Monday, October 01, 2012
Celebrate the Freedom to Read. . . ANIMAL FARM
Wayne celebrates ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
When I first read George Orwell’s Animal Farm I was an eighth grader whose only knowledge of dictatorial government was the time my father made me cut the grass when I wanted to watch Batman on TV. Animal Farm gave me my first literary glimpse at human greed, cruelty and gullibility. I was aware that villains existed (I watched Batman, after all) but I was blissfully unaware of how an evil leader could manipulate an entire populace into believing it was a hero. George Orwell set me straight on that point.
A brilliant critique of totalitarianism masquerading as a “fairy story,” the novel chronicles a revolution launched by the animals of Manor Farm against its cruel owner Mr. Jones. Committed to the concept that “all animals are equal,” the beasts struggle to create an equitable government only to find their ideals subverted by the ambitious pig Napoleon who utters the novel’s famous catchphrase, “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” As I read that line for the first time a chill went down my spine and I have not looked at politics or government in quite the same way since. It is little wonder that some in power have seen Orwell’s masterpiece as a threat to their existence and have tried to keep citizens from reading it.
Wayne Dowdy, Central Library
Labels: Banned Books Week
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