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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Animal Farm by George Orwell 
14th-Jul-2006 01:38 pm
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Another of those "great novels" that, until now, I've only read in part but that everyone else seems to have read in full.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. 1945. New York: Everyman's Library, 1993.
Summary: The animals of Manor Farm overthrow farmer Jones and set up their own farming collective Animal Farm. Unfortunately, the pigs, led by Napoleon, take over and instead institute a totalitarian government as bad (if not worse) than the human reign it replaced.
Comments: A classic, allegorical criticism of the Soviet Union during WWII that is often--and wrongly--taken to be a blanket criticism of communism. Not so. What Orwell had a problem with were dictators and totalitarian governments that use socialism and/or communism to justify their unjust and unjustifiable existences. Contemporary readers might find similarities to the Animal Farm and, say, North Korea and laud his foresight, but the fact of the matter is that the regime there might well be taking its moves from Orwell's own playbook. Otherwise, this a perfectly paced and structured little tale...almost TOO perfect, to be honest--it reads like a textbook, armchair application of Marxist theory, not genuine experience with practical issues of worker rights and revolts. Which make me wonder if Orwell was in fact doing exactly what he accused the British middle class of--playing leftist while holding one's nose.
Notes: hardcover, Everyman's Library edition
Rating: 7/10 - Though I suspect that this novel is only considered as "great" as it is because white men are the taste-makers, it's still a worthwhile quick read, whether judiciously excerpted or in full.
Comments 
15th-Jul-2006 02:53 am (UTC)
it reads like a textbook, armchair application of Marxist theory, not genuine experience with practical issues of worker rights and revolts.

Orwell did fight in the Spanish Civil War on the anarchist side. So he was certainly no armchair leftist. Homage to Catalonia is his classic account of that experience.
15th-Jul-2006 02:57 am (UTC)
that is often--and wrongly--taken to be a blanket criticism of communism. Not so.

You're quite right of course. Orwell remained a socialist. His target was totalitarianism and social control by thought control. His criticisms of Soviet Russia apply equally well to Bush's America. Calling a bill to restrict freedom the Patriot Act is so Orwellian!
15th-Jul-2006 03:16 am (UTC)
*nods* Though I think the whole Saddam = Al Queda = 9/11 switch-er-roo that the Bush administration pulled was more Orwellian still. Or the state of perpetual war therefore perpetual sacrifice.
15th-Jul-2006 03:37 am (UTC)
Oh yes! Most of Bush's policies are straight out of Orwell.
15th-Jul-2006 03:44 am (UTC)
If you REALLY want Orwellian, though, read press releases out of North Korea. One of my favorites was something along the lines of: "How resourceful our military is! They carted timber to build their fort without using any vehicles whatsoever!"
15th-Jul-2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
Heh, reminds me that one event where a woman told Bush she had to work three jobs in order to pay her bills, and he tried to turn it into an example of what a wonderful land of opportunity America is, where someone can actually find THREE JOBS!! >_< I think ALL politicians study Orwell...
1st-Aug-2006 04:30 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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