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Animal Farm in Review

By Jess D'Amico in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 2, 2007 8:06PM

June%201%20oink.jpg The end of May has come and gone which means it is time for our final look at Animal Farm.

We’d like to say that the second time around, Animal Farm was “___” –insert appropriate adjective. But since we didn’t get a reader response from anyone reading it a second time through, (which maybe is a statement all itself) we'll have to view it through our first-timer's eyes.

It’s amazing how a book so short and seemingly simple can do so much. In less than 200 small pages Orwell addresses the entire history of the Soviet Union until 1945, when the book was published. But what truly makes Animal Farm the perfect junior high book report book, is that it also examines class relations, the power of language, rhetoric, and the nature of allegory. No wonder our school teachers wanted us to read it.

Our one complaint with the story was the narrator. Orwell definitely took a side in the matter, using words like "slaughtered" in reference to Napoleon's gruesome massacre by his dogs. We felt that perhaps the language could've been stronger were the narrator an active character, such as the crow, or if the narrator truly was passive and uninvolved.

We didn't see all of those layers when we were first supposed to read it, and likely it was the complexity ofthe book that turned us off to the fairy tale. Although we do remember the discussion in eighth grade being a little more painful than reading the book now, but then again most things were more painful during junior high than they are now.

Image via Leo Reynolds