Skip to main content

I was never fond of politics for the majority of my life. That all changed during senior year in high school. I was forced to read a book by a man named George Orwell, whom I had never heard of before. Besides Shakespeare and the Romantic Poets like Shelley and Keats, I was not at all familiar with or accustomed to British Literature. To be fair it really didn’t interest me at that point in life.

Orwell’s Animal Farm was my first real exposure to political-literature, which eventually planted the seeds for my love-affair with politics (hence, the reason for my presence on this blog).

Animal Farm taught me to be skeptical of power. To this day I am still skeptical of power and that is why I revolt against the abuse of power, whether it is in exposing police brutality, seeking income equality, or reporting on human rights abuses by our government and governments worldwide. The diaries I write on this blog attests to this revolt.

Another significant contribution that Animal Farm had on me was that the book indirectly (well some might argue directly) led me to the works of my hero Noam Chomsky and eventually made me an anarchist. Let me explain.

After completing Animal Farm, I was assigned to write a term paper on the book by my English teacher. I was fascinated by George Orwell and I wanted to know his motives for writing the book and writing in general.

One of the books I consulted to improve my knowledge about Orwell was written by a British polemicist and journalist named Christopher Hitchens (note: when Hitchens wrote the book I believe he was not yet an American citizen). The book was called Why Orwell Matters. Just as I had fallen in love with Orwell’s prose I had fallen in love with Hitchens’s as well. In doing more research on Hitchens, I found out that one of his intellectual colleagues used to be Noam Chomsky (they later split, after Hitchens embraced a more neoconservative philosophy, around the period between September 11 and the Iraq War).

To this day Noam Chomsky is my ideological hero and I embrace his philosophy of anarchism. But I digress. Back to Animal Farm.

Before I continue to describe and glorify the book I think proper context is in order. Many of you may not have read Animal Farm, or have forgotten all about it. So I will give you a quick summary, but not the ending so here goes and the summary will not have too much meat in it at all so I hope I don’t spoil too much: (Hint: Just Imagine the Russian Revolution and the fall out between Stalin and Trotsky)

Old Major (think Karl Marx), calls Mr. Jones’ farm animals to a secret meeting. Being the oldest and wisest of the animals, Old Major is something of a philosopher who opens the animals’ eyes to their cruel fate. This inspires two of the most ambitious animals Snowball and Napoleon (the pigs and also caricatures of Trotsky and Stalin respectively), to take matters into their own hands and drive Mr. Jones off the farm. They drive the animals to mount a successful revolution and takeover the farm. There is a power struggle between Snowball and Napoleon with Napoleon prevailing in the end just as Stalin prevailed over Trotsky. What follows is the subjugation of the animals by Napoleon, but not too many of Napoleon’s subjects know it.

Animal Farm employs the genre of a fable in a novella form; in fact it is reminiscent of Aesop’s fables, only with an extended plot. Aesthetically speaking the sentences are lucid yet in their simplicity beautiful and thought-provoking.  The work portrays our deepest hopes and longings for a better, fairer and richer life, warn us against unleashing our darkest desires when given positions of authority and power, and is a reminder to both the optimistic and the gullible to always be skeptical of power.

While Orwell wrote Animal Farm as a critique of Stalinist communism, the book transcends time and setting giving it a quintessential feeling of timelessness. What I mean by this is that Orwell condemns two things via his prose. The first and obvious one is the abuse of power and this is conducted chiefly by the Pigs. Secondly, Orwell condemns the common masses that remains deluded and allow such abuse of power to continue. The common mass is represented by the non-pigs such as Boxer, the sheep, the cows.  Benjamin the donkey is also a member of the common mass but is something more of a pessimist. An intelligent and literate character but nevertheless apathetic towards the animal’s deteriorating situation stating: "Life will go on as it has always gone on–-that is, badly." Hence, Orwell sees both ignorance and apathy as detrimental to the quality of life.

Now think about it, is this not us? Is the abuse of power in several forms occurring, while the majority of Americans are in an opiate state or simply just don’t care? In fact the mantra of Boxer the horse (“I will work harder"), is what the American dream was based upon for all these years. A belief my parents instilled in me. A belief, which states that if a person works hard he/she will attain great success. Well, that isn’t true any more. Many single mothers work two to three jobs but have a very difficult time in making ends meet. Meanwhile, oligarchs and corporatists work the least amount of hours in America, yet live in luxury.

Boxer (proletariats) didn’t realize it, worked his butt off and ended up dying, while his carcass was taken to be made into glue. Meanwhile, the Pigs (bourgeoisie) lived in comfort by sucking the resources and productivity of everyone else.

Something else we must consider is that Animal Farm shows us how the powerful use propaganda to manufacture consent. Here are a few quotes that highlight what I am talking about (these quotes are taken from different chapters. A complete list can be found here:

We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! Surely, comrades," cried Squealer almost pleadingly, skipping from side to side and whisking his tail, "surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?"

But a few days later Muriel, reading over the Seven Commandments to herself, noticed that there was yet another of them which the animals had remembered wrong. They had thought the Fifth Commandment was "No animal shall drink alcohol," but there were two words that they had forgotten. Actually the Commandment read: "No animal shall drink alcohol TO EXCESS."


Having this realization alone, especially at such a young age was life-changing for me and the catalyst for this realization is Animal Farm. For one it allowed me to see a grim reality that many of my own relatives cover with their delusions, sometimes I think purposefully. I don’t blame them. It’s what human beings have been doing throughout history. Power is bound to corrupt and propaganda is bound to persuade. The powerful tend to be both corrupt and persuasive. You can read Noam Chomsky’s, Manufacturing Consent to find out how, for a non-fictional diagnosis of this phenomenon (after you read or re-read Animal Farm that is).

Because, it is usually read in the high-school level, Animal Farm is a dark reminder to all youth that they have an obligation to be citizens of conscience and conscious of what goes on around them and how their destinies are shaped. I suggest we do not solely read the book purely for pleasure but also as prophecy.

Read Animal Farm online for free. Click on the link below:

After reading the book please watch the film for a different rendition of the story:

The animated version is my personal favorite:

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for this insightful analysis (17+ / 0-)

    Haven't read this book for years--this makes me want to give it another look.

    Thanks also for the links! It always helps to have a "freebie upload" when one's budget is feeling the pinch!  :)

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:26:54 AM PDT

  •  One of many books which touched me (14+ / 0-)

    and confirmed me as a committed civil libertarian, and critic of groupthink.  Add 1984, Farenheit 451, War With The Newts, The Handmaid's Tail, Darkness at Noon, we, Brave New World, The Iron Heel, It Can't Happen Here.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:38:35 AM PDT

  •  should be required reading (12+ / 0-)

    it's a good book.

    but my favorite is Brave New World.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:08:35 AM PDT

  •  I wonder how many kids are assigned this (14+ / 0-)

    book anymore. And if they are, is it interpreted narrowly as a condemnation of communism only and is therefore touted as a support of capitalism, no matter its form.

    When I see the American worker becoming more and more productive, with the fear of job loss as his spur, I think of patient Boxer and his mantra, "I will work harder." I wonder how people can fail to see themselves in this and yet, somehow, they do.

    I wonder how we can counteract the propaganda of the 1% "pigs" to keep them from ultimately feasting on the proceeds of our corpses as befell Boxer.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:12:38 AM PDT

    •  My daughter got it this year (10+ / 0-)

      as a Sophomore. I know her teacher (I've observed him; I'm back in college to become an English teacher myself) and I've seen him teach Animal Farm. So, yes, he does make it an explicit criticism of Communism. But he does Animal Farm in between To Kill A Mockingbird and Farrenheit 451, and, as my daughter puts it, "That's Mr. C's 'The Authorities Are Out To Get You!' unit." :)

      "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

      by ChurchofBruce on Fri May 18, 2012 at 11:32:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, if he teaches it as an explicit criticism of (4+ / 0-)

        Communism rather than an explicit criticism of exploitation, then he's rather missing the point.  As I mentioned below, the pigs don't end up worse than the humans, they end up indistinguishable from the humans.  It's not exactly a ringing endorsement of Capitalism.

        To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

        by sneakers563 on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:43:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're absolutely correct. That was the thesis of (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sneakers563, Lily O Lady, LSophia, Matt Z

          this diary.

          •  I don't think "Animal Farm" is an (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawn Russell, LSophia, Matt Z

            endorsement of capitalism, but I worry that some might. Since the "joyous harvest time" of Beasts of England, never happened the animal commune was a failure. But it failed because it devolved into the worst of the exploitive capitalist system it sought to replace. Just as people will not see themselves in Boxer's "I will work harder," so they may fail to see the exploitive nature of the farm under the farmer.

            The animals overthrew the "natural order" of man over animal, and many conservatives would see that as wrong. Thus the message that both the humans and the pigs as corrupt would be lost on them, sad to say.

            "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

            by Lily O Lady on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:47:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah I have heard that argument before too from (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LSophia, Matt Z, Lily O Lady

              many to whom I recommended the book.

              That really just tells me that they read the book with a preconceived notion from, which they could not free themselves.

              In other words they already had a desired conclusion ready i.e., the book is about the evils of communism and the superiority of capitalism, or man-made democracy, that these people really missed some of the crucial moments of the book.

              One example is the death of Boxer. Both the pigs and the humans, collaborated together to send Boxer's dead body to "Alfred Simmons, Horse slaughterer and Glue boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal.

              So Orwell basically believed both systems were cruel and malicious in exploiting the population.

    •  In the late 1960s, I was (9+ / 0-)

      in a 9th grade English class in which the teacher had us individually pick a book to read. I chose to read Animal Farm, and much to my surprise the teacher overrode my choice, proclaiming that the book is "too communistic." It was then that my classmates and I decided that she was both right wing and stupid, and we had fun challenging her views and understanding for the rest of the semester.

      Thanks for posting this diary. The book is back on my to read list.

    •  Yes, at the end of the book (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shawn Russell, LSophia, Matt Z

      Orwell doesn't say that the pigs were worse than the humans, or that the animals wished for the humans' return.  Rather, he ends with:

      The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

      To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

      by sneakers563 on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:40:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A student of mine wrote a research paper on it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shawn Russell, LSophia, Matt Z

      His classmates were each assigned a classic book to analyze for their research paper this past semester. My student wrote a decent paper and received a high grade for it.

      In the past, I have assigned George Orwell himself as a research paper subject in regards to his rhetoric (in class, I discuss Aristotle's principles of logos, pathos and ethos) in both his fiction and non-fiction works.

      "Do they call you Rush because you're in a rush to eat?" -"Stutterin' John" Melendez to Rush Limbaugh.

      by Nedsdag on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:11:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For a long time I thought 1984 was a veiled (9+ / 0-)

    novel of Nazi fascism. Later I understood it was a grinding critique of what Orwell saw as the end result of English socialism and Stalinist communism. If he came back to today and saw the ubiquitous CCTV cameras he might think his vision has come true.

    Animal Farm was my introduction to Orwell. Great for young adults and the rest of us.

    “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

    by the fan man on Fri May 18, 2012 at 08:54:55 AM PDT

    •  Stalinist Communism, yes; (8+ / 0-)

      English Socialism? Not so much; Orwell was a socialist.

      "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

      by ChurchofBruce on Fri May 18, 2012 at 11:34:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Democratic socialism yes, but he did torment other (4+ / 0-)

        forms of closed socialism in his writings. He had much to say about the self imposed censorship of the intellligensia towards the Soviet Union before and during WWII and his time in the "Ministry of Information" during the war certainly influenced his writing. Your point is in essence correct, and not as I painted it.

        “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

        by the fan man on Fri May 18, 2012 at 11:57:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (5+ / 0-)

          He was, above anything else, anti-totalitarianism. I'll give him this, for sure--he saw what Stalin was before a whole lot of other Western leftists.

          "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

          by ChurchofBruce on Fri May 18, 2012 at 12:40:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have to say, as an late 70s radical, the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawn Russell, Aunt Pat, Matt Z

            blinders were still firmly in place over here on the left. I gave myself a pat on the back getting arrested at the Soviet Embassy during the anti-nuke protests in NYC during the early 80s. Just a few dozen of us vs hundreds at the US.

            “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

            by the fan man on Fri May 18, 2012 at 01:21:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In the '60s, SDS started out with a... (6+ / 0-)

              ...quite strong anti-Soviet outlook, many of its members being fully aware of Khruschev's secret anti-Stalin speech in 1956, that being the year and the cause, along with the crushing of the Hungarian revolt, of many U.S. communists leaving the party. Later, some of the more hard-core members took to saying that criticizing the USSR helped the enemies of socialism (even though they freely admitted that the USSR deserved criticism). They were mistaken. The failure to fully criticize the USSR, both its domestic and foreign policy, deeply hurt the left.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Fri May 18, 2012 at 03:06:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Agreed. I am always looking for our blind spots (0+ / 0-)

                having been a part of a historical blunder. It is partially why I take contrarian opinions here. Echo chambers and groupthink are deadly.

                “The first principle [in science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” Richard Feynman

                by the fan man on Fri May 18, 2012 at 05:45:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm younger than you (0+ / 0-)

                so I got most of that in retrospect (I was born in '65), but it always amazed me that any Western leftist with even a portion of a brain supported the USSR at all after Prague Spring.

                With me, even as left-wing as I am, disdain of the USSR was genetic; I'm of partial Lithuanian descent. My full-blooded grandfather flew a Lithuanian flag at half-mast until the day he died.

                "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

                by ChurchofBruce on Sat May 19, 2012 at 11:32:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  England's social democracy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shawn Russell, the fan man

        From the Wikipedia on postwar British history

        the Labour Party under Clement Attlee came to power and created a comprehensive welfare state, with the establishment of the National Health Service, entitling free healthcare to all British citizens and other reforms included the introduction of old-age pensions, free education at all levels, sickness benefits and unemployment benefits, most of which was covered by the newly introduced national insurance, paid by all workers. The Bank of England, railways, heavy industry, coal mining and public utilities were all nationalised. During this time, British colonies such as India, Burma and Ceylon were granted independence and Britain was a founding member of NATO in 1949.
        We look back at these as breathtaking and brave innovations, but 1948 Britain was a pretty grim place and the people of Britain underwent great sacrifice to bring about their welfare state.  All of these nationalizations and innovations took place in a nation that lost much of its housing stock and industrial capacity during World War II, and what was left was threadbare.  The Brits financed this with loans and grants from the United States and heavy taxation.  The postwar rationing of food continued; even bread and potatoes were controlled.  

        Orwell was afraid that England's nascent social democracy would devolve into the IngSoc of 1984.  How long would the British tolerate wartime austerity without a war to fight, and how would the government respond to this agitiation?  

        (The UK did so by devaluing the pound, abandoning colonization, letting the Americans be the Western superpower and electing a Conservative government  that kept the welfare state intact but phased out rationing.)


        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Fri May 18, 2012 at 04:40:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Really enjoyed your write-up! (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks, Shawn. Hadn't read this in a while.

  •  I want to thank everyone for their kind words and (8+ / 0-)

    appreciation. This was my first diary for Readers and Book Lovers and I was very nervous of the reception I will get.

    Writing this review was also fun and challenging. I usually don't write reviews on literature, so it gave me a unique experience.

    Thanks again everyone who read and enjoyed this piece. :)

    For those of you who didn't please let me know what I can do to improve this diary. Thanks in advance.

  •  This book also affected me deeply when I was (8+ / 0-)

    a teen. It is on my very short must re-read list. Thanks for reminding me how great it is.

  •  Great job, Shawn. It has been many years, too (5+ / 0-)

    many, since I have read this work.  

    When I read it in high school, some 45 years ago, the Communist background was not as strongly emphasized and I was free to see it as a more universal truth.

    Thanks to your diary, I think it is time to read it again.

    "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

    by Susan Grigsby on Fri May 18, 2012 at 01:34:56 PM PDT

  •  I have a funny story about Animal Farm (8+ / 0-)

    in 2006 I was living in Athens GA, which is close to my primary client based in Atlanta. It was a difficult period, and at a certain point I had to ask for a script of zoloft from whoever I could get it, which in this case turned out to be the County. The dolt sitting behind the intake desk was a smarmy dumb kid, asking key, probing question from his list. One being "Are you thinking of hurting yourself?" to which I responded in my best Shakespearean, "Rhetoric can tie a better noose than I"

    the idiot only heard "I...Tie...Noose" and before I knew what was happening I was being attacked by 3 cops, taken to the local hospital for a few hours of observation during which time they catheterized me as I could not easily pee in the cup, having not had any fluids all day. Then about midnight the van came by to take me hours away from my home to Savannah where they have some creepy "hospital", right out of Cuckoo's Nest.

    The only books I had to read for a full week were Animal Farm, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and the Physicians Desk Reference.

    All I wanted was some zoloft and I end up being stuffed in a cell with a guy who killed his buddy & stuffed the body down a well shaft.

    I did not respond well to their "therapies"; the staff figured out quickly I did not belong there. An Iraq vet in for some nasty PTSD even came up to me one day and said "You don't belong here", and we became friends for the duration.

    I moved out of Georgia as soon as I could.

    -8.25, -7.13 "Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot -- it is a silly place." "Right"

    by leathersmith on Fri May 18, 2012 at 02:03:02 PM PDT

  •  workers' paradise (6+ / 0-)

    saw a story on today saying what is obvious to everyone

    Not only do Americans get less vacation time than others but they don't even use what they get

    Why not?

    1) they have "too much work to do"
    2) they can't afford to take vacations

  •  My stepdaughter, who was raised... (7+ / 0-) Libya, never read a single novel until she came to the States in 2005 at age 23. Her mother and I encouraged her to read to improve her English, and we wanted to choose a novel that was both short and relevant. Animal Farm was the choice.  She loved it. The connection between what she saw in those pages matched the politics she had seen in Libya. Two years ago, she read another Orwell book, 1984. Needless to say, she's a big fan and has vowed to read his Homage to Catalonia once she graduates.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri May 18, 2012 at 02:59:13 PM PDT

  •  Benjamin the Donkey seems to have (4+ / 0-)

    been too optimistic, in hindsight.

    "Life will go on as it has always gone on–-that is, badly."
    But he was still the most prescient of them all.
  •  and who is Alfred Simmonds (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell, Aunt Pat, Limelite

     I will work harder....

      I still remember - those many years ago - when I first read about the glue maker.  It was as powerful as any passage I had ever read.  

      Now, it seems that Orwells view of history just repeats and repeats...

  •  I tried to read 1984 first when I was 12... (5+ / 0-)

    ...and I had a hard time following both the book and the allegory. My junior high counselor recommended that I stop and read Animal Farm first...and it all clicked. I went back to 1984, then to other political writers after that. Animal Farm definitely changed my life.

    Four legs good, two legs bad....

    There are no temporary workarounds.

    by Mr Teem on Fri May 18, 2012 at 03:47:57 PM PDT

    •  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

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Why Orwell Matters" is correct. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell

    Orwell was a complex individual who grew up in wealth (his real name was Eric Blair), eschewed it and became a socialist. Then he grew weary of socialism and through his writings began to see both sides of totalitarianism.

    It's too bad he died prematurely (he passed away two years after "1984" was published), because it would have been interesting to hear from him more about his two most famous books.

    Many feel he stole his idea for "1984" from his former teacher Aldous Huxley's equally scary book "Brave New World," but both books have left their mark on both the literary world and the world in general.

    "Do they call you Rush because you're in a rush to eat?" -"Stutterin' John" Melendez to Rush Limbaugh.

    by Nedsdag on Fri May 18, 2012 at 06:06:36 PM PDT

  •  Animal Farm is in my mind almost daily, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell, linkage

    while reading or listening to Republicans' words.  Black is white, Wrong is right, up is down . . . How can people hear these lies over and over and believe them willy nilly without checking for truth themselves?  Haven't they read this book - can't they hear the echoes?

    "We all do better when we all do better." Paul Wellstone

    by jolux on Fri May 18, 2012 at 10:43:31 PM PDT

  •  Junior year high school term paper (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, Shawn Russell

    That was the year we studied American literature and had to do a term paper on an American author.  Naturally, I chose Orwell.  I only hope that my teacher knew Orwell wasn't American.  I read Animal Farm, 1984, and Homage to Catalonia and did a bunch of additional research.  I am a lifetime fan of his work.  

  •  Boxer's Two Mottoes: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell

    Boxer had two mottoes, both of which the Republicans believe are good ones... for the base:

    "I Will Work Harder!" is the one that has been mentioned by a couple people, but he had another one which the pigs liked even better:

    "Napoleon Is Always Right!"

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Sat May 19, 2012 at 07:19:09 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site