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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

Book Review: Animal Farm

After having it on my reading list for a very long time, I finally managed to finish the allegorical novella "Animal Farm: A Fairy Story" and loved it! It is based on the Russian revolution

The satirical book by George Orwell reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Wikipedia provided me the historical context

Vocabulary.com, the modern online dictionary's light-hearted definition of allegory is amusing - An allegory is like a metaphor on steroids: a writer tells a fictional story where everything and everyone in it is supposed to represent a deeper meaning. Using a plain old metaphor, you might call death "the grim reaper," but an allegory might build a whole tale of how the grim reaper goes around in a black cloak and informs people of their impending doom. Aesop's Fables are allegories, with animals taking the place of different human character types 

Though it was written in 1945, Orwell's phenomenal story-telling prowess keeps the story & message, relevant and timeless in an entertaining way.

The dialogues are simple & yet incredibly funny. Following is a sampling of what I laughed at the most -

The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. 

Man serves the interests of no creature except himself

The only good human being is a dead one.

Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. 

And remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him.

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

As the story progresses, some of the commandments are tweaked -
No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.

The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others.

Boxer, the horse's answer to every problem, every setback, was "I will work harder!"—which he had adopted as his personal motto. From morning to night he was pushing and pulling, always at the spot where the work was hardest.

The truest happiness lies in working hard and living frugally

The pigs control the other animals on the farm and Squealer, minister of propaganda, calls the reduction of rations as a readjustment

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others"

Human owner of a neighboring farm to Napoleon, the dictatorial pig - "If you have your lower animals to contend with, we have our lower classes!"

A nice perspective from a Teacher's Guide to the book:
Animal Farm is an excellent selection for junior and senior high students to study. Although on one level the novel is an allegory of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the story is just as applicable to the latest rebellion against dictators around the world. Young people should be able to recognize similarities between the animal leaders and politicians today. The novel also demonstrates how language can be used to control minds. Since teenagers are the target not only of the educational
system itself but also of advertising, the music industry, etc., they should be interested in exploring how language can control thought and behavior.

Teenagers are especially influenced by peer pressure. In exploring the skillful use of peer pressure (along with the threat of death later in the book) used by the pigs to keep the other animals in line, the students can analyze their own lives and discover how peer pressure controls their actions.


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