English novelist George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair on June 25, 1903. After his education at Eton College in England, he joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma in 1922. He resigned from his post five years later to become a writer.
He relocated to Paris but his initial writing years proved to be unsuccessful, leading him to take on menial jobs. These experiences were depicted in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, published in 1933. His first novel, Burmese Days, was published the following year and was inspired by his time working in the Burma police.
He then fought in the Spanish Civil War in 1937. He recounted his experiences and observations in the book, Homage to Catalonia. The war significantly changed his political outlook, which influenced his subsequent works in the 1940s.
In 1945, Orwell’s Animal Farm was published. It grew popular and cemented his name as a prominent author. His dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, came out four years later. He also wrote essays on politics, literature language, and culture.
Orwell’s work is considered noteworthy and influential in both popular and political culture. Phrases and terms such as “Big Brother”, “Thought Police”, and “doublethink” have been adapted for common use. Here are 30 George Orwell quotes to satisfy your need for thought-provoking ideas.
We are living in a world in which nobody is free, in which hardly anybody is secure, in which it is almost impossible to be honest and to remain alive. – George Orwell, “The Road to Wigan Pier”
All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting. – George Orwell, “Homage to Catalonia”
The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection. – George Orwell, “Reflections on Gandhi”
There are occasions when it pays better to fight and be beaten than not to fight at all. – George Orwell, “Homage to Catalonia”
If you set yourself to it, you can live the same life, rich or poor. You can keep on with your books and your ideas. – George Orwell, “Down And Out In Paris And London”
This is the inevitable fate of the sentimentalist. All his opinions change into their opposites at the first brush of reality. – George Orwell, “The Road to Wigan Pier”
The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better. – George Orwell, “1984”
Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness. – George Orwell, “The Ethics of the Detective Story from Raffles to Miss Blandish”
On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time. – George Orwell, “The Art of Donald McGill”
We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. – George Orwell, “1984”
If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them. – George Orwell, “1984”, Winston to Julia on keeping his resolve despite the Party’s influence and power.
To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle. – George Orwell, “In Front of Your Nose”
Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. – George Orwell, “Animal Farm”
There is nothing more dreadful in the world than to live in somebody else’s house, eating his bread and doing nothing in return for it. – George Orwell, “Keep the Aspidistra Flying”
A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices. – George Orwell, “The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell: As I please”
The distinguishing mark of man is the hand, the instrument with which he does all his mischief. – George Orwell, “Animal Farm”
Beauty is meaningless until it is shared. – George Orwell, “Burmese Days”
It is a corrupting thing to live one’s real life in secret. One should live with the stream of life, not against it. – George Orwell, “Burmese Days”
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. – George Orwell, “Animal Farm”
The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. – George Orwell, “Animal Farm”, The last sentece in the novel depicting how the pigs have become oppressive rulers just like their previous human owner.
Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. – George Orwell, In his review of “A Coat of Many Colours: Occasional Essays by Herbert Read, Poetry Quarterly”
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever. – George Orwell, “1984”
To survive you often have to fight, and to fight you have to dirty yourself. – George Orwell, “Looking Back on the Spanish War”
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. – George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”
Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”
There’s time for everything except the things worth doing. – George Orwell, “Coming Up for Air”
Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea. – George Orwell, “Coming Up for Air”
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows. – George Orwell, “1984”, Winston on telling the truth without fear of retaliation.
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. – George Orwell, “Why I Write”
Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull. – George Orwell, “1984”
These 30 profound George Orwell quotes are worth sharing.