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Archive for the ‘George Orwell’ Category

Post originally published on March 31, 2015

Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Published in 1945

Summary from Goodreads: Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This 1945 satire addresses the socialist/ communist philosophy of Stalin in the Soviet Union.

Guitar Hero, my 14 year old son, is not an abstract thinker. In the first place, he is 14, and a boy. As well, he was diagnosed with autism when he was 3, which manifests itself in several ways, one of which is that he doesn’t really do well with abstraction.

So, when he was assigned Animal Farm as part of his social studies unit on the Russian/Chinese revolutions, it made sense that we would read and discuss it together. This turned out to be an awesome way to gain a deeper understanding of Orwell’s classic satire-masquerading-as-a-fable-about-anthropormorphisized-animals. For both of us.

Because even though my son doesn’t really do abstraction, he had several flashes of insight in this book that were amazing to observe. And the opportunity to talk through things like abuse of power, and corruption, and hypocrisy, and propaganda with him was a lot of fun for both of us (more for me, though, probably. Lol).

This is the part where I point out that Orwell was really brilliant in his ability to reduce totalitarianism to a few pen strokes, a pig in a dress, poor Boxer the draft horse who gave his soul, and ultimately his life, to an ideal that was never going to be anything other than corrupted, and some ever changing rules about equality and animalism.

I wondered if he would get that breathtaking moment, at the end, when the “commandments” have been reduced to simply one:

All Animals Are Equal.
Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

And he did. He totally, totally did. Which was amazing.

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