Friday, March 13, 2009

Animal Farm-Thoughts on Chapter I


So this week we start our "Animal Farm" Book Study.
I hadn't read the book in years and I happened to find it online HERE.
I was so taken by it that I ended up reading the whole thing in almost one sitting!
My perspective has changed so much over the years.
I think I have always been a pretty good judge of character, but as I read the story this time I was able to recognize trends and personalities in the story, that I don't think I would have seen years ago.
For an EXCELLENT commentary go to Mommy Life and see what Barbara has to say.
Here is one excerpt that I was interested in:


Animal Farm - Chapter I by George Orwell
www.george-orwell.org/Animal_Farm/0.html
Note created March 7, 2009 • Last edited March 7, 2009 by jmjr4all@gmail.com
3/7/09

"And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades."

Orwell was such a student of human nature and psychology that his writing seems prophetic, but I think that it just actually brings to our understanding the way most people react in similar circumstances.
I was especially interested in this particular excerpt because it so clearly focuses on the way a "charismatic" leader can make what is known and comfortable seem ugly and undesirable.
It's seems almost predatory. These people can seek out and convince others that they, and they alone, have the answers to a better life. They have the ability to draw others into their sphere of influence and create a sense of legitimacy by simply creating a "circle of believers" that becomes almost self-generating.
The ideas become a philosophy and the following becomes it's own entity.
It is especially dangerous in a population that has not studied or has forgotten human history.
I think Orwell's warnings need to be heeded in every generation.
I think it is possible in every generation and in every place, to fall under the influence of someone who promises a "new" way to move forward.
A better way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your Dad read Animal Farm many years ago. After I get through with the four books I am reading I think I will read it. Did you know that for years part of the password I have used has "1984" in it? Because of Orwell's book "1984", so what's with that?
Hope you are having a really nice visit there with eveyone. Paul must feel very special having cousin time with Lucy and Molly.
Love to you all!
Mom and Dad