One egg. Many black beetles squashed in the road. Inside they are brilliant vermillion. Men ploughing with teams of oxen after the rain. Wretched ploughs, with no wheel, which only stir the soil.

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11 Responses to 28.10.38

  1. Wally says:

    This is my favorite entry yet – almost like a haiku.

  2. Parker says:

    I’m with Wally! The beetles are disgusting but the way Orwell described them is poetry.

  3. Gilles Mioni says:

    That’s very difficult to find a traveller more ascetic than Orwell. He was there and was describing the life such as it was.No more. Such a neutral attitude, less embarrassed by its emotions than him is not possible to do.
    I start to understand why he does not write on Eileen O’Shaughnessy. His glance on her would be too piercing, too revealing of the personality of his wife. He did not want to make a character of her as he did not make his life a novel.
    It is a pity for me because i don’t know about this women. Certainly, she was great.

  4. zenomax says:

    I agree too. Concise, poetic, evocative.

    Which is ironic as Orwell’s formal attempts at poetry seem bland and uninspiring.

  5. itwasntme says:

    Gilles, I think you’re right, and a good insight it is. Perhaps he is using the diary to steady himself emotionally, grounding himself in reality and steadying his inner passion, which might indeed disturb him and his personal relationships if it is allowed too much freedom. He mentions the hard plowing, which only alludes to the suffering of the men working them. Fully verbalizing their suffering would certainly be unsettling.

  6. Ed Webb says:

    One egg. Black beetles:
    Brilliant vermillion.
    Wretched ploughs stir me.

  7. steve says:

    “So much depends on the red wheelbarrow, glazed with rainwater, beside the white chickens.”

  8. wahyuapriani says:

    Hmmm, i think it’s exciting…

  9. Stephen says:

    One egg, many beetles
    And teams of oxen.
    No wheel.

  10. Dominic says:

    Orwell is a camera!

  11. Jill Stevens says:

    Orwell seems like he’s a person who grasps the environment better than people. From what I’ve read about him he wasn’t the most social person and I think his writing reflects that. A neutral diary isn’t such a bad thing. I also like to write fiction etc. but my own diary/journal whatever is fairly simplistic, merely recording the mundane details of my life. My thoughts and feelings can be better expressed elsewhere. Unlike Orwell though I do mention my mood, who I talked to, what I read/watched, ate etc. so the focus isn’t as narrow. Orwell similarly was just recording the facts, his opinions he expressed in plenty of detail elsewhere so it would be unnecessary to repeat in a journal. Still it is a bit odd to see a person who wrote so many depthful things focused so singularly on the mundane in his own life. I think alot of insight can be gained on his style from his essay “Why I write”-http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/wiw/english/e_wiw written in 1946. Some quotes of relevent interest on his mindset.

    “I was the middle child of three, but there was a gap of five years on either side, and I barely saw my father before I was eight. For this and other reasons I was somewhat lonely, and I soon developed disagreeable mannerisms which made me unpopular throughout my schooldays. I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued.”

    “for fifteen years or more, I was carrying out a literary exercise of a quite different kind: this was the making up of a continuous ‘story’ about myself, a sort of diary existing only in the mind. I believe this is a common habit of children and adolescents. As a very small child I used to imagine that I was, say, Robin Hood, and picture myself as the hero of thrilling adventures, but quite soon my ‘story’ ceased to be narcissistic in a crude way and became more and more a mere description of what I was doing and the things I saw. For minutes at a time this kind of thing would be running through my head: ‘He pushed the door open and entered the room. A yellow beam of sunlight, filtering through the muslin curtains, slanted on to the table, where a match-box, half-open, lay beside the inkpot. With his right hand in his pocket he moved across to the window. Down in the street a tortoiseshell cat was chasing a dead leaf’, etc. etc. This habit continued until I was about twenty-five, right through my non-literary years. Although I had to search, and did search, for the right words, I seemed to be making this descriptive effort almost against my will, under a kind of compulsion from outside. The ‘story’ must, I suppose, have reflected the styles of the various writers I admired at different ages, but so far as I remember it always had the same meticulous descriptive quality.”

    “it is clear what kind of books I wanted to write, in so far as I could be said to want to write books at that time. I wanted to write enormous naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of detailed descriptions and arresting similes, and also full of purple passages in which words were used partly for the sake of their own sound.”

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