Sunday, June 5, 2011

Animal Farm, George Orwell

Another novel that I should have been assigned in school, yet oddly enough never was; and thus I only just got to it! I was shocked by how violent of a novel it really was, and I suppose that was a silly disposition to have had due to the power inherent in political commentary. It's a dismal, graphic portrait of what a community can do to itself, even whilst working towards an "ideal society;" the question is, who's ideal will come to fruition?

I think it's as valuable a read as One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Certainly the imagery and commentary are rather simply developed, but fables don't need to be overly complex. From rebellion to the totalitarian rule of the pigs, our role as individuals functioning as part of a larger community are questioned: motives of power and greed, weaknesses like fear and inaction are all scrutinized. Orwell shines a light on a fair sample of injustices and corruption, showing not only how a mass can change with their political organization, but how the individuals can take advantage of society's trust and diligence.

Personally, I was most impressed with how Orwell showed the indoctrination of the farm animals with Squealer and Napoleon's propaganda campaigns. It reminded me of my reading experience with Son of the Revolution, where a young man comes of age alongside the increasing power of Communist China. Small deceptions and misinformation backs the animals into a corner and leaves them ripe for manipulation. The problem of misinformation remains as important a discussion today in our media-obsessed global network. There are so many other facets behind this satire that make it a staple in required reading world wide; this is just what stood out to me.

What do you think about books like this? Any recommendations or food for thought? Holla at a book worm!

Animal Farm, George Orwell
ISBN: 0451519000 

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