KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING
when I was assigned this task I cringed at the thought of reading Orwell - you can imagine my embarrassment now that I have read and had thoroughly enjoyed the novel. It was a whole new face of Orwell thought the trade mark stamp of Irony and Contradiction ensured that it was an Orwell original.
Charmed by the dark humor and witty remarks I skimmed through the pages viewing London through the eyes of Gordon Comstock. A pessimistic, gloomy, arrogant, self-serving and overwhelmingly epigrammatic protagonist; the character setting brought out the sadistic nature in me - I loved to see him struggle, blunder and writhe in agony as he dropped from status, society and finally civilization. He was an excellent book salesman, not for the buyers but for us readers; though however amusing Comstock was I always kept (made to keep) a vigilant mind on his works. The dark and dreary nature of Orwell seeped through Comstock's mouth: Sometimes I think we're all corpses. Just rotting upright. What made the novel enjoyable was Orwell's narration – a story telling adaptation which lets us observe from afar without having to engulf in the amalgamation of Comstock's daemons; keeping our own opinions crisp and un-mingled.
When Comstock was not spewing abuses or encouraging blasphemies (One for the employers-the elect, the money priesthood as it were- 'Thou shalt make money'; the other for the employed- the slaves and underlings'- 'Thou shalt not lose thy job.') he was talking about aspidistras. It was true love between a man and a plant. Comstock’s ideals changed and with it changed the significance of aspidistra. It was the sole symbol of contradiction that Orwell portrayed in his ideals. In Society the aspidistra mocked the pretense of civility, a panorama of ignorance, greed, vulgarity, snobbishness, whoredom and disease, delusions of Nobel standing and false humility acquired through mindless labor in exchange for money. But in humble living, it was a sign of good will; a sign of peace. This was where Comstock finally found serenity and pronounced Vicisti, O Aspidistra!
The novel ended in tragedy. Not even the great Comstock could run away from the responsibilities of man and was again shackled and bound in the act of conventional pleasure: a favorable turnover for the Comstocks but the death of a poet.