George Orwell uses the example of Mohandas Gandhi to attempt to make an argument on why human beings should avoid sainthood and just accept “imperfection”, because when it comes down to it, every human being is imperfect. Orwell develops his own position on this theory through an open minded tone; this is a very smart move on his part because this draws the reader in and makes them want to consider what he has to say because he is isn’t completely denying Gandhi’s point of view all the supporters of Gandhi are willing to listen to him.
While Orwell is criticizing Gandhi some of the details he includes about him aren’t necessarily fair, he proceeds to state the more inhumane things Gandhi has done in his life, when he should also be taking into consideration the wide collection of amazing things Gandhi has done for society, and it is these things that give him a life of “sainthood”. However, some of the points that Orwell makes help his own position on the topic develop. He now has sufficient proof that along with sainthood comes sacrifices.
Gandhi was willing to let his wife or children die rather than administer the animal based food prescribed by the doctor (14-16), some people may see this as strongly adhering to one’s beliefs but Orwell see’s this act as being inhumane. Orwell also seems to believe that the essence of being human is to accept imperfection and not seek to achieve it (28-29), Gandhi clearly seemed to seek perfection in his life and this is why he is classified as the “saint” that people all around the world recognize him as today, however, for most human beings, sainthood is something that most cannot handle.
Human beings are a species that are trained to have emotions towards each other, even the most basic of emotions, which has been felt since the beginning of life, love… with love comes the attachment to other human beings, and this in essence develops relationships and a dependency upon others that Orwell feels is being “imperfect”. This imperfection comes from a person’s compromised ability to do “the right thing” when it comes to people that they love. This is why there are not more Gandhi’s in the world, because it takes a special dedication to be able to put aside all of the innate emotions and actions of a human being.
This special dedication often leads to a person being classified as “inhumane” because of the fact that they will not break their morals for another person. This is the precise reason that sainthood should be avoided by human beings. Orwell very effectively develops his position on sainthood through the details that he expresses about the life of Gandhi and the things that Gandhi has said such as “close friendships are dangerous” (1). Orwell makes sure to stress the point that the establishment of sainthood should be avoided by all human beings.
However, in addition to making this point, there are things that Orwell says about sainthood that should be considered by human beings such as the avoidance of alcohol, tobacco, and so forth (36-37). Even though this is a good quality the saints have, and many human beings should strive for this as well, it is virtually impossible to achieve complete sainthood. Human beings including Orwell should accept being imperfect, because imperfection simply is human nature.