120spacer.gif (56 bytes) Animal Farm Background:

Animal Farm, by George Orwell, is an allegory. (Find out about allegories at the poetry sites.)

Read carefully AFTER you are familiar with the thinking skill modules (elsewhere on the site). Reading the text before learning to think may cause a lot of what is available to filter through the mental sifter unintentionally.

The story of Animal Farm reflects the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. The Bolshevik Revolution was, truly, the "Shot heard Round the World", notwithstanding the peculiar, self-absorbed viewpoint of our American cousins, about the killing of their President John Kennedy). the shot was truly a gunshot, fired from the Russian Cruiser Aurora in St. Petersburg Harbor, to signal the start of the uprising. This saw the beginning of one of the two greatest social experiments of the 20th. Century, Communism (building on the ideas and ideals of Karl Marx).

(The other great social experiments was Apartheid, in South Africa. It, too, has been a failure, and ended as ignominiously as it began, with the freeing of Nelson Mandela from prison and the subsequent enfranchisement of all persons.)

Both of these social experiments were failures because they denied, each in their own way, a core value of what it is to be human: the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia tried to put the damper on creativity and personal expression, and Apartheid tried to segregate people into classes based on the color of their skin.

As you read Animal Farm, look for the changes in behaviour of the pigs, the uses of propaganda and the creation of a class structure where (ideally) there should have been none. The rules change. The condition of the animals changes. And the animals, who could have been the winners, lose all because of naive trust, greed and corruption.

Doesn’t some of this sound sadly similar to what is still going on in the world? Analyse your own situation in this light. How do you fare?

You may also contact me directly at martin@aller-stead.com