To Orwell Today,

Hi, Im an austrian student and i want to ask you if you are able to send me useful summaries from Homage to Catalonia and Burmese Days.

I searched very long in the internet but i was not able to find useful summaries. I hope you are nice and help a student from austria to pass his final exam. I need these things till wednesday. Please.

Thank you,
Flo

Greetings Flo,

Sorry, but I was away from my website last week and so your exam had come and gone by the time I got your email.

I'm sure you could have found a basic overall summary of each of the books just by going into a book store or library and reading the inside and back covers for a description of what they're about. In my section ORWELL'S OTHER BOOKS I give excerpts from each of them, although admittedly not summaries.

BURMESE DAYS and HOMAGE TO CATALONIA

I really liked reading Burmese Days because by that time I had read quite a few biographies about Orwell and so was therefore able to recognize that the main character in Burmese Days, Flory, was actually Orwell himself and most of the things that happen in the novel are composites of events and people in Orwell's life and family. Even the names are thinly disguised, for example Orwell's mother's maiden name was Limouzin and in the novel he uses Lackersteen. Orwell's mother was raised in Burma, and her mother (Orwell's grandmother) still lived there at the time Eric Blair was stationed there in the five years after graduation from Eton. Even a scenario of Orwell's mother marrying his father on the rebound is paralleled in the novel, and those are just a few of the many examples of its biographical nature.

On another level, aside from the fact that Burmese Days is all about Orwell himself and expresses his inner thoughts and insecurities, it is also one of the most picturesque novels I've ever read. I can visualize exactly the surroundings Orwell describes - and the people. And the way he describes the scenery is so exquisite that a person can almost smell the flowers, feel the mist of the waterfall, touch the bird and be part of the tiger hunt, to mention a few.

The end scene of Burmese Days was to me a real tear-jerker. I hadn't cried like that since reading "Old Yeller" which, you being Austrian might not know about, but it is THE classic animal story about a boy and his dog. It was made into a Walt Disney movie during the fifties and everyone watched it and everyone cried.

Homage to Catalonia is not at all like Burmese Days in that it is not a novel, but a reporting of the Spanish Civil War as Orwell experienced it. He wrote it in Wallington just after he got back from Spain where he'd been in the trenches in Catalonia and then in Barcelona when the revolutionaries fought their last stand and after which the communists joined with the fascists to both put the screws to the working people who had started the Civil War by rising up against the dichotomy between the rich and poor. For people who don't understand the politics of what was going on in the Spanish Civil War (and even Orwell didn't understand it when he went down there) Homage to Catalonia isn't that interesting to read. But if a person reads it with the frame of mind of observing the development of Orwell's anger against Imperialists, Capitalists, Fascists, Communists and any other "ist" that wasn't "Socialist" then it becomes a more interesting reading experience.

The above descriptions of Burmese Days and Homage to Catalonia probably aren't what you would qualify as "useful summaries" but they are my personal opinions on the books.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

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

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
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