Jan 22, 2008

A Clergyman's Daughter

by George Orwell

Having read several of Orwell's novels, I don't think this is the best of his work. A Clergyman's Daughter tells of eight months in the life of Dorothy, a young woman who lives alone with her father. He's the preacher in a small town. A very domineering, almost cruel man. Dorothy's entire days are spent doing housework and endless jobs for her father and his church. She's very dutiful. Her one break from the drudgery is occasional visits to the town scoundrel (who tries to seduce her every time). Then in an unexplained incident, Dorothy looses her memory and wakes up on the streets, far from home. She begins a journey through London's lower class society, spending time picking hops with itinerant workers in Kent, teaching in a shabby private school, and attempting to survive living on the streets.

Through all her trials, Dorothy never really changes. She suffers everything in a very docile manner, and it becomes apparent that this novel is not about growth of character but an exposé of social conditions in London. Small town life, gossip, greed, the condition of private schools, the deplorable situations of homeless people. It is not as in-depth on these subjects as Down and Out in Paris and London, but still quite interesting and a good read.

Rating 3/5                  324 pages, 1950

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