Focusing on the relationship between social class and living arrangements, George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying portrays textually 1930s class differences in London, England. That a character’s class defines how he or she lives is made noticeably clear by Orwell, but his portrayal centers on the most central marker of class stratification: where each character lives. After World War I, there was a shortage of housing in London because little funding was available to build new houses. Slum clearing and updating was also put on the back burner and allowed to grow worse, thus allowing lower-class housing fall into greater ruin with the arrival of the Great Depression. As Charles Mowat explains, “[a]ny estimate of the condition of Great Britain in the thirties is bound to be […] affected by the continuing evidences of inequality between classes, including both those in work and the unemployed, in matters of income and capital, nutrition, the death rate, infant and maternal mortality, and shelter.” (emphasis added, 490). Using Keep the Aspidistra Flying as the primary text, I will attempt to show how Orwell argues that housing and class are dependent on each other, especially in regards to the exclusive nature of class, the size of personal space, ownership of personal space, levels of health, and freedom of sexuality.
"Defined by the Home: Housing and Class Connections in George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2011
, Article 12.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2011/iss1/12