Orwell was an accurate analyst of social conditions in the 1930s in communicating issues of unemployment and social perceptions existing after the detrimental international economic halt provoked by the Wall Street market Crash of 1929. Leading into The Great Depression, Orwell gives a first-hand account of the living and working conditions of the working-class in Britain, gaining insight into ideologies different from what he had been taught in his middle-class upbringing. In his account, the economic upheaval in Britain provides a basis for social issues to be addressed through a physical engagement with the working-class.
By providing a description of the realities of existence in the 1930s as well as an account of the ideologies…show more content…
The spatial disparity of the unemployed was unevenly spread, concentrated on industrial areas where Orwell introduces coal miners and their lifestyles in order to gain a better understanding of the difficulties they faced alongside the unemployed. Acting as the basis of British economic trade, the maintenance of exports such as coal, steel, cotton and staples remained vital in providing the country with some steady income during a time of financial distress. Orwell considers the importance of the coal miners’ work in relation to the international economy in which “we are all directly or indirectly dependant upon coal,” and “In the metabolism of the Western world the coal-miner is second in importance only to the man who ploughs the soil.”
In celebrating the importance of miners, Orwell attempts to restore them to a respectable state within the working-class, challenging perceptions that miners are dirty and “noble savages.” This is significant in understanding the importance of social ranking on individual and collective perceptions in the 1930’s as Orwell himself reflects that middle-class people thought that the working-class smelled.
While it has been argued, “a concentration on unemployment and social distress does not present a complete portrayal of the decade,” it is necessary in understanding the social paradigms existing within the decade in order to make sense of the