go to BREAST CANCER PREVENTION INST

1.31-million US abortions/year (inside & part-outside womb). NYork Times, Apr 22, 2003

Abortion clinic can stay open (300 unlicensed killings a month). Tennessean, Dec 21, 2002

Holocaust in our high schools (safe-sex and pro-abortion teachings caused epidemic of disease and death). National Post, Nov 23, 2002

ABORTION POPULATION CONTROL

25.Prolefeed and 30.Love Instinct & Family

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
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