Just how irritating does a protagonist have to be to ruin a perfectly good story?
You normally get drawn into wanting to build a relationship with a good protagonist, or at least support or understand their motives, but Gordon Comstock in Keep the Aspidistra Flying seems to go out of his way to make you dislike him. He inhabits a world of poverty and disregards every opportunity to relieve himself of that pressure. His ‘war on money’ is a constant theme but I got tired of a man trying to be down on his luck, of someone who has possibilities but is willing to give it all away to make a point. Orwell is obviously hinting at the fact that opposing capitalism is fruitless because we all still live in the machine however much we dislike it. I just wish he’d done it with a little less drawn out, self-sabotage by Gordon. Orwell has done far superior work and he himself said that he shouldn’t have published it as he only wrote it because he needed the money.