Monday, May 17, 2010

The Road to Wigan Pier

The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Harcourt Books, 1958
Originally published 1937
232 pages

Did you know George Orwell was a pen name? I didn't until I looked up his wikipedia page prior to my class discussing this book.

Summary: Orwell investigated conditions for the working class and it turned into a discussion about socialism.

Thoughts: There are some very vivid examples in this book such as the coal miner whose black thumb print covers the bread and the statement that middle class children are told that the working classes smell, basically from birth. This creates conditions where those who might be sympathetic to socialism and would benefit more from it than from capitalism look down on the socialists. The language used also pushes people away. It's especially remarkable because the book opens with a letter from the people distributing the book, disclaiming some of the attitudes expressed. It definitely encourages me to get started on reading "1984."

Overall: 4/5. I prefer his fiction but this is very readable and raises some interesting issues.


  1. I read Road to Wigan Pier a number of years ago-I still recall I was deeply impressed by how strongly felt the book was-I think Orwell strives to tell the truth in his work and he does not care who he offends in doing this-I enjoyed your very perceptive review-You might like his Down and Out in Paris and London if you have not yet read it

  2. Thanks for the recommendation-I definitely want to read more Orwell!


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