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View Diary: Books that Changed my Life: Animal Farm (43 comments)

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  •  I first read 1984 in the second grade (what is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell, Matt Z, linkage

    that, 7-8 years old?) because we had been passing around a lot of books among the extended family of aunts and uncles, several of whom were teachers. I'll be honest, I started reading it only because it was a cheesy paperback and the cover pictured an incredibly sexy Julia in her blue "outer Party" uniform, and a somewhat bemused Winston trying hard not to turn around and look at her.

    Then, my teacher told us all to write a book report about any book we liked. To be read aloud in front of the class; Q&A to follow. I figured if I read fast, I could finish 1984 in time to write some kind of report anyway...did I mention that I was enrolled in a Catholic grammar school?

    I didn't understand the mechanics of sex, (Catholic school!) but I had looked through "Playboy" and read a few issues of something called "the Journal of Professional Sex Educators" or something like that.

    So here's Our Hero, reading his book report and the part about a society controlled not bu one man, but the idea of one man (Big Brother/Pope) passes. Direct quotes that I use about the quality of life issues pass. but "a love affair in a society that discourages love." quoting Julia;

    When you make love you're using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don't give a damn for anything. They can't bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you're happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of their bloody rot?
    That was too much for Sister Gemma Marie. I had my book report snatched from my hands, I was told to sit down. No finishing my reading, no Q and A. I would get an "A" for the assignment provided I didn't talk to others about  my book report.

    I only managed to read Animal Farm as a high-school sophomore, in a secular school half a continent away. By the time that happened, I was known as a "weirdo",  Drama clubber, so I didn't care, but I do remember that Animal Farm led me back to read 1984 again, understanding it much more fully.

    “Science is like sex: sometimes something useful comes out, but that is not the reason we are doing it.” – Richard Feynman (-9.00,-8.86)

    by Jonathan Hoag on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:33:34 PM PDT

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