Down and Out in Paris and London Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    How does Orwell present living in poverty?

    Orwell shows the brutalities of living in poverty, from struggling to buy food, to living in a bug-infested hotel. He shows how terrible it is to not know where your next meal is coming from. In doing so, he exposes the apparent glamour of big cities such as London and Paris, revealing corruption and extreme gaps in wealth. In this text he suggests that poverty is not caused by those who are living through it but are instead caused by deeper corruptions in society. There was a belief at this time that poor people decided their own fates, and that they were "lazy". However, Orwell debunks this idea, and shows that these issues are a result of oppression.

  2. 2

    How did Orwell's experiences change his own views?

    Orwell himself was from a wealthy background, and so he had never truly experienced poverty. This experience gave him the opportunity to see how poor people lived, and he came away from the experience with different views. He wrote: “I shall never again think that all tramps are drunken scoundrels, nor expect a beggar to be grateful when I give him a penny." Here we see that Orwell's experience has made him more sympathetic to the struggles those in poverty faced. In publishing this text, perhaps Orwell hoped that his readers would undergo a similar change of opinion.

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