Thursday, April 19, 2012

Animal Farm

Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
List: #17 on Radcliffe’s Top 100 20th Century Novels, #20 on Modern Library Readers’ Top 100 20th Century Novels, #31 on Modern Library Board’s Top 100 20th Century Novels, #46 on BBC Top 100
Worth reading? I guess so, maybe.

When this book is in the top fifty on all four of my lists, and the top twenty of two of them, how can I say it is not worth reading? Maybe the impact of the novel has been lost over time as it has become such a staple of popular culture. I am sure that when it was first published it caused quite the sensation, but now I think I would be hard-pressed to find anyone who is unfamiliar with the story.

And so I am not quite sure what there is left for me to say. Yes, Animal Farm is quite the political allegory. Yes, it should probably be required reading for high school students learning about communist Russia and political revolutions in general. And yes, it has become a classic. But is it really relevant in the twenty-first century? Or for the future? I am not at all sure it is.

I suppose for now, even though the story will not come as a surprise, it may be worth reading just because the book and its theme are so pervasive in modern discourse.

1 comment:

  1. What about if the book is viewed not in relation to communism but to present day America and the current discussion about political elites?