The remarkable thing about Orwell is this: he’s not a genius. He lived only 46 years; he never went to university; he never had a steady job, he never usually had a steady publisher. He will never be forgotten because he managed to disprove imperialism, Stalinism, and fascism in one lifetime. He made imperishable raids on its territory that no one’s ever going to forget, all of the time ill, all of the time poor. It shows how much a person of average integrity and intelligence and education can make, if they have a little courage and a little intellectual honesty.
Having been among the bullies and among the bullied at different times of his life, Orwell had an innate understanding of what Nietzsche called the “master-slave” relationship. He knew that there are guilty thrills to be obtained from domination, and he also realized what few people fully appreciate– that there are also guilty thrills to be had from subjecting and abasing oneself. Animal Farm and 1984 can be read, independently of their time and place, as a strong preventative medicine against the mentality of servility, and especially against the lethal temptation to exchange freedom for security: a bargain that invariably ends up with the surrender of both
Christopher Hitchens on George Orwell