Thoughts: Animal Farm, George Orwell

This is the first book I read for my 100 Books Challenge. I had originally planned to read the books in order, but that plan went out the window when I moved to a different country a few months ago, and this was one of the few books I took with me. It was there, I was unoccupied, so I started reading.

The last time I had encountered Animal Farm was when I was a child, and there was an animated version on TV one Christmas. I don’t remember much of the cartoon, except for the bits where the sheep keep bleating “Two legs baaad, four legs goood,” and the chickens take offence and are told that their wings would pass for legs as well. I’d never read the book at school either, having dropped literature before my O’ Levels (not one of my better decisions).

I knew going in that the book was a metaphor for the Russian Revolution, but I was struck by how much the story matched the political climate of the country I was living in at the time (naming no names – I don’t want to end up on some hit list). The whole concept of ‘the group that free the people from the oppressors themselves ultimately becoming the oppressors’ is something that I could see happening around me. This made my reading experience slightly frustrating. I kept thinking, as I was reading, can’t they see what’s going on? And I’d look at my own society and realise that there were people who were just blind to any faults of the government because they were the ones who had brought freedom to the country.

I’m glad I read this book with a little life experience behind me. I don’t think it would have resonated with me as much had I read it at school.

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