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Discuss the presentation of poverty and deprivation in 'down and Out in Paris and London' and the plays 'Strife' and 'The Silver Box'.

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Discuss the presentation of poverty and deprivation in 'down and Out in Paris and London' and the plays 'Strife' and 'The Silver Box'. In 'Down and Out in Paris and London' Orwell describes and discusses poverty as he saw and experienced it. Orwell describes that poverty is not the way people expect it to be. People, who have never personally experienced poverty, believe that it must be terrible, Orwell tells us that it is not, he says that it is 'squalid' and 'boring'. He also says that poverty and therefore, hunger degrade a man to "a belly with some additional organs". Orwell has written 'Down and Out in Paris and London' so that it can be read and understood by all societies. This book gives the reader a new insight into the lives of the deprived and poverty stricken. This novel provides insight, intelligence and enlightenment to the society in which we live. Orwell begins in Paris at the start of the novel; while Orwell is in Paris he both sees and lives in a terrible poverty. He has no money; this is not because he is lazy and does not work or because he is ill and unable to work, the fact of the matter is that the jobs simply do not pay enough money for people to live a good standard of life. The work available is hard, gruelling work and the hours last between fourteen to sixteen hours a day even with these long hard working conditions the money is so little that even working these atrocious hours life is still a struggle for the people in Paris at this time. ...read more.


And working in the sewers is unpleasant, but someone has to keep the sewers in order. Orwell thinks the same as the job of a 'plongeur'. People eat in restaurants, therefore someone else has to wash dishes 80 hours a week. This is society and there is nothing more to it. The question tha Storgaard then goes on to ask is 'Is the work of a 'plongeur' necessary for civilisation? Storgaard thinks that these were the questions that Orwell was trying to address in his time as a plongeur. There may be a need for hotels, but is it necessary that they have hundreds of people toiling for them? Orwell tries to go beyond the immediate economic causes (which he does go deeper into) and he concludes that "this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob. The mob (the thought runs) are such low animals that they would be dangerous if they had leisure; it is safer to keep them too busy to think." Storgaard goes on to say that in his book Orwell examines a lot of things, for example 'the class system and social economy; subjects that with a bit of thinking could show the connection between the social structure and the misery.' In that light it is rather strange that Orwell does not think he has learnt more. All Orwell claims to have learnt is; "Still I can point to one or two things I have definitely learned by being hard up. I shall never again think that all tramps are drunken scoundrels, not expect a beggar to be grateful when I give him a penny, nor be surprised if men out of work lack energy, nor subscribe to the Salvation Army, nor pawn my clothes, nor refuse a handbill, not enjoy a meal at a smart restaurant. ...read more.


It is more than an indictment--a complete trial, in which, according to Dukes, Mr. Galsworthy appears both for the prosecution and the defense. Galworthy's aim was to 'create such an illusion of actual life passing on the stage as to compel the spectator to pass through an experience of his own, to think and talk and move with the people he sees thinking and talking and moving in front of him'. Just as important as the enjoyment of the play for Galsworthy was to give the audience something to think and talk about, a social problem or a question of conscience. When Galsworthy wrote 'The Silver Box' he was thinking of life, not the theatre. He never allowed himself to sacrifice the truth for mere stage effect. Galsworthy was always more artist than reformer, however, and was rather aggrieved if his plays were valued more highly as propaganda than drama. Galsworthy is not a propagandist or a moralist. His source if life, "that palpitating life," which is the root of all sorrow and joy. 'The Silver Box' was a 'play of ideas'. Galsworthy said that he will not 'write plays detached from the movements and problems of his times'. Galsworthy's only ambition was to present the truth as he sees it. The Daily Graphic complained that 'Strife' was "an argument rather than entertainment". Galsworthy said that he simply used the strike in 'Strife' to provide material for his theme: 'the waste and tragedy which comes when fanatics clash'. Some people found 'Strife' prejudiced, others found it cold bloodedly detached. Galsworthy stressed that when people watch 'Strife' they should not expect to see a 'photographic reproduction of an industrial struggle....They should go to 'Strife' to see human nature in the thick of a fight'. ...read more.

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