Animal Farm

by George Orwell

With all the required reading in high school & college English, Western Civ, etc, I guess I find it hard to believe that this book was never assigned to me. Knew it existed, of course, knew it was an allegory & all that good stuff, but never read it...until now. It's a short & easy—albeit incisive—read that I would have gotten through much faster (one could probably polish it off in an afternoon) were it not for all the reading I had to do for my class this month. (I even swore off the Sunday New York Times this month!? So you had better believe I was inundated with written material.)

I liked it, I get it, & I understand why George Orwell's Animal Farm is assigned to so many students somewhere in their education. And if you're among the many who believe Orwell simply turned a keen eye backwards on history—like I used to believe—you'd be wrong! Do you know that he began writing Animal Farm in 1943?? That's crazy, was relative blasphemy, and difficult to publish even come 1945. Who of that era wanted/dared to gainsay the Soviet Union? If you did, you were certainly 'pro Nazi.' So rest assured that Animal Farm is NOT some retrospective fable sagely dispensing morals learned in hindsight! It is, instead, a work nearly prescient in nature—it wasn't only 1984 that played that role—and this makes it & George Orwell all the more relevant. Now we're almost 70 years on...can there be any doubt?

George Orwell was an iconoclast who peddled the hardest truths. The most powerful force in the Universe is that engendered when people BELIEVE something to be true—with all their heart—solely because they WANT it to be true. (And if you don't agree with me, just try watching an episode of Catfish: The TV Show.) Another thing that annoys—which only means Animal Farm is a good book—is that the story is equally a condemnation of totalitarianism as it is of people (or animals, here: a horse) who blindly serve it, blithely accept it, or remain naive. George Orwell shames my current nonparticipation in politics, and as for the rest of you: Ask yourselves—just for example—what kind of B.S. you silently tolerate or take a myopic view of at work?

What happens when you jump out of a tyrant's frying pan & into the fire of revolution, power hunger, & oppression? Why do we call some people "sheep" and others "pigs"? How dare we defend Communism based on its intentions?? And where does the quote, "All [insert plural noun here] are equal, but some are more equal than others" come from? Read Animal Farm. Sadly, perhaps, it will never be too late.