End of Week Four – Animal Farm
February 22, 2013
Happy Friday readers!
Another title completed and I’m looking forward to next week’s book, Sue Townsend’s Rebuilding Coventry, but before I launch into that, I thought I’d write a little about my experience reading Animal Farm.
Now, for anyone that read Monday’s post, you’ll know that I was struggling to pick up Animal Farm. Not because I’m not a fan of Orwell – if I’m honest, he’s one of my favourite authors with 1984 being on all of my top ten reading lists – but because I was forced to read it in school for my GCSEs. Exam fear got the best of me on Monday. And Tuesday. Of course, when it came to Wednesday I was a good reader and picked up the book…but only to find the TV remote hiding underneath it.
I finally got over my procrastinating and sat down yesterday to revisit Animal Farm for the first time in 12 years. I was lucky this was the week I lost focus with the challenge, as Orwell’s animal fable is a quick read – extremely easy to blast through in one or two sittings, but captivating enough to make you stop and think upon completion.
If, like me, you studied Animal Farm in school, or if you’ve picked it up this week, you’ll know that Animal Farm tells the story of a farm full of oppressed animals and what happens when they rebel against their human owner and attempt to adopt an equal, communist regime with which to rule the farm; this inevitably fails and the ideal of ‘equal rule’ is revealed to be a false one.
Animal Farm uses a simple-style of story-telling reminiscent of Aesop’s fables where animals are used to represent political figures and complex ideas which creates satire. Orwell describes the events leading up to the Russian Revolution and through to the Stalin era, but the focus of the plot, however, is not on the act revolution itself, but on the eventual corruption of its leadership.
Once I started reading, I’d forgotten why I’d been avoiding the book in the first place and started really appreciating it. Half-remembering what I learnt in school, I began to enjoy seeing where Orwell’s belief that those in power manipulate language to their own benefit appeared in the text. For example, when the animals changed the agreed seven commandments of their revolutionized farm to one: “All animals are equal” which gradually, and ironically, evolved to “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”. I found that instead of resenting Orwell’s writing, as I had done at school, this time around that it fascinated me and I was glad I’d picked it up again.
Have you reread any texts you were made to read in school? What book did you read this week? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you on Monday where I’ll be giving you an update of Sue Townsend’s Rebuilding Coventry.