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What Was the Impact of the Depression on Great Britain?

Essay by   •  February 27, 2013  •  Essay  •  498 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,494 Views

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What was the impact of the depression on Great Britain?

The extract from Orwell presents a rather grim and unattractive view of post-depression England, particularly focusing on the run-down more industrial areas of Britain. Orwell makes comments that the Great British endeavors of the past have all led to murky cities and a poor life. He spends a particular long amount of time describing his encounter with a young woman who was out working, he remarks that this is what industry has done to Britain. This then ties in with how the depression impacts on Britain, the economic slump highlighted the depravity and fragility of the British economy, bustling streets and town had been reduced to emptiness. Orwell goes on to compare the two kinds of emptiness, the first one undoubtedly caused by the depression. The other being the untouched countryside where industry was yet to expand, yet there was still the same lack of activity in the industrial towns. Priestley however offers a different perspective when observing the impact of the depression on Great Britain, he directly makes a link before and after but surprisingly highlights that Southampton is still very much a town that is making money. Whereas other towns that were usually booming with business found that shops were going out of business, and those open were lined with outdated stock. These different sources present two entirely different views of post-depression Britain, Orwell presents an image of extreme depravity, however the depression only highlights the flaws of Britain and the real negative effects are caused by industrialism, whereas Priestley's source shows us that Britain had been drastically changed by the depression, his account of the gentleman who ran a successful raincoat business in Newcastle when all of a sudden sales began to drop help show that the depression did the very same thing, it made people not want to spend their money as lavishly as before.

Orwell gives a very harsh image of the impact the depression had on Great Britain, take particular note of the references to industry, Orwell argues that industry is the primary cause for the now derelict areas, there is no direct reference to the depression in the early paragraphs, just a reference that due to industrialism it is common place to see derelict and near run down areas. The most important thing to be observed from Orwell's account is the shift to the snowy countryside, it is here we learn that it is spring time, and the whole environment has changed for Orwell, he now feels a sense of warmth that was absent while passing through the cities.

Priestley's makes a particularly interesting observation concerning Southampton, what he originally describes as 'Not a real town' (Priestley, 1934) is flourishing and making money, this completely contrasts with Orwell's observation of the impact of the depression, he leads

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