To Orwell Today,
re: previous discussion

Dear Jackie,

A defensive reply. I am not mistaking God for religion, though. I am simply suggesting that your constant references to God in the article I mentioned are an intrusion which may owe more to your allegiances than to anything which can be supported in Orwell's writings.

On the question of Orwell and Connolly, there are many similarities of class and upbringing, which matter a great deal. I simply point out that people of that class at that era were largely the forerunners of our own national secularism, the middle wave of that sea of religious decline which has increasingly lapped at England since the Enlightenment.

Finally, you should not patronise your readers. I was born less than two miles from Eton. I have friends who went there. I went to college in Windsor (requiring me to walk through Eton every day). I am very familiar with Eton as a place and a cultural institution. Of course I know that Eton is not an "atheistic institution" (wouldn't it be odd if it were?), but I also know that it does not pretend to be an actively religious one, either. I also know that it was (and is) a central part of the Establishment, as is the C. of E.

The tone of your articles and your reply to me indicate both that you believe that you have special insight into Orwell, and that in fact you don't.

- Huw

Greetings Huw,

In all the articles I write on the subject of Orwell I provide quotes from his writings to justify my interpretation of his meaning. That is what the study of literature is all about, an interpretation of meaning.

For example (at risk of seeming patronizing), "1984", at its core, is a story of good versus evil, ie Winston, "the guardian of the human spirit" versus Big Brother, "a dedicated sect doing evil". Go to 2.Big Brother and 42.The Party Tells 'Why' to see the quotes in their context.

You say I make "constant references to God" in the WINSTON DIES INSIDE article but that is because "God" is the topic being discussed in that article. Duh.

You say discussing "God" in relation to Orwell is "an intrusion". Does that mean I've committed "thoughtcrime" and should be thrown into the cellars of the "Ministry of Love" like Ampleforth was for allowing the word "God" to remain at the end of a line?:

...The poet Ampleforth shambled into the cell. The door clanged shut again....

Winston roused himself a little from his lethargy. He must speak to Ampleforth, and risk the yell from the telescreen. It was even conceivable that Ampleforth was the bearer of the razor blade.

"Ampleforth," he said. There was no yell from the telescreen. Ampleforth paused, mildly startled. His eyes focused themselves slowly on Winston.

"Ah, Smith!" he said. "You too!"

"What are you in for?"

"To tell you the truth--" He sat down awkwardly on the bench opposite Winston. "There is only one offence, is there not?" he said.

"And you have committed it?"

"Apparently I have." He put a hand to his forehead and pressed his temples for a moment, as though trying to remember something. "These things happen," he began vaguely. "I have been able to recall one instance - a possible instance. It was an indiscretion, undoubtedly. We were producing a definite edition of the poems of Kipling. I allowed the word "God" to remain at the end of a line. I could not help it!" he added almost indignantly, raising his face to look at Winston. "It was impossible to change the line. The rhyme was "rod". So you realize that there are only twelve rhymes to "rod" in the entire language? For days I had racked my brains. There was no other rhyme."

My "insights into Orwell" which you accuse me of NOT possessing were actually acquired from having read everything he's written and close to everything that has been written about him, including dozens of biographies and hundreds of essays and articles.

If you disagree with me on Orwell's thoughts on Connolly, Eton, religion or God then you should quote chapter and verse from his writings, instead of just saying I'm wrong.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

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