A few months ago I wrote a post about reconsidering required reading, and in it I discussed lots of books from school that we usually hate but might be worth a second chance. Well, today I’m sharing with you my review of Animal Farm by George Orwell. This is an incredibly popular required reading book, but, until today, I’d never read it!
So that’s the first confession of this post–I haven’t read Orwell’s most famous books–Animal Farm and 1984. I’ve tried 1984, but I just didn’t enjoy the opening. I’ll give it another shot someday.
My second confession is that I’m not very good at writing about satire/allegory in a non-academic way. I could totally write you an essay about the elements of this novel, but I’m not exactly sure how to write about it in a conversational, blog-post way. So instead of a real “review,” I’m going to tell you my favorite parts of this book.
- I loved how cleverly Orwell is able to show human nature through a group of farm animals. It seems like almost every type of human response to a new, idealized political system is shown in the novel.
- I really enjoyed the overall tone of the book. Originally, it was published as Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, and I think the tone shows that Orwell’s intent was to write about social issues in a lighthearted, yet completely serious way. Clearly, he would have been able to write about Socialism, satire, and allegory in a breezy blog post.
- I like that the ending of the book is vague. We don’t know what will happen to the farm animals or their pig overlords, but it’s easy to see the whole cycle of the book repeating again and again in revolution after revolution. And isn’t that exactly what happens in history?
So, there are three things I enjoyed about Orwell’s book. I’m looking forward to studying it more closely in the next few days as I prepare to teach it in the Fall, but after a quick first read, I wanted to share my overall impressions.
Have you read any Orwell? What did you think of his books?