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Analysis of chapter 26 in George Orwell's 'Down and out in Paris and London'

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Close reading Chapter 26 In chapter 26 of Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London', Orwell describes his morning a short time after his return to England. A recurring theme up to this chapter is one of his personal disconnection with the English 'tramps', while in Paris he sought to exemplify and explain himself to be one of the 'down and out' people, throughout his time in England, he constantly seeks to separate himself from the dregs of society. He explains that he 'did not care to ask B', the manner in which he says this implies a haute, and posh undertone, and through this casual remark, skilfully admits to his current financial situation, while still managing to remain a form of control over the situation, implying that it was a choice rather than a necessity. While referring to himself in a manor that distinguishes himself from the lowest class of England, Orwell appears to refer to other tramps in an innocently derogative manor, as he refers to ...read more.


This acknowledgement of his naivety in the world of poverty in Britain seems, at this point to not raise him above the 'subhuman' level of the tramps, but his apparent helplessness without the tramps knowledge renders him at the same time below even the tramp. The amusing derogatory phrases continue when Orwell says 'The Irishman was a friendly old man, but he smelt very unpleasant'. 'Down in out in London and Paris' can be seen as a plethora of various types of books, and can in some aspects be seen as a journal. Orwell writes as if acknowledging the characters inability to know what he writes, and so while in reality he is charming and polite, divulges his true opinion to the reader throughout, both engaging the reader, yet somehow repulsing him as well, due to the devious nature of the 'confessions'. The tramp himself continues his theme of passive dominance as he tells Orwell 'You come wid me.', this not only reinforces Orwell's unfortunate predicament in defining himself as below subhuman, but also implies that the tramp himself views him as an equal. ...read more.


The tramp he meets is simply referred to as 'The Irishman', the woman serving them tea as 'The Lady', and the only other character to be mentioned is the 'Red nosed man'. The absence of names not only greatly generalises and downplays the role of other characters. It accentuates the role that Orwell plays in the book, defining it as a type of autobiography, and forcing the reader to focus on Orwell's actions rather than allowing their judgement to be affected by his surroundings. Similar to Brecht's concept of epic theatre, the absence of names, and the generalization of the scenes, given little more information than 'a small tin-roofed shed in a side-street' and instead forced to view the events from a detached point of view, unfettered by external stimuli. This presentation of the scene allows us the view the situation with greater clarity, and allows us to achieve what Orwell himself hoped to achieve in its writing, and view those who are truly down and out from an unbiased perspective, and allow our interpretations to be based on their actions, and not simply their situation and class. ...read more.

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