Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reflections: Animal Farm

Adam C. Zern opines on George Orwell's Animal Farm:

"I'm not sure I could say anything about Orwell's Animal Farm that hasn't been said before by students of varying educational levels.  I vaguely remember reading it when I was younger, but time withered my memory of the book.  It's a very short book, which makes a second reading of it quite convenient.  It's a classic; it deserves to be such.

Just like Orwell's more adult work, 1984, Animal Farm is laser-focused on the subject of totalitarianism.  The book is traditionally understood to be an unambiguous condemnation of Communism, an ideology worthy of condemnation at every opportunity, but it could easily be applied to any form of totalitarianism.  In fact, the so-called 'satire' of the book can hardly can be called that.  Even the most outlandish methods of control perpetuated by Napoleon and his fellow Pig-rulers are hardly exaggerations.  Dictators of all sorts, and from everywhere, will try, have tried, and will forever try whatever is necessary to maintain and perpetuate their own power.  Animal Farm is brilliant in that it is such a simple and poignant testimony of that reality.

The ending of Animal Farm is unforgettable.  The effects of absolute power are devastating, especially for those who deserve the greatest protection.  Regardless of whether or not I read the book already, it was worth reading again.  Animal Farm is a reminder of what we all too often forget."

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