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Nostalgia in George Orwell's Coming Up For Air
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Modernity has changed the world and subsequently has caused emotional wounds and a sense of nostalgia for those pleasant times and places left in the past. In fact, nostalgia and modernity were two principle notions that people face in the early 20th century. This study calls on the notion of nostalgia defined by J. Wilson, which suggests that hard life situations and modernity enforcing unwanted changes in life, bring a feeling for the past like missing something left behind.

Taking Wilson’s definition as a point of departure, this study analyses the protagonist's nostalgic feeling and nostalgia in the novel Coming Up For Air written by George Orwell. It also compares Coming Up For Air with two other Orwell’s writings which demonstrate that a grief for legacy of the past is recurrent in his writings. In addition, this study argues that nostalgia is not only a sentimental motion or mourning for the lost past but it also creates a pleasant space for the protagonist to recover from hardships caused by the modern life in the early 20th century.

This study investigates the protagonist’s returning to his childhood town to make his dream of home real. The notion of Place Attachment by Ben Dowler is applied in this study, which demonstrates that the hometown means happiness and a safe place for the protagonist because he was in connection with a sense of happiness and joy in that place. In addition, Abraham Maslow’s theory about human basic needs, which demonstrates that the protagonist looks for a safe place because of his aroused basic need of being secure in the war times, is addressed.

Furthermore, this study applies Sigmund Freud’s theory of Mental Structure. The theory is about the three layers of mind from instinct to mature and demonstrates that three different layers of the protagonist’s mind lead him to reply differently to his need of returning home. The main claim of this theory is that although the protagonist has no control over his aroused basic need for security, the mature one makes him more connected to the real world and helps him to cope with his nostalgia. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 42 p.
Keyword [en]
Nostalgia in Coming Up For Air, George Orwell's Coming Up For Air, George Orwell, Nostalgia
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-74261ISRN: LIU-IKK/MPLCE-A--12/02--SEOAI: diva2:483107
Subject / course
Master's Programme in Language and Culture in Europe
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-01-27 Created: 2012-01-23 Last updated: 2012-01-27Bibliographically approved

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