By concentrating on essays along with fiction, according to Hitchens, writing in Why Orwell Matters, Orwell was able to take on “the competing orthodoxies and despotisms of his day with little more than a battered typewriter and a stubborn personality.”2
But what makes Orwell stand out from the other great humanists of the 20th century, and why he should matter to you, is the way he took that stubborn personality of his and used it to tackle many of his own despotic and prejudicial inclinations. Hitchens expands:
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The evidence of his upbringing and instincts is that he was a natural Tory [conservative] and even something of a misanthrope…3 He had to suppress his distrust and dislike of the poor, his revulsion from the ‘coloured’ masses who teemed throughout the empire, his suspicion of Jews, his awkwardness with women and his anti-intellectualism. By teaching himself in theory and practice, some of the teaching being rather pedantic, he became a great humanist.