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Helen MacInnes
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Laura Joh Rowland

Animal Farm

Animal Farm - George Orwell,  Ralph Cosham I am certain that there was a time in my life when I would have found Animal Farm to be a fantastic piece of literature. Well, it is a fantastic piece of literature, so let me rephrase that. There was a time in my life when this piece of literature would have truly affected me. The thing is, though, that like Benjamin, I've lived long enough now that I've learned that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I've lived long enough to see that there are always going to be dictators and fascists that build up cults of personality and become the embodiment of the very tyranny that they are supposedly bulwarks against.

If I had read Animal Farm when I was in high school or in my early 20s, back before I really knew this stuff, or back when the Cold War was still in full swing, I'd have probably been completely blown away by the powerful, well written allegory in the book. As I listened to Animal Farm now, though, I appreciated the allegory, but observed it with knowledge gained through age that time eventually washes everything away. States rise and fall, dictators emerge and die, revolutions are born and then fade. I was able to read Animal Farm with the knowledge that Napoleon and his cadre of pigs and dogs were destined to someday fall to dust, too, and that knowledge made the book much less chilling to me than it may have once been to my younger self.