❴PDF❵ ✅ Eric & Us Author Jacintha Buddicom – Motyourdrive.co.uk

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6 thoughts on “Eric & Us

  1. says:

    Finished Eric & Us: A Remembrance of George Orwell by Jacintha Buddicom (born 1901, died 1994). Jacintha, and her younger brother Prosper and little sister Guinevere, were friends during Eric Blair’s Shiplake days. It’s a memoir that shows that Orwell’s boyhood wasn’t as grim and unhappy as he let on, like in such essays as Such, Such Were the Joys and Why I Write. Orwell thought that if his more dramatic essays were essentially true then that was good enough.

    It’s a good book, I believe. But Jacintha, who apparently grew up to be a cat lady, tends to bog herself down by going into long paragraphs of how kids in her day were much more polite. For instance, a paragraph like this is not uncommon throughout the book and can be quite jarring:

    Poor, hopeful children that we were. I wonder what would have happened to our lives if we had been allowed to do what we quite reasonably wanted. In 1974, one does one’s own thing. University Grants are to be had for the asking, and can be used by a hardcore to stage strikes, protest marches, and sit-ins, support unmarried bliss ad lib and to secure freedom from any sort of work, not caring that by their presence they are keeping out others who might make better use of their opportunities. But fifty or sixty years ago one did as one’s parents ordained, and a University education had to be paid for. Even entering for a scholarship required parental consent: and if that consent were not forthcoming, there was no more to be said or done.

    Emphasis hers. Keep in mind, this was written in 1974 —- forty years ago. To be fair, had Orwell lived he would have probably felt the same way, as he had a romantic view of the past, was disturbed of the present and fearful of the future. But I have always felt that the whole “kids these days” cliche is such a cliche, that when I hear of it from others it makes me rather sad that they make so obvious an observation. After all, this argument has been going on since the days of Aristotle.

    Another part I have marked for reference is this bit, about Orwell’s decision to join the Republicans in the fight against Gen. Franco’s fascists during the Spanish Civil War:

    By Homage to Catalonia I was shocked. For a journalist to pay homage in a literary exposition is one thing, but to take arms in alien seas of trouble is another. It is impertinence for independent members of a different nationality to interfere with the internal affairs of a country not their own. How would we like it if a couple of chaps from the Kremlin came along and machine-gunned Mr Wilson? Or if a man from Marseilles popped over to take a pot-shot at Mr Heath —- bringing his wife with him to carry sandwiches in case he found the House involved in an all-night sitting?

    I understand her point, especially now in the wake of the Iraq/Afghanistan war. But sometimes we should help others simply because they are part of humanity. One thing to consider is that there is a fine line between “helping” and “policing”. Orwell understood this and it’s why he was rather disillusioned by the experience in Spain, and why it inspired him to write Homage to Catalonia, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, as well as numerous essays.

    Except for the sometimes out-of-context diatribes, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In biographies, the parts about the childhood of the subjects can be short and this book helped expand on Orwell’s turn-of-the-20th-century childhood.

    And it further cements my belief that Americans should name their houses.


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