George Orwell

George Orwell

Reading Comprehension for June 25

Have you ever heard the phrase "Big brother is watching you"? The expression is meant to describe a society where every single move is closely monitored by the government. Living in a place like that is a horrifying thing. For one, there is no freedom of any kind because the government wants to know how you spend every second of your day. It wants to know what you are thinking. It wants to control what you are reading. It even wants to know what dreams you have when you go to sleep. Crazy as this entire notion may be, it is actually not very far-fetched from what goes on inside a country that is tightly controlled by communists, dictators, or military juntas. In a place like that, we need to be mindful of where we are, what we are doing, and who we are talking to. We can never be sure if somebody is watching us or listening to what we are saying. We can never be sure if our own friends and relatives are trustworthy enough to safeguard our discontent against the government. Any wrong move can lead us to imprisonment or even death.

The gloomy picture of being a part of that society is best captured by a widely popular book called Nineteen Eighty-Four. Surprisingly, its author, George Orwell, was never a resident of such a society. Yet, he was able to describe it as if he had experienced it first-hand.

George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair on June 25, 1903, in India. At the time, India was part of the British Empire, and Orwell's father was a civil servant there. When Orwell was about one year old, his mother took him and his elder sister back to their homeland. After finishing his studies at Eton in 1921, he decided to join the Indian Imperial Police Force. The following year, he was in Mandalay, Burma (now called Myanmar), ready to launch the next chapter of his life as a policeman.

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