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Analysis of Orwell's "the Spike" and "how the Poor Die"

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Paige Clemenza

Rhetoric 101

Professor Stewart

11.6.09

Analysis of Orwell's "The Spike" and "How the Poor Die"

Upon reading the works of George Orwell, a theme of authority overpowering its individuals and its lack of care for them is ever present throughout. Much like in his books, Animal Farm and 1984, Orwell shows while individuals wish to seek assistance from those who watch over them, authority continues to abuse its privilege as a "caretaker". In "The Spike", Orwell describes authority as, "a devil, everyone agreed, a tartar, a tyrant, a bawling, blasphemous, uncharitable dog." (Orwell) By doing so, it is implied that authority is inherently evil, therefore, the individuals who it is supposed to control can not rebel against it. Orwell's experience in prison as well shows that some prisoners do not find themselves equal to others. Orwell states, "It was interesting to see how subtly he disassociated himself from his fellow tramps. He has been on the road six months but in the sight of God, he seemed to imply, he was not a tramp."(Orwell) While this individual feels that he is better than the others, under the eyes of "The Tramp Major"; he was seen just as the others, inferior.

Similarly to "The Spike", Orwell's description of hospital life shows authority's control over its individuals. The difference however lies in that in the hospital, individuals were far more scared of authority than that of the prisoners due to the fact they are not even acknowledged as people. Because of this, the reader is given a sense of a blase attitude towards those not in authority. Orwell reflects, "I was very much impressed by the impersonal way in which the two men started on me"(Orwell) Through this, one can see that though individuals may claim that authority is a bad thing, they secretly wish to be the ones in charge.

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