Monday, February 23, 2009

My thoughts on Animal Farm

Well, as you may have suspected by the lack of posting, Animal Farm was not on my list of intriguing, page-turning books! I had been eager to read the book, as it's found on literally EVERY list of "must-read" books that I find during my homeschool planning efforts for my children. I had never read it in school (the story of my life!), so I was very anxious to know what makes this book a classic!

The story was simple to read... I finished it in about 5 days, and that was including writing a narration of the chapters as I read it. Unlike the works of Austen or Bronte, the language and sentence structure were easy to comprehend. I could actually read this book with my children playing around me! :)

I understood the parallels between Animal Farm and the Socialist/Communist regimes during the time the book was written. Perhaps it was more powerful then when Communism was such a looming threat? I did notice how the animals gave up their rights and freedoms bit by bit, which seems familiar in our present time... but in an attempt to keep this blog a politics-free zone, I'll stop there! ;)

All in all, it was a pretty boring book and I don't know what makes it such a classic. I even bought the Cliffs' Notes to see if I was missing something! I wasn't!

Perhaps that's the reason Stephanie Meyer chose for this to be the book she mentioned in New Moon after Edward has left, as Bella is emerging from the fog of despair.

"I forced myself to keep at it until the parking lot was full, and I ended up rushing to English. We were working on Animal Farm, an easy subject matter. I didn't mind communism; it was a welcome change from the exhausting romances that made up most of the curriculum. " (p. 99)

I can totally see how this would be an easy book for Bella in her state of mind after Edward has gone. She wouldn't need to concentrate hard on the language, considering how much she loves classic literature. She wouldn't need to delve deep to get any hidden meanings. She could read it, understand it, discuss it, write about it, all the while on "auto-pilot"!

I am glad I read this book, because now I can say I have! LOL And when I read New Moon again, in preparation for the movie premiere in November, I'll probably be able to relate to Bella a little bit more because of it!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Animal Farm - A Summary

Animal Farm
by George Orwell
published 1946

The animals at Manor Farm, after having not been fed by Farmer Jones for two days, rebel and expel him from the farm, which they rename Animal Farm. The pigs begin teaching the 7 Commandments of Animalism, which they learned from the old pig Major before his death. At first, all of the animals worked together, bringing in the harvest even better than had been done with the humans were in charge, and even defeating Jones and his men when they attempted to take back the farm. Then Napoleon, with his guard of dogs, took over control from Snowball, and decided to build a windmill to provide electricity to the farm to make life easier for all of the animals. As the animals worked harder and sacrificed more, small changes were made to the original commandments, but it was hard to prove as non of the other animals were literate. As time went on, the pigs became more and more like the humans had been, and nobody remembered the reason for the rebellion or how life had really been before.