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Tag Archives: George Orwell

100 Greatest Novels: Animal Farm

I’ve had this next novel read for a while but have been too busy to write the blog. I’m currently struggling through another damn Henry James novel so who knows when the next one will be up. I have a few other things planned but for now, here’s the next 100 greatest novel:

200px-AnimalFarm_1stEdAnimal Farm by George Orwell

This is an incredible and incredibly quick read. Finish-able in one sitting, George Orwell packs in so much into Animal Farm. If you aren’t familiar with this novel, Animal Farm is an allegorical story of a farm where the animals rise up in revolution against the farmer. Loosely based on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Soviet Union under Stalin, the story follows the animals leading up to their overthrow of the farmer and what subsequently follows as the animals try to run the farm on their own while guarding themselves from attacks from other farmers.

Orwell wanted to novel to read as a kids story or a fairy tell. And he succeeded. The writing is very simple and the story is easy to follow. None of the characters are too layered and you sympathize with the weaker animals. I think this adds a lot to the reading experience for two reasons. If you really don’t care about communism or the Russian Revolution, the story is a fun read without thinking of all that. And yet, if you do want to see Orwell “fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole,” the simple writing gives you plenty of room to infer your own thoughts and ideas about how this relates to Russian history or even current history with many nations.

The best part of the story, the ending, can be seen two ways. Sometimes I read it in more of a historical context with the Soviet Union becoming allies with many western powers. Other times I see it in a broader context, speaking of politicians in general. See for yourself:

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

________

Anyways, while I read through Henry James, here’s a few articles, interviews, and videos that have interested me recently:

Interview with Joy Williams of the Civil Wars about their upcoming album, indefinite hiatus, and Joy and John Paul White not being on speaking terms.

Lou Reed reviews Kanye West’s newest album, Yeezus, with really interesting and somewhat surprising thoughts.

A full video of a Damien Rice concert at a festival in Holland.

 

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100 Greatest Novels: 1984

I haven’t read this book since high school. I always enjoy comparing my thoughts on books when there is that much time in between reads. Then, I was seeing proof that the totalitarian government like in this novel was going to come about at anytime. Now, I don’t believe it as prophetic. The benefit of the novel is to show us what the political ideas of the early 1900s would be like taken to their extreme. What would Nazi Germany or Communist Russia be like if they had complete control over the world, the people, and to an extent, the thoughts of the people?

20121130-083708.jpg1984 follows Winston Smith, a member of the government party that isn’t sold on ingsoc, English Socialism. His antigovernment thoughts becomes little rebellious actions (buying a journal, for example). With telescreens in every room and Thought Police in every crowd to watch and listen to you, Smith can only go so long like this. He already considers himself a dead man. Then he finds love.

As for the world of 1984, there is now 3 countries: Oceania, Euraisa, and Eastaisa. The are perpetually at war with one another. Big Brother is the leader of Oceania and his posters are everywhere with the caption, “Big Brother is Watching.” The motto of Oceania is “WAR IS PEACE, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.” Winstom Smith lives in London, Oceania, and works for the Ministry of Truth. His job: change historic records to fit the needs of the government. Somebody is “disappeared?” They need to be erased from any records, newspapers, everything. Telescreens are in every room and can see and hear everything that you’re doing. Anybody could be an informant of questionable behaviour. Sounds pretty nice, eh? Utopia…

I’m a huge fan of George Orwell’s writing. No matter what topic he is covering, humorous or otherwise, he writes in such a clear, crisp language. He can say so much in so little. He can drag you into any scene with the fewest descriptive words. Whether he’s telling you about the Spanish civil war in Homage to Catalonia or being incredibly poor in Down and Out in London and Paris, he has a powerful ability of storytelling with all the wit, humor, and emotion needed. I recommend picking up any of his books.

1984 is number 13 in the 100 greatest novels. Next, I’m reading I, Claudius by Robert Graves.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2012 in 100 Greatest Novels, Literature

 

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