Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Among the animal revolutionaries

Having enjoyed "COMING UP FOR AIR" earlier this spring, I decided now is a good time to reacquaint myself with the other masterpieces of GEORGE ORWELL.
I began re-reading "ANIMAL FARM" today, the first time I have picked up the book in years.
Early on, Orwell's powerful writing surfaces, in the opening speech by the revolutionary boar, OLD MAJOR.
Speaking before the assembled animals of the Manor Farm, Old Major identifies Man as their common enemy -- the reason the animals live under the brutal oppression of the barnyard.
Old Major notes the inequality of their lives under the yoke of Man:
"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin."
The cows' milk is sold, the hens' eggs are sold and even the mare's foals are commoditized before the end of their first year.
"Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race!"
I look forward to revisiting the writings of Orwell in this fabulous book, a novel with the well-earned "classic" tag.
I'll be keeping a wary eye on our pets, though, because you never know where the next Napoleon might be lurking.


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