“As I write, highly civilised human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me”
As we can tell from the first line, Orwell wrote England Your England during the conflict of World War II yet the essay turns out not to be about the war but about something very dear to Orwell’s heart: the British people.
Orwell states that the people in the planes trying to kill him must be very much like the British people; but patriotism and national loyalty trumps all, a fact that Hitler and Mussonlini were able to grasp. Differences between nations are based on differences in outlook and the English are highly differentiated, distinctive and recognizable from their country terrain, to their visual appearance, to their manners. Yet while these attributes can vary substantially from area to area, the English have a common national identity. How is that possible among so many differences? Orwell investigates.