Last summer I read a bunch of Orwell. His essays, a biography, and two of his books. One of them was Down and Out in Paris and London, a sort of glancing around anthropology that's a little like Burroughs' Junky and Queer as in it's written for casual readers and leaves you feeling satisfied and not too much like a guy at the zoo. He follows life under the poverty line in France and England.
If it's read as true, Orwell half stumbles and have drives himself into the life of a tramp, to use his words, shortly after getting out of military training. Happily, he doesn't get hot for Paris and spends most of his time hanging out with castaways from all over Europe. In particular, a former Russian officer who is lonely for monarchs.
The quotes below come from the Down and Out book. Some are Orwell and some are lines of dialogue from his peers.
- He is, somehow, profoundly disgusting to see.
- By strict economy he managed to always be half starved and half drunk.
- Bad luck seemed to have turned him half witted in only a single day.
- ...And you can never go there again.
- It is the suburbs, as it were, of poverty.
- I would not flinch, I had been a soldier, remember.
- He sat up in bed and renewed the situation.
- A duke is a duke, even in exile. (on a duke leaving the bar w/out having paid his bill)
- Of course, one is always a patriot; but still--Did not Moses say something about spoiling the Egyptians? As an Englishman you will have read the Bible. What I mean is, would you object to earning money from Communists?
- The doorkeeper is a cunning swine.
- English eh? He said, if you work well--he made the motion of up-ending a bottle and sucked noisily. If you don't--he gave the doorpost several vigorous kicks.
- I counted the number of times I was called __?__ during the day.
- We are a notable set of people.
- It is worth describing...
- Owing to...
- The bad ones are past imagining.
- People have a way of taking for granted that all work is done for a sound purpose.
- It is a fear of a supposedly dangerous mob that makes nearly all intelligent people conservative in their opinions.
- The thought of not being poor made me very patriotic.
- D'ysa want to go across my knee?
- His ignorance was limitless and appalling.
- Forced idleness is one of the worst evils of poverty.
- The Salvation Army stinks of charity.