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Animal Farm

A couple of days ago, I forced myself to read animal farm (a decision I deeply regret, I must say). Now, I don't mean to offend anyone - I'm certain there are those of you out there who think that George Orwell is the best thing since sliced bread - but I, personally, didn't think it was all that great.

First of all - and this is the one thing I hated the most - the book doesn't end well. I mean, quite frankly, I was hoping that it would end with the regime of the pigs being ended. Instead, the book ends with the pigs turning into humans. Now call me choosy if you must, but when I read a book, I like to end it feeling happy. My problem with Animal Farm isn't so much that it ends sadly than that it ends without a sense of completion. At the end of nearly every book I've read, I've felt that, if nothing else, I've actually finished a book. With Animal Farm, that never happened. I felt like there was a large blank space at the end of the book that no one had ever bothered to fill. And I don't like that.

Along with that comes the fact that there's no real sense of progression or decay in the book. It seems to be rapid jumps from one stage of tyranny to the next. For instance, for several years the pigs remain on four legs, do not wear clothes and do not allow humans onto the farm. All of a sudden, almost at random, the pigs suddenly start wearing clothes, teach themselves to walk on two legs and become extremely pally with the humans. Napoleon, one of the pigs, even learns to cheat at card games. All of this strikes me as being a tad unlikely, even in a fable. For reasons beyond my (admittedly meager) grasp of my psychology, it bothers me.

Then there is the animal's memory. The animals seem to have almost no memory - even the relatively clever ones, like the horses. Within mere months, they forget what life was like when they were being treated so poorly by the original owner of the farm. Also, they are so easily hoodwinked. I can understand the sheep being taken in, being the poor, woolly-headed (get it?) creatures that they are, but not the rest of them. The horses, excluding Boxer, might not be the pinnacle of intelligence, but they are obviously not fools. The ease with which the pigs manage to convince them that life is better on the farm than it used to be strikes me as being rather unlikely.

I think I'd have enjoyed the book had it been written later - after the collapse of the Soviet Union, for instance. Had that been the case, the end probably would have been the overthrowing of the tyrannical pigs. Of course, it is a rather predictable end, but if nothing else, it gives you the satisfaction of feeling like you've actually finished a book. To all of you who understand Hindi out there:

"Agar end me sab kuch theek nahin hua, toh picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost!"

Comments

  1. Very well written Ritwik! I did not enjoy this book too when I studied it in school!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ritvik, proud of you son!! Extremely well written, and superb choice of words!
    Keep blogging! ! And to wind up, the last sentence in Hindi, " Yeh dil maange more from you"!
    Cheers!!

    ReplyDelete

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