George Orwell the Spike

1239 Words5 Pages
How does Orwell create a sense of place in The Spike? Just from the title of the essay, ‘The Spike’, you can infer that it is not a welcoming place. The noun ‘Spike’ has violent and negative connotations and therefore implies that the essay is not a light hearted one. From the first paragraph Orwell begins juxtaposing the dirty, ‘scrubby’ looks of the tramps with nature surrounding the spike. He describes how outside the spike, the scenery is ‘green’, the adjective which is usually related to nature and purity, while inside the spike is ‘lime washed’. This creates the imagery of the spike being a fake replication of the natural serene surroundings around the spike, as if the spike wishes to be a pure green but can’t match up to it, as if the spike is tacky. Orwell then uses the simile ‘like sardine tins and paper bags on the seashore’ to designate how the tramps appeared outside the spike. Describing the tramps as ‘paper bags’ gives the impression that they are irrelevant and almost like rubbish that society has thrown away. The simile provides further juxtaposition as Orwell is contrasting the smelly sardine tins to the peace of a beach setting. This implies that Orwell feels the tramps ruin their surroundings. Orwell goes on to inform the reader that out of 49 tramps entering the spike, only one of them is female. The reader is left to deduce that the spike is no place for a woman, maybe because it doesn’t welcome women, or potentially because the number of female tramps is below the number of males. We later find out that the one woman entering the spike had to ‘enter the workhouse’ while the rest of the men went straight into the spike. Orwell includes this to imply how the spike segregates against women, forcing them into work while treating the men with a sort of luxury compared to the women. The extract covering page twelve gives insight into the way the
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