Down and Out in Paris and London

Orwell, George

Publisher:  Penguin Books, United Kingdom
Year Published:  1969   First Published:  1933
Pages:  192pp  
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX7392

Life near the bottom in France and England in the early 1930s.

Abstract:  Down and Out in Paris and London is a story about poverty. Orwell explores the life of a tramp living on next to nothing. The story is based largely on his own experiences living in France and the people he met. A writer and English teacher gives up on his vocation to work 17 and a half hours per day as a waiter. Living in the slums, he hears the stories of others who are down on their luck. The daily struggles of the poor are recounted to demonstrate the difficulties of the times.

The book is written with an autobiographical feel and contains two parts, telling the stories of two capital cities. The first part is picaresque, and tells of Orwell's life in the Paris slums. In the second part, his experience on the road and in London show that there is not much difference between the poor in these two locations. Both groups live in unsanitary habitations and struggle to make their coin last to feed them from day to day. The poor around the world deal with horrible working conditions and long hours. Although taking place in the early twentieth century in two developed cities in Europe, the message is universal. The daily struggle for survival among the poverty stricken is taxing on the human spirit.

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

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