I ADORE THIS BOOK. Okay, yes, I know. I adore all my banned books. Partly because they’re banned, but mostly because they’re fabulous. And Animal Farm by George Orwell. Considering that we haven’t done a list since my banned books post on Twilight, how about we mix it up a bit and do another one! hehe. Plus, man do I really love lists! So, may I present to you:
FIVE THINGS ANIMAL FARM CAN OFFER THE PEOPLE WHO READ IT
- This book taught me the art of deep, close reading. I mean, alright, sure, the whole farm animal/communist thing isn’t exactly buried miles below the surface. But, given that I had my first introduction to this book as a freshman in high school, it was crazy to me that an author could be saying ONE thing and meaning something TOTALLY different! And not only that (I was at least vaguely aware of subtext then), but that an author could do that for a whole book, for everything from the setting to the characters to the dialogue – and could create a story that could fully and really be read in two different ways – was just mind blowing for me! I think that, at least in some small way, this book was responsible for my being and English major, wanting to do just this kind of close reading for the rest of my life.
- The communist secret-but-not-secret plot was my gateway to the genre of dystopian literature. I mean, not only did I read 1984 soon after Animal Farm, but the land in which this story takes place is the multimeter example of a world that is, truly, horrible. I didn’t really think so at the time (I was quite the revolutionary in my younger teen years), but the horrible nature coursing under the surface of these farm animals was enough to make me thirst for more books that could show society as what it was by telling the story of what it could be (and not in a good way).
- Talking farm animals! I mean, come on! Who doesn’t love that? And it’s one of the only good ways I’ve ever seen it done.
- Animal Farm is one of the books I always bring to the table when talking to people about intersecting disciplines in the academic world. It’s the perfect book for seeing intersections between history, politics, economic structures, and literature, especially geared at slightly younger audience. Furthermore, it’s a great example of what can happen when ‘border’ books, as I like to call them (books capable of being read and enjoyed to the upmost by both adults and teens, in a way that does a disservice to neither set of readers) get in to the hands of children and parents who are willing to talk about what they really mean. For someone like myself, who is deeply interested in possibly homeschooling one day, an idea of so many talking points in one book is just phenomenal.
- As a banned book, Animal Farm is a book that expresses a possibly unpopular idea freely. It may face it’s set of challenges, it’s set of setbacks and disappointments and people who don’t like it (I’m hoping you can see where this horribly corny anthropomorphizing is going!), and yet it’s still on shelves all over the world, being read and loved and studied and taught. I think there’s a message for people in there somewhere, if you really look at it.
And that, my lovelies, is it! That’s Banned Books Week all wrapped up, and as fun as it’s been talking about some of my favorite banned books (and why the people who ban them are silly), I’m ready to get back to blogging about some of the amazingly great other books I’ve been reading this past week. So hold on to your hats for what’s in store, folks, and happy reading!