To what extent is Gordon Comstock of Keep the Aspidistra Flying an exemplary ‘ordinary man’? Set in 1930’s London, Keep the Aspidistra Flying captures the essence of a nation in recovery after the colossal of the Wall Street crash and other significant events that led to widespread unemployment and poverty. Orwell himself went to Spain during the Spanish civil war, whilst there he united with the militia unit of Marxist workers party. “Orwell relies on central characters as his intermediaries, imaginary representatives of the author, who capture only a part of his experience.” (Levenson) this is true of the Protagonist created by Orwell in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. One of the main questions posed is how does a socialist exist within a capitalist society? Although the protagonist of the novel is not a socialist, Orwell uses his character to suggest his message to socialists. Gordon’s sexual desires are a reflection of his inherent ordinariness although not married he continually tries to coerce Rosemary into sleeping with him. The ways in which Gordon also speaks about women are reflections of the time and his ordinary man status, he explains to Rosemary “chuck away your decency, and make more money that’s what women say” (Orwell, 126) making a sweeping generalisation showing that he see’s them as subordinate, which was a popular attitude at the time in which the book was written. It seems as though Orwell’s argument is that one cannot escape the powerful ‘money God’ as Gordon becomes obsessed with money arguably more so than those in the work force. Gordon manages to get rosemary pregnant the first time he sleeps with her, he is then placed in a dilemma, go back to a respectable good job or leave Rosemary to a life of shame. Gordon chooses to go back to the New Albion the advertising company which he vowed to never return to. To conclude the fact that Gordon chooses respectability demonstrates that deep down he is an ordinary man in the sense that he feels...
Bibliography: Inside the whale extract taken from lecture notes. Orwell, G,_ Keep the aspidistra flying_, 3rd edition, Penguin group, London, 1962.
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