Orwell wrote, “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 the
same things when you read any other book on this period of the Spanish war.”
Using both Preston and Orwell, evaluate this statement, and specifically how Orwell
represents the Spanish war and revolution?
The paper represents Orwell perspective of the of the Spanish war and Revolution. It also uses the criticism by Preston to justify the mistakes and distortions caused by his one-sided overlook of the Spanish war and gives more wholistic details about the matter backed with historical evidence. It utilizes on the sentiments of Orwell about the war and the remarks made by Preston concerning the revolution.
Study takes into consideration the misleading comments made by Orwell in the book ‘Home to Catalonia’ about events of the war. It also notices the fragments of the war that heavily constitutes the book. Therefore, it uses the knowledge about the Spanish war before and after 1937 to give a clear overview on the events and their impacts.
Author paints a vivid picture on the point view of a witness and does not give insight to what caused the war and the impacts it had. He merely gives fractions of details which is impossible come to think of since if didn’t speak fluent Spanish. It is a nonreliable analysis of the broader politics of war and particularly of its international determinants.
Orwell represents incidents which are from a confused perspective, obscure and unimportant in a war he didn’t understand since he joined as a volunteer. His political analysis of the war at that time is tainted by his acceptance of the Partisan views of Anarchists and POUM comrades as well as the ignorance of the reason for the war.
Preston argues that the book is written from a political angle intended to shift the reader from the harsh realities concerning the war and brainwash the readers (especially those who know little about the Spanish Civil War.) He further states that Orwell recognizes his flaws about the book which is captured later in his letters, essays and reviews about Spain where the paints a clear picture from an informed perspective. Before, his sentiments were biased and based on the common hatred for the Soviet Union.
Orwell does not understand the war and fails o capture the long standing political conflict between groups in Barcelona and the issues which faced the Republican Government at that time. He does not carry out basic research and is also not qualified to give conclusions based on a theme he has no idea about.
Preston scrutinizes Orwell’s ability to have a complex conversation with the Spaniard officials given that the Captain of his unit, Benjamin Lewinski, opens up about his quick grasp of the language but in his book, he reveals of the language barrier that existed which was a stumbling block. He confuses us further when he comments (Orwell, 1980) “I heard a Spaniard behind me say that the bullet had gone clean through my neck.”
Contradictory conclusions are made by Orwell on the outcomes of the war (Raymond, 1971) by the Republican Government. He foretells of a dictatorship form of leaders as the directions shifted to Fascism. Preston critiques the unfounded prediction as no one in their senses supposed that there was any hope for democracy. Orwell later on recognizes the fault in his predictions as he confesses “I may say that I know think much more highly of the Negrin Government than I did when it came to office”, (Orwell, 1980).
It is through his later acquittance and friendship with Negrid that he develops a deeper understanding about the war. Negrid explains to him some of the components of the war that were not captured in his book. This included important triggers and impacts of the war such as the foreign policy. Orwell lack past experience in his essays, letters and reviews of the grasp of the Spanish acquittance and even reading books in Spanish regarding the war.
The fellow counterparts who had a chance to meet Orwell also paint a different picture about him. Negrid describes him as naïve and biased by a rigid frame, blinded by the realities of the religious partnership. The comments collude with every discovery and projection made by Orwell in the book.
A judgement is passed by Prston the reasons behind Orwell’s joining the Independent Labor War as a volunteer. He hints of an ulterior motive since he might have been turned down by the Left-Wing party due to his credentials. If that is the case, then the book is like a revenge mission to the Left-Wing party for putting him on the sidelines.
There is failure by Orwell to capture the overall plot of the war (Davidson, 2001) since it also involved other components that triggered the war. He ailed to capture the fact that Spaniards fought not only Franco and the armies but also the military and economic might of the Mussolini and Hitler in France.
Preston further laments on the failure of Orwell to capture the events before May 1937, which focused on the revolutionary groups responsible for the economic chaos and atrocities. He also was unaware of the conflict with the anarchists of the scale of violence accompanied by social revolution.
In conclusion, the way Orwell represents the Spanish war and revolution is a point of historical source. But the arguments brought forward by the book should not be considered since they fail to paint a broader picture on the reality of the Spanish war.