Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Gordon Comstock- the main character in the novel- is a poet that has published a book of poetry that totally flopped. He quit his “proper” job which pays twice as much as his current job-working in a bookshop. This novel was set in 1936 London, with Gordon presumably doomed to remain broke forever. Gordon is a proud broke man in his late 20’s, too proud to accept or request for financial help from his friends which by the way, he rarely sees. He also has a virgin sweetheart, Rosemary who he could not bed due to his belief that women only love you when you have money.

The Aspidistra is a plant that grows by the window of Gordon’s poorly furnished room, this plant that has refused to die mirrors his own existence. George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a gloomy humorous piece that resonates with people striving to make ends meet or have been in positions where they were seriously financially handicapped. Orwell takes us through Gordon’s experiences, his bitterness at what he refers to as “the money-world’, his far-reaching presumed solution to this Money-world and his eventual decline into a sadist as a result of his rebellion against “the money-world” was carefully and meticulously crafted in this novel.

Orwell amazing and unbiased attention to details, his ability to make his characters absolutely brilliant and at the same time extraordinarily stupid is a thing of beauty. The book itself has a happy ending based on the readers answer to what being happy is all about. Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a funny book you are guaranteed to enjoy.