There’s No Place Like Home: Orwell and a Return to the Domestic Sphere

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Melissa Flisk


In his novels Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936) and Coming Up for Air (1939), George Orwell
depicts the world of the lower-middle class in the English suburbs during the Interwar period in
the 1930s. Through the eyes of his two male protagonists Gordon Comstock of Keep the
Aspidistra Flying and George Bowling of Coming Up for Air, Orwell shows the struggles of the
middle class Englishman as he attempts to break from the imperfect society in which he lives.
However, these novels, written rather early in Orwell’s career, are understudied and
overshadowed by his later works; in my paper I reopen a discussion of Orwell’s earlier works,
which are rich in complexity and dialectical in nature. In this paper I will argue that the novels
do not end in a retreat to the domestic sphere, but may in fact support the average, middle-class
Englishman’s attempt to live decently and raise a family.

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