“All Animals Are Equal”

Animal Farm and Warning Signs

Everybody loves 1984. Everybody quotes 1984. Everybody says we are living in 1984. Well, maybe not everybody but sweeping generalizations tend to get attention. There is one thing that most every reader may agree on, 1984 tends to overshadow another Orwell book that is in the same vein, Animal Farm.

Animal Farm is a fan favorite for many readers and it boasts a long list of positive critical reviews but it doesn’t get the attention 1984 does. I wonder if this is due to the novella’s length (many people equate long book with good book), its allegorical structure, or that it doesn’t seem as urgent or isn’t as dystopian as 1984? Maybe its that Animal Farm is a little too straight forward in its storytelling. Orwell is not to subtle in his use of foreshadowing throughout the novella. Animal Farm is loaded with warning signs (hell, the commandments should be written in bright yellows and reds). Readers know bad things are bound to happen and all we can do is go along for the ride.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

1984 may get a lot more glory but that shouldn’t keep you from checking out Animal Farm. If you are looking for something relatively short that will have you thinking long after the last page and is as relevant today as it was when it was published give this Orwell novella a read.

-K-

Animal Farm (1945) by George Orwell

Orwell and the Unperson

The Importance of the Last Chapter of 1984

Considering unpersoned is the current topic of conversation I’m going to address the source, meaning, and an application of the word. The word unperson appears no fewer than five times in George Orwell’s 1984 and is one of those Orwellian words worth a closer look. It has a particular importance in the last chapter of the novel.

An unperson is a nonperson, a person who has no rights, and a person publicly ignored (especially by the government and media). In extreme cases an unperson is an individual Big Brother executes and erases all traces of his/her existence. Now, if you haven’t read 1984 you will want to stop now and hopefully come back after you finish the novel. If you have read the novel, think about Winston at the end of the novel as he whiles away the hours at the Chestnut Tree Café. Winston fits the definition of an unperson. Big Brother has effectively made Winston a nonperson who is entirely reliant on the very government that has destroyed his life. Winston is beholden to Big Brother for his menial government job of no importance, acknowledges that he betrayed Julia after being tortured, and simply moves from one day to the next lost in a drunken fog of Victory Gin. Winston Smith exists but is of no importance, save to possibly serve as a cautionary tale for those who may question the authority of Big Brother.

1984 by George Orwell

The last chapter of 1984 shows the reader the extent of Big Brother’s power. It would have been easy to execute Winston, to make him disappear, and wipe his existence from history. Instead, Big Brother breaks Winston Smith and makes him an unperson. This life of being a nonperson, of being ignored, of being canceled (to use a modern variation) is a much worse fate than death.

-K-

1984 (1949) by George Orwell

George Orwell on Patriotism

“Patriotism has nothing to do with Conservatism.  It is actually the opposite of Conservatism, since it is a devotion to something that is always changing and yet is felt to be mystically the same.”

-George Orwell-

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