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This excerpt of Marrakech by George Orwell outlines what times were like in the early half of the 1900's. Funerals at the time were unimportant events that were not worth remembering

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Introduction

Samantha Mak Commentary - Marrakech "When you see how people live and still more how easily they die, it is always difficult to believe that you are walking among human beings." George Orwell is an author that was alive in the early 1900's, during a time when life for some people can be quite dark and bleak. This excerpt from Marrakech portrays this very well. This excerpt tells of a funeral that, due to the poverty of the people, is simple and almost, in a way, careless. Once a person has died, they are quickly forgotten, giving the effect that a death is an event that happens often, people made numb to any emotion that would normally be attached to it. Sickness and disease is so common that people take on a non-human characteristic, making it "difficult to believe that you are walking among human beings". Orwell uses various literary devices to create a dark and mellow atmosphere, as well as using such an event to emphasise the tone. ...read more.

Middle

People "rise out of the earth, they sweat and starve for a few years", living what seems a very pointless life. People have become immune to emotions felt when a friend dies, nobody "[noticing] that they are gone". From the beginning of the text, we are introduced to corpses, flies and mourners mentioned in very unsubtle ways. Immediately, we get a strong sense of negativity and sadness amongst the people. The sentences are long and droning, emphasizing the sorrow and misery. The constant reference to the earth and soil implies an unattractive dirtiness about the people, that they are relatively uncivilized. Similarly, the presence of flies evokes a dirty feel; that cleanliness is poor and people do not practice good hygiene. We get the same idea when Orwell mentions "flies [leaving] the restaurant table in a cloud and rushed after" a corpse which had passed. The funeral procession being in such close proximity to a restaurant effectively creates a negative attitude towards the way which these people live. ...read more.

Conclusion

Orwell also questions if the people in the story are indeed human beings, implying a somewhat monstrous characteristic. They are so poor as to "own literally nothing except the rags they stand up in". This adds to the monstrous effect, portraying them as some sort of animal. This excerpt of Marrakech by George Orwell outlines what times were like in the early half of the 1900's. Funerals at the time were unimportant events that were not worth remembering. Relatives and friends were lost but they were soon forgotten, giving an idea that it happened so often that people have become unaware of feelings associated with it. Comparing current times to that which Orwell describes, the difference is vast. Funerals are ceremonies now, events which everyone participates in, pledging to remember memories of the deceased. With society improving in all aspects, we do not expect to be as common as back then, thus making each death a tragic experience. Orwell's piece has allowed people to take an insight into life less than a hundred years ago, a time period that is still recent. ...read more.

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