Who was Big Brother?

The character and position of Big Brother is partly based on Joseph Stalin leader of the USSR. However, in the essay section of his novel 1985, Anthony Burgess states that Orwell got the idea for Big Brother from advertising billboards for educational correspondence courses from a company called Bennett’s, current during World War II. The original posters showed Bennett himself; a kindly looking old man offering guidance and support to would-be students with the phrase “Let me be your father” attached. After Bennett’s death his son took over the company, and the posters were replaced with pictures of the son (who looked imposing and stern in contrast to his father’s kindly demeanour) with the text “Let me be your big brother.” Lord Kitchener, is also particularly relevant as a model of Big Brother, for the World War One recruiting poster depicting him pointing with the slogan “Your Country Needs You”. As a child Orwell (under his real name Eric Blair) published poems praising Kitchener and war recruitment in his local newspaper.

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About daviddunnico

Aye up – I'm a documentary photographer from Manchester in the UK. This is an occasional blog all about me, me, me. Well actually it's just about my photography.

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