The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

The Road to Wigan Pier Orwell

Rating: 2 Stars ★★☆☆☆

The first sound in the mornings was the clumping of the mill-girls’ clogs down the cobbled street.


A searing account of George Orwell’s experiences of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, slum housing, mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity.


George Orwell’s descriptions of working-class life are vivid and truly interesting. He brings the people and the lives they lead to life.

It’s really harrowing to read about how people used to live and what conditions were like for people working in the mines.

It is impossible to watch the ‘fillers’ at work without feeling a pang of envy for their toughness. It is a dreadful job that they do, an almost superhuman job by the standard of an ordinary person. For they are not only shifting monstrous quantities of coal, they are also doing it in a position that doubles or trebles the work. They have got to remain kneeling all the while – they could hardly rise from their knees without hitting the ceiling – and you can easily see by trying it what a tremendous effort this means.

The second half of the book, however, is not very interesting. It’s basically an essay on socialism. In light of the times, his arguments for socialism, against fascism, takes on an entirely different importance but still… it just wasn’t very interesting to read about. He makes some good points, but overall, it’s very sermony in parts.

With loving though slightly patronizing smiles we set out to greet our proletarian brothers and behold! our proletarian brothers – in so far as we understand them – are not asking for our greetings, they are asking us to commit suicide. When the bourgeois sees it in that form he takes to flight and if his flight is rapid enough it may carry him to Fascism.


Interesting beginning, but got kind of boring after that.


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