Homage to Catalonia

by

George Orwell

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George Orwell Character Analysis

The narrator and protagonist of the story, Orwell is a well-educated, upper-middle class English citizen. Before he travels to Spain to volunteer with a leftist militia known as the POUM, his ideology is limited to a vague distaste for upper-class attitudes and habits. In the Spanish Civil War, he is introduced to concepts of social equality and working-class control, which revolutionize his thinking. While his attitude toward the revolution that he witnesses is initially naïve and characterized by idealistic notions of morality and freedom, over time he turns into an informed critic of Spanish politics. His time as a soldier in the POUM militia converts him to revolutionary socialism. At the same time, the Barcelona street fighting in May 1937, leaves him disillusioned with the Communist Party. After this, he becomes a vocal critic of Communist propaganda and of the press’s attitude toward the war in general. He is forced to flee the war with his wife when the Government begins to persecute members of the POUM. Upon his return to England, Orwell realizes that his experience in Spain has left a strong mark on his vision of politics and humanity. He is animated by a renewed trust in the values of democracy, social equality, and personal bravery.

George Orwell Quotes in Homage to Catalonia

The Homage to Catalonia quotes below are all either spoken by George Orwell or refer to George Orwell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Possibility of Revolution  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Homage to Catalonia published in 1938.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Above all, there was a belief in the revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of equality and freedom. Human beings were trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in the capitalist machine. In the barbers’ shop were Anarchist notices (the barbers were mostly Anarchists) solemnly explaining that barbers were no longer slaves. In the streets were coloured posters appealing to prostitutes to stop being prostitutes. To anyone from the hard-boiled, sneering civilization of the English-speaking races there was something rather pathetic in the literalness with which these idealistic Spaniards took the hackneyed phrases of revolution.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 4-5
Explanation and Analysis:

Every foreigner who served in the militia spent his first few weeks in learning to love the Spaniards and in being exasperated by certain of their characteristics. In the front line my own exasperation sometimes reached the pitch of fury. The Spaniards are good at many things, but not at making war.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Many of the troops opposite us on this part of the line were not Fascists at all, merely wretched conscripts who had been doing their military service at the time when war broke out and were only too anxious to escape. Occasionally small batches of them took the risk of slipping across to our lines. No doubt more would have done so if their relatives had not been in Fascist territory.

These deserters were the first ‘real’ Fascists I had ever seen. It struck me that they were indistinguishable from ourselves, except that they wore khaki overalls.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

It seemed dreadful that the defenders of the Republic should be this mob of ragged children carrying worn-out rifles which they did not know how to use. I remember wondering what would happen if a Fascist aeroplane passed our way—whether the airman would even bother to dive down and give us a burst from his machine-gun. Surely even from the air he could see that we were not real soldiers?

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Up here, in the hills round Saragossa, it was simply the mingled boredom and discomfort of stationary warfare. A life as uneventful as a city clerk's, and almost as regular. Sentry-go, patrols, digging; digging, patrols, sentry-go. On every hill-top, Fascist or Loyalist, a knot of ragged, dirty men shivering round their flag and trying to keep warm. And all day and night the meaningless bullets wandering across the empty valleys and only by some rare improbable chance getting home on a human body.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

In theory at any rate each militia was a democracy and not a hierarchy. It was understood that orders had to be obeyed, but it was also understood that when you gave an order you gave it as comrade to comrade and not as superior to inferior. There were officers and NCOs, but there was no military rank in the ordinary sense; no titles, no badges, no heel-clicking and saluting. They had attempted to produce within the militias a sort of temporary working model of the classless society. Of course there was not perfect equality, but there was a nearer approach to it than I had ever seen or than I would have thought conceivable in time of war.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

I think the pacifists might find it helpful to illustrate their pamphlets with enlarged photographs of lice. Glory of war, indeed! In war all soldiers are lousy, at least when it is warm enough. The men who fought at Verdun, at Waterloo, at Flodden, at Senlac, at Thermopylae – every one of them had lice crawling over his testicles.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

The workers’ militias, based on the trade unions and each composed of people of approximately the same political opinions, had the effect of canalizing into one place all the most revolutionary sentiment in the country. I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragón one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. […] Of course such a state of affairs could not last. It was simply a temporary and local phase in an enormous game that is being played over the whole surface of the earth. But it lasted long enough to have its effect upon anyone who experienced it.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

I am walking up and down the line of sentries, under the dark boughs of the poplars. In the flooded ditch outside the rats are paddling about, making as much noise as otters. As the yellow dawn comes up behind us, the Andalusian sentry, muffled in his cloak, begins singing. Across no-man’s-land, a hundred or two hundred yards away, you can hear the Fascist sentry also singing.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

A fat man eating quails while children are begging for bread is a disgusting sight, but you are less likely to see it when you are within sound of the guns. […] But God forbid that I should pretend to any personal superiority. After several months of discomfort I had a ravenous desire for decent food and wine, cocktails, American cigarettes, and so forth, and I admit to having wallowed in every luxury that I had money to buy.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

On one side the CNT, on the other side the police. I have no particular love for the idealized ‘worker’ as he appears in the bourgeois Communist’s mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

I was in no danger, I suffered from nothing worse than hunger and boredom, yet it was one of the most unbearable periods of my whole life. I think few experiences could be more sickening, more disillusioning or, finally, more nerye-racking than those evil days of street warfare.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

When you are taking part in events like these you are, I suppose, in a small way, making history, and you ought by rights to feel like an historical character. But you never do, because at such times the physical details always outweigh everything else. Throughout the fighting I never made the correct ‘analysis’ of the situation that was so glibly made by journalists hundreds of miles away.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

As for the newspaper talk about this being a ‘war for democracy’, it was plain eyewash. No one in his senses supposed that there was any hope of democracy, even as we understand it in England or France, in a country so divided and exhausted as Spain would be when the war was over. It would have to be a dictatorship, and it was clear that the chance of a working-class dictatorship had passed. That meant that the general movement would be in the direction of some kind of Fascism. Fascism called, no doubt, by some politer name, and—because this was Spain—more human and less efficient than the German or Italian varieties.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

It was like an allegorical picture of war; the trainload of fresh men gliding proudly up the line, the maimed men sliding slowly down, and all the while the guns on the open trucks making one's heart leap as guns always do, and reviving that pernicious feeling, so difficult to get rid of, that war is glorious after all.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

In the intervening days there must have been numbers of men who were killed without ever learning that the newspapers in the rear were calling them Fascists. This kind of thing is a little difficult to forgive. I know it was the usual policy to keep bad news from the troops, and perhaps as a rule that is justified. But it is a different matter to send men into battle and not even tell them that behind their backs their party is being suppressed, their leaders accused of treachery, and their friends and relatives thrown into prison.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

It did not matter what I had done or not done. This was not a round-up of criminals; it was merely a reign of terror. I was not guilty of any definite act, but I was guilty of ‘Trotskyism’. The fact that I had served in the POUM militia was quite enough to get me into prison. It was no use hanging on to the English notion that you are safe so long as you keep the law.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

Smillie’s death is not a thing I can easily forgive. Here was this brave and gifted boy, who had thrown up his career at Glasgow University in order to come and fight against Fascism, and who, as I saw for myself had done his job at the front with faultless courage and willingness; and all they could find to do with him was to fling him into jail and let him die like a neglected animal.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker), Bob Smillie
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:

It was queer how everything had changed. Only six months ago, when the Anarchists still reigned, it was looking like a proletarian that made you respectable. On the way down from Perpignan to Cerbères a French commercial traveller in my carriage had said to me in all solemnity: ‘You mustn't go into Spain looking like that. Take off that collar and tie. They'll tear them off you in Barcelona.’ He was exaggerating, but it showed how Catalonia was regarded. And at the frontier the Anarchist guards had turned back a smartly-dressed Frenchman and his wife, solely – I think – because they looked too bourgeois. Now it was the other way about; to look bourgeois was the one salvation.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

This war, in which I played so ineffectual a part, has left me with memories that are mostly evil, and yet I do not wish that I had missed it. When you have had a glimpse of such a disaster as this – and however it ends the Spanish war will turn out to have been an appalling disaster, quite apart from the slaughter and physical suffering – the result is not necessarily disillusionment and cynicism. Curiously enough the whole experience has left me with not less but more belief in the decency of human beings.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

I believe that on such an issue as this no one is or can be completely truthful. It is difficult to be certain about anything except what you have seen with your own eyes, and consciously or unconsciously everyone writes as a partisan. In case I have not said this somewhere earlier in the book I will say it now: beware of my Partisanship, my mistakes of fact and the distortion inevitably caused by my having seen only one corner of events. And beware of exactly the same things when you read any other book on this period of the Spanish war.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:
Appendix I Quotes

I thought it idiotic that people fighting for their lives should have separate parties; my attitude always was, ‘Why can't we drop all this political nonsense and get on with the war?’ This of course was the correct ‘anti-Fascist’ attitude which had been carefully disseminated by the English newspapers, largely in order to prevent people from grasping the real nature of the struggle. But in Spain, especially in Catalonia, it was an attitude that no one could or did keep up indefinitely. Everyone, however unwillingly, took sides sooner or later. For even if one cared nothing for the political parties and their conflicting ‘lines’, it was too obvious that one's own destiny was involved.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:

It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a frontline trench, except on the briefest of propaganda-tours.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:
Appendix II Quotes

A tremendous dust was kicked up in the foreign anti-Fascist press, but, as usual, only one side of the case has had anything like a hearing. As a result the Barcelona fighting has been represented as an insurrection by disloyal Anarchists and Trotskyists who were ‘stabbing the Spanish Government in the back,’ and so forth. The issue was not quite so simple as that. Undoubtedly when you are at war with a deadly enemy it is better not to begin fighting among yourselves; but it is worth remembering that it takes two to make a quarrel and that people do not begin building barricades unless they have received something that they regard as a provocation.

Related Characters: George Orwell (speaker)
Related Symbols: Red and Red-and-Black Flags
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:
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George Orwell Character Timeline in Homage to Catalonia

The timeline below shows where the character George Orwell appears in Homage to Catalonia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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George Orwell arrives in Barcelona in December 1936 to fight in the Spanish Civil War. At the... (full context)
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Reflecting on this anecdote, Orwell mentions that he is writing this book more than seven months after the events have... (full context)
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As he considers this period of his life, Orwell describes the context of his involvement in the war. While he initially believed he would... (full context)
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Upon his arrival in Barcelona, Orwell is overwhelmed by the revolutionary ebullience he witnesses there. It seems as though the entire... (full context)
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This state of affairs makes a deep impression on Orwell. He believes that perfect social equality has been achieved in the city and, as a... (full context)
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In addition, despite an exciting atmosphere of revolutionary zeal, Orwell sees Barcelona as a city suffering from “the evil atmosphere of war.” The town looks... (full context)
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Meanwhile, during these early days in the city, Orwell trains for military service at the Lenin Barracks. While he was initially told that he... (full context)
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On Orwell’s second day, the recruits are provided with military “instruction.” With shock, Orwell discovers that most... (full context)
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After barely a few days, the militiamen—though still completely unprepared by Orwell’s standards—are paraded throughout the city. At the end of this exercise, the men all run... (full context)
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During this period, Orwell struggles with the Spanish language. There is only one other Englishman in the Barracks, and... (full context)
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Orwell remains fully aware of the deficiencies of the militia system and of the Spanish culture.... (full context)
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Suddenly, in the Barracks, at two hours’ notice, Orwell’s company is ordered to the front. Orwell has to be shown how to put on... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Orwell’s company is sent to Siétamo, then to Alcubierre, two cities in the Aragón province, to... (full context)
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...walk hours in the mist. Upon finally reaching Alcubierre in the middle of the night, Orwell experiences what he calls “the characteristic smell of war […] a smell of excrement and... (full context)
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...In the glum, quiet town, the only excitement is the arrival of Fascist deserters, who, Orwell discovers, are hardly distinguishable from the soldiers in his own company. The only reason they... (full context)
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When the rifles finally arrive on the third day, Orwell feels disheartened once again as he discovers that his weapon is over forty years old... (full context)
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Georges Kopp, a Belgian commander, leads Orwell and his company through bleak, infertile fields. During the trip, Orwell is privately seized by... (full context)
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...while stray bullets fly overhead, they are greeted by a Polish commander known as Benjamin. Orwell, Williams, and Williams’s brother-in-law immediately occupy a dug-out where they leave their belongings. A loud... (full context)
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...a ravine and some hills. Surprised at not being able to spot the Fascist position, Orwell asks where the enemy is. Benjamin points to a spot in the distance, and Orwell... (full context)
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In these dispiriting circumstances, Orwell becomes profoundly disgusted by the war. He judges that, from such a great distance, the... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Immersed in life at the front, Orwell discovers that material concerns prove to be a more present worry than the enemy. In... (full context)
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During his day-to-day activities on the hill, Orwell reflects on the futility of this kind of war, while at the same time admiring... (full context)
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At night, patrols are sent to the valley between Orwell’s position and the Fascist trench. Despite the cold and the chance of getting lost, Orwell... (full context)
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Orwell is given the title of corporal and put in charge of twelve men. He describes... (full context)
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Inefficiency, Orwell thinks, is inherent to the Spanish militias. As groups organized based on the founding principle... (full context)
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...stagnation, which Georges Kopp calls “a comic opera with an occasional death,” has causes that Orwell is unaware of at the time. The nature of the terrain made any attack extremely... (full context)
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...to treat firearms as a harmless toy. Life-threatening errors are ordinary occurrences. On one occasion, Orwell’s entire company shoots at him from the hilltop after mistaking him for the enemy. Another... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...three weeks, a contingent of Englishmen arrives at the front. The volunteers are sent, like Orwell was, by the Independent Labour Party (or the ILP). Orwell and his fellow countryman Williams... (full context)
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Despite being much closer to Saragossa and to the enemy, Orwell still suffers from the same boredom at the front, where nothing ever seems to happen.... (full context)
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Orwell comments on the weather. Even though he bemoans the constant cold and admits to a... (full context)
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Because the contingent is so small, Orwell and his companions are forced to endure longer guard duties. As a consequence, Orwell begins... (full context)
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However absurd the megaphone technique initially appears to Orwell, it seems to have concrete effects, capable of influencing Fascist soldiers to desert. Orwell notes... (full context)
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Orwell is shocked at the use of such an unconventional war technique as the megaphone, but... (full context)
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...sides are reduced, such images are intensely evocative, capable of appealing to any hungry soldier. Orwell admits that it even made his own mouth water, despite the fact that he knew... (full context)
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...previously under Republican control. The same night, the Fascists initiate a poorly planned attack against Orwell’s position. They fire their machine-guns and throw bombs, but they do so, in Orwell’s view,... (full context)
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Despite the enemy’s incompetence, Orwell still finds himself in a dangerous situation. Indeed, the machine-gun in Orwell’s company is out... (full context)
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After a couple of hours, the fighting suddenly ceases and Orwell’s company discovers that it has sustained one casualty. The men soon discover that the enemy... (full context)
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The fall of Málaga, which Orwell had initially believed to be a lie, is later confirmed in the news. The Republicans,... (full context)
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In mid-February, Orwell’s ILP contingent and the POUM troops in the sector are sent to join the army... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...a small diversion for the men, who watch their shells fall far from their parapet. Orwell becomes attuned to the sound of shells and learns to recognize instinctively how close each... (full context)
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...Fascists are said to be in the habit of attending mass before going into battle. Orwell reflects on the eerie feeling of having to cross no-man’s-land for field duty and walk... (full context)
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...engage in battle rather than suffer the boredom of trench warfare. Reflecting on this period, Orwell believes that rumors in the press about upcoming battles are probably lies that were deliberately... (full context)
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...Troopers) on the Manicomio, a disused building that the Fascists occupy as a fortress. Although Orwell considers the Shock Troopers one of the best groups in the Republican army, the attack... (full context)
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In the meantime, as the cold has diminished, Orwell and his companions begin to suffer from lice. Orwell describes lice as the universal symbol... (full context)
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There are shortages of most things, including much-needed uniforms and boots. Orwell’s wife occasionally manages to send him tea, chocolate, and cigars from Barcelona, but even in... (full context)
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Because of his wound, Orwell spends a few days resting at the hospital and walking around in the countryside. He... (full context)
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When spring finally arrives, peasants begin plowing again. Orwell does not succeed in figuring out what the official agricultural system is. He remains uncertain... (full context)
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Occasionally, people seem to forget about the war. When Orwell asks an old lady who is carrying a small olive-oil lamp where he might be... (full context)
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Orwell comments on his shock at discovering the agricultural tools the peasants use, which are terribly... (full context)
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When Orwell wanders into the town’s graveyard, he realizes, with shock, that in it he can find... (full context)
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On the day Orwell returns to the front, his company launches an attack to advance the line. The goal... (full context)
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...begin firing their machine-guns at the newly-built Republican position. The men hurriedly dig trenches while Orwell, who cannot dig because of his wound, spends the day sitting in the wet earth... (full context)
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...by the Fascists but succeeds in producing food for the soldiers nevertheless, an exploit that Orwell admires. Meanwhile, on this side of the front, as always, almost nothing is happening. Orwell... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Benjamin asks for volunteers to join him in an attack on the Fascist position and Orwell decides to take part in the operation. Kopp explains the plan: the men are to... (full context)
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The men walk through deep mud, often falling in the process. In the rain, Orwell raises his head to observe the line of men behind him, but Benjamin urgently tells... (full context)
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In the darkness, Orwell is anxious to reach their destination. He feels that Fascist sentries could shoot them with... (full context)
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...is a loud bang and it becomes apparent that the Fascist sentry has finally heard Orwell’s company. Jorge throws a bomb over the parapet and multiple rifles are fired, all at... (full context)
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...charge forward. They attempt to run but only manage to crawl clumsily through the mud. Orwell expects to see Fascists waiting for them at the position. When he arrives, he is... (full context)
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...anything worth saving. The men find ammunition, although what they actually need are usable rifles. Orwell pays no attention to the few dead men in the position. He is busy searching... (full context)
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...front. At that moment, a voice announces that the Fascists are returning to attack, and Orwell and his companions quickly build a barricade to protect themselves. As he brings heavy sandbags... (full context)
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A few men from the Shock Troopers appear, leading Orwell’s companions to hope that reinforcements have finally arrived. Soon, however, they learn that most of... (full context)
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...volunteers to go search for Jorge, his personal friend and one of his best men. Orwell joins the expedition. Darkness is fading away and, as they come near the Fascist parapet,... (full context)
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Orwell later goes off on his own to look for Jorge, but finds no trace of... (full context)
Chapter 7
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As spring advances and the days grow hotter, Orwell notices the pleasant transformation of the world around him and goes out in the evening... (full context)
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Orwell’s main memories from this period are of heavy loads carried under the sun, crumbling uniforms,... (full context)
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Orwell feels that his time in the war is the most useless period in his entire... (full context)
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What was most striking about the experience of fighting with the POUM, Orwell reflects, is that he was completely secluded from the outside world. The militia system had... (full context)
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While Orwell knows that many critics consider Socialism a disguise for ordinary power-grabbing, the very impulse that... (full context)
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At the time, Orwell was too busy worrying about everyday survival to become aware of the ideological convictions that... (full context)
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On April 25, Orwell, desperate for the comforts of civilized life, finally leaves the line. From Monflorite, he heads... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Upon returning to Barcelona, Orwell immediately notices that the atmosphere in the town has changed drastically since his last visit.... (full context)
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...the crowds in Barcelona have gone back to wearing the fashionable outfits of the period. Orwell notices a surprisingly high number of members of the newly formed Popular Army, an army... (full context)
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...weapon that is desperately needed at the front. When he compares himself to these men, Orwell is extremely aware of how ragged and unkempt he and his fellow militiamen look to... (full context)
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Over the next few days, Orwell becomes convinced that the city has undergone a profound shift. He identifies two main changes.... (full context)
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Orwell is shocked by the population’s indifference to the war. To a man returning from the... (full context)
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While Orwell was fighting at the front, vehement propaganda attacked the militias as disorganized, inefficient units, while... (full context)
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In the city, Orwell begins to realize that what he had interpreted during his first visit as universal support... (full context)
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A couple of days after arriving in the city, Orwell is shocked to pass by an elegant confectioner’s shop selling sweets at outrageous prices. He... (full context)
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During this period, Orwell indulges in refined food, begins to feel sick from such excesses, and acquires a revolver.... (full context)
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Looking back, Orwell reflects on the street fighting between Communists and Anarchists that was soon to take place... (full context)
Chapter 9
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On May 3rd, Orwell hears of vague trouble at the Telephone Exchange but does not pay much attention to... (full context)
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Orwell asks his friend what is going on and is told that Assault Guards have attacked... (full context)
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When Orwell and his friend reach the Hotel Falcón, which is full of confusion, Orwell walks to... (full context)
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...POUM view the conflict as a clear fight between the working class and the police. Orwell immediately sides with the more vulnerable, and therefore more deserving side: the workers. (full context)
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For hours, nothing happens, and as evening begins to settle Orwell briefly exits the building to find something to eat. Shops are closed and the streets... (full context)
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Orwell wanders through the building, past the many people sleeping, the litter, and the broken furniture... (full context)
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During the night, Orwell is put on guard at the window, and by dawn people are already building barricades... (full context)
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When the POUM takes Orwell’s rifle away from him, he decides to return to the Hotel Continental, but bullets are... (full context)
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...Assault Guards are terrified and do not actually want to fight. POUM leaders, he tells Orwell, have issued orders to defend the building but only shoot if they are fired at.... (full context)
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Despite the lack of immediate danger, Orwell assesses this period as one of the worst, most disillusioning moments in his life. He... (full context)
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Orwell waits for many hours on the roof, bored and reading a novel. He notices Kopp,... (full context)
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...fighting might divert energy from the greater fight against the Fascists. That evening, Kopp tells Orwell that the Government is planning to declare the POUM illegal as a means of suppressing... (full context)
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...entire evening, men in the POUM building attempt to fortify the building. Exhausted and tense, Orwell tries to rest. He is convinced that he will soon be woken up to attack... (full context)
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Unsurprisingly, shots are indeed fired once more and Orwell returns to his post on top of the observatory. He is moved by revulsion and... (full context)
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Orwell spends one last night on the roof. The next day, there is little shooting and... (full context)
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...invaded the streets, in a display of strength intended to intimidate the population into submission. Orwell is awed by the Valencian Guards’ weapons, which are far better than the ones he... (full context)
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...stories, accusing it of deliberately instilling rebellion and of being secretly allied with the Fascists. Orwell concludes that newspapers only defend one side of the conflict. (full context)
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...of suspicion that has been intensifying over the past few days becomes even worse, and Orwell is dismayed to realize that the official narrative of the conflict provides inaccurate facts in... (full context)
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...arrested and thrown into prison without trial. Foreigners with suspicious backgrounds go into hiding and Orwell, affected by the deep stress of the past few days, becomes obsessed with the idea... (full context)
Chapter 10
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About three days after the Barcelona fighting ends, Orwell returns to the front. Orwell—and, he argues, anyone reading the news at the time—is deeply... (full context)
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Certain political patters become apparent. Orwell is convinced that the current Government will soon be replaced by a more rightwing one... (full context)
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Orwell’s cynical reflections do not diminish his commitment to fighting on the side of the Republican... (full context)
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When he returns to the front, Orwell learns that his friend and fellow militiaman Bob Smillie has been thrown into prison. Orwell... (full context)
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Orwell is sent to Huesca and put in command of about thirty men. While nothing ever... (full context)
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When Orwell realizes that the bullet has gone through his neck, he becomes convinced that he is... (full context)
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At the hospital, despite suffering from a throat wound and being in great physical pain, Orwell notices that the nurse, in a fashion that he considers typically Spanish, attempts to make... (full context)
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Orwell then travels to Barbastro in an ambulance that is so unsteady that, Orwell realizes, it... (full context)
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After one night in Barbastro, Orwell is sent to Lérida, where he spends five or six days. There, two militiamen on... (full context)
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At the hospital, Orwell observes the hospital system. While the doctors seem good and medical equipment is readily available,... (full context)
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After being told that he is going to be sent to Barcelona, Orwell is in fact driven to the city of Tarragona. After a ghastly train ride, where... (full context)
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At the hospital in Tarragona, Orwell sees a variety of horrific wounds. At the same time, when after a few days... (full context)
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Finally, after eight or nine days since being shot, Orwell’s wound is examined. Cheerfully, without thinking twice about the gravity of what he is announcing,... (full context)
Chapter 11
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During Orwell’s last weeks in Barcelona, the city remains characterized by an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, and... (full context)
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...abandoning the war effort, offering no support to the Basques in their fight against Franco. Orwell initially believes this might be true, but the rumor is later dispelled. Other rumors include... (full context)
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...street, local Assault Guards and Valencian Assault Guards check the papers of passers-by. Friends warn Orwell to hide any document that might attest to his involvement with the POUM. Anarchist newspapers... (full context)
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Orwell explains that it is impossible for anyone who has not experienced it to understand how... (full context)
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While Orwell is sill at a POUM-run hospital in the suburbs of Barcelona, he and his wife... (full context)
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To receive his medical discharge, Orwell must travel to Siétamo. There, he meets Kopp, who has just returned from the front... (full context)
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For five days, after Orwell spends a horrific night believing that he is going to have to fight again with... (full context)
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Near the front line, Orwell realizes that political rivalries in the city have not affected the atmosphere at the front.... (full context)
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During what he knows to be his final trip back to Barcelona, Orwell takes the time to consider his surroundings through the eyes of an external observer. He... (full context)
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As soon as Orwell arrives at his hotel in Barcelona, his wife walks toward him and hisses in his... (full context)
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Orwell learns that on June 15th the police assaulted the Hotel Falcón and transformed it into... (full context)
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What stuns Orwell most is that news of the suppression of the POUM never reached the front, probably... (full context)
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Orwell learns from his wife that many of his friends have been arrested. He is particularly... (full context)
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...to understand why, if he is innocent, he should have to hide from the police, Orwell realizes that this is not a normal legal situation in which people are arrested for... (full context)
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Orwell makes arrangements with his wife to leave the country. While he assumes that he is... (full context)
Chapter 12
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At night, Orwell keeps a low profile, trying not to be caught by the police, while during the... (full context)
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That afternoon, Orwell and his wife visit Kopp. In the makeshift prison, Orwell notices that most of the... (full context)
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When Kopp arrives, he is cheerful and lighthearted. He tells Orwell and his wife that he will probably be shot, but does not seem bothered by... (full context)
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When Orwell arrives at the War Department, bearing a letter that Kopp has written for the colonel,... (full context)
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Finally, Orwell is able to find the office and meet the colonel’s secretary. When Orwell confesses that... (full context)
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On his way out, as Orwell is saying goodbye to the secretary, the man decides to shake Orwell’s hand. Orwell is... (full context)
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Orwell recounts an anecdote to illustrate his belief in Spanish nobility. When the secret police searched... (full context)
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In the meantime, with his companions McNair and Cottman, Orwell hides at night and pretends to be a rich English tourist during the day. The... (full context)
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Finally, one morning after receiving their passports from the British consulate, Orwell and his wife head to the train station. While waiting for the train, Orwell writes... (full context)
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Orwell and his wife succeed in boarding the train. They make sure to sit in the... (full context)
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As soon as they arrive in France, Orwell buys as many cigarettes as he can. Orwell and his wife get off the train... (full context)
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Orwell explains that, however horrible his memories of Spain might be, what he experienced there has... (full context)
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After stopping in Paris, the couple returns to England. There, when Orwell witnesses the unchanged rhythm of everyday English life, isolated from all the violence in other... (full context)
Appendix I
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In this Appendix, separate from the rest of the narrative, Orwell dissects the dynamics of Spanish party politics. He argues that, beyond military considerations, the Spanish... (full context)
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When he first arrived in Spain, Orwell was unaware of the complexity of Spanish politics. He had joined the war to fight... (full context)
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Later, Orwell realized that his perspective had largely been shaped by what he had read in English... (full context)
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Orwell argues that while many people saw the beginning of the Spanish Civil War as a... (full context)
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Orwell argues that the main reason for this press concealment was that the entire world opposed... (full context)
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Orwell proceeds to summarize the ideologies of the parties within the Spanish Left. On one side,... (full context)
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Initially, Orwell agreed with the Communists that fighting for the revolution was less important than winning the... (full context)
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Orwell was disgusted by this pro-Communist narrative. He realized that much of that propaganda was disseminated... (full context)
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Orwell also argued that, from a practical perspective, revolutionary goals could have drawn more supporters to... (full context)
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At the beginning of his time in Spain, however, Orwell was not aware of these facts, and would gladly have exchanged his boredom as a... (full context)
Appendix II
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Orwell warns the reader that no objective account of the war exists, as the only records... (full context)
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Orwell examines the events leading up to the street fighting. As political tension between Anarchists and... (full context)
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...militias, and to suppress the POUM. These things probably would have come to pass eventually, Orwell suggests, even if the fighting had never taken place. (full context)
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As to the nature of the outbreak, Orwell judges that it was entirely spontaneous. The Anarchist leaders disowned the affair from the start,... (full context)
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...to surrender their arms when such weapons were desperately needed at the front. This perspective, Orwell explains, disregards the complexity of the conflict between Communists and Anarchists. Both sides understood that... (full context)
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The Government’s assault on the Telephone Exchange, Orwell argues, was bound to lead to violence. While the foreign press argues that the Anarchists... (full context)
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Orwell proceeds to examine the Communist and pro-Communist accounts of the conflict, which placed all blame... (full context)
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After examining articles from the Communist press, Orwell concludes that it is full of contradictions. In one article, the Anarchists are presented as... (full context)
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...complete ignorance of local dynamics. Some speak of machine-guns, tanks, and artillery fire, for which, Orwell notes, there is absolutely no evidence. Orwell describes these exaggerations as political necessity. In order... (full context)
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In sum, Orwell concludes, the Communist press was aimed at a public entirely ignorant of local circumstances in... (full context)
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Finally, Orwell addresses the accusations that the POUM are a Trotskyist organization. By examining three different possible... (full context)
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Orwell explains that he has discussed the accusations against the POUM in such detail because he... (full context)