The Art of Contemporary English Culture by George H. Gilpin (auth.)

By George H. Gilpin (auth.)

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Porteous, so old-fashioned that he even objects to listening to what he calls the 'wireless', considers Hitler to be 'a mere adventurer' whose effect on history will be 'ephemeral' (157). This view hardly satisfies Fatty who even while listening to the old man cannot avoid thinking about the war and especially the 'after-war, the food-queues and the secret police and the loudspeakers telling you what to think' (158). Fatty concludes that Porteous, with his 'whole life revolving Orwell's War 29 round the old school and ...

This view hardly satisfies Fatty who even while listening to the old man cannot avoid thinking about the war and especially the 'after-war, the food-queues and the secret police and the loudspeakers telling you what to think' (158). Fatty concludes that Porteous, with his 'whole life revolving Orwell's War 29 round the old school and ... bits of Latin and Greek and poetry', is 'dead . a ghost' (159) and that neither Progress nor Culture really matter anymore, 'neither of them cuts much ice in West Bletchley' (153).

In limbo in 1938, waiting for war, Fatty learns that the civilization in which he grew up is gone and that he is the victim of social and historical forces beyond his control. 7 To him, it is a 'line of semi-detached torture chambers' (14) ruled by the commercial 'god of building societies' (15) in a city of 'skeletons 28 The Art of Contemporary English Culture walking' (29). Fatty believes himself to be the 'only person awake in a city of sleepwalkers' (28), and, while a totalitarian society may still be only a future threat, he finds the world of which he is a part to be as imprisoning as if the inescapable future had already come: Fear!

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