Orwell wrote in his famous essay on Mahatma Gandhi, 'Reflections on Gandhi', first published January 1949:
"...The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals..."
How was Orwell's own journey through his final illness and eventual death?
Andrew Ferguson reviews 'George Orwell: A Life in Letters' Selected and Annotated by Peter Davison for Spectator, October 2013:
"...But nothing I know of offers a clearer picture of Orwell’s disorientation than a harrowing letter he wrote to a young, pretty art student who for a time lived in a flat beneath his.
He opens with an apology: “You are very beautiful…[and] it’s scandalous that a person like me should make advances to a person like you, and yet I thought from your appearance that you were…a person who lived chiefly through the intellect and might become interested in a man who is much older and not much good physically.”
It’s clear she wasn’t interested, but Orwell soldiers on, reassuring her with testimony to his ill health and foreshortened life expectancy: “What I am really asking you is whether you would like to be the widow of literary man.” There will be royalties to collect, he says, and lots of “unpublished stuff” to edit posthumously.
“It isn’t so much a question of someone to sleep with, though of course I want that too.” And because “I am also sterile, I think,” she would be free to find a “handsome young man” with whom she could have children. “I have very little physical jealousy.”
“You say you wouldn’t be likely to love me. I don’t see how you could be expected to.” No, he goes on, “I want peace and quiet and someone to be fond of me.”
As prose, I think, this comes as close as possible to transparency, laying bare grief, loneliness, lust, neediness…or is it guile? In any case, for a reader who honors Orwell as both a man and an artist, it is almost too painful to bear, and a reminder of why we should be grateful that good prose is never like a window pane..."
Would you call this "defeated and broken up by life"? I would and I feel it's inevitable.
(Just a coincidence but note that the cartoon belongs to the year Mr. Orwell died.)
Caption can also be read as:
"What I am really asking you is whether you would like to be the widow of literary man. There will be royalties to collect..."