Orwell's anti-communist work strangely similar to earlier female author's ideas for anti-Fascist parable
The 1941 drawings by Gertrude Elias from her story board for a cartoon film mooted to the Ministry of Information. Orwell briefly worked there and they knew each other. Bottom left, the 1952 version of Orwell's Animal Farm, the idea for which Elias accuses him of plagiarising from her but inverting Nazi pigs into Soviet ones.
Orwell’s intellectual life as a socialist seemingly began with a special interest in theories on language and class and this seems to be rather significant. For there is more than a hint of middle-class guilt in Orwell; note, for example, his observation that working people “sweat their guts out [so] that superior persons can remain superior”.
Perhaps it is relevant that he conflated his own `anti-scientific-ism’ with the famous English (maybe the `Celts’ are immune from this!?) disregard for theory and saw a tenuous link there with the masses.
Yet he also deprecated the anti-intellectualism of the working class, the “life of the sense and suspicious of all forms of abstraction”. Even so, his own thought processes about capitalism appeared to have been entirely arrived at through intuition, without recourse to intensive study of facts.
It is telling that Orwell began his acquaintance with the common man by reaching out for the `underclass’. Though some of his early work featured working people, there was little of substance on their lives. His sketches of the working class appear thin and insubstantial.
I’ve often thought that this particularly applies to his portrayal of women. Indeed, there is a case to answer that there is far too much misogyny, in tone at least, in Orwell’s creative writing, even if he publicly and often attacked those who do not support the emancipation of women. But then this is a man who, in private life, was intrigued by the paranormal but did not advertise the fact and few of his socialist admirers are aware of this.