Animal Farm is one of those books that people complain about having had to read in high school. I’m not one of those people. First of all, I don’t complain about reading it. And, my high school didn’t require it, so had to discover it on my own in college. I’ve read it probably ten times, and I keep it on my shelf of favorite books.
Books with happy endings are the ones I tend to read. This is an exception. It’s a simple story about a complex situation: the corruption of government and the loss of freedom by degrees. Whenever someone says, “I can do what I want. It’s a free country”, I think about Animal Farm. What is the extent of our freedom? Is it the same as it was ten years ago? Have we noticed when changes were made? It is likely that we felt, as the animals did, a vague uneasiness when something that used to be free now cost money, but we moved on with life and soon forgot about it. Some free countries are more free than others.
As our “Comrade Napoleon” dumps the resources of the farm into the building of “the Windmill”, what will be the final cost? Will it be worth the effort and expense? Who will benefit? The pigs always had compelling reasons for doing what they did, but the results always turned out in their favor. Strange how that happens. The message of Animal Farm is short, if not sweet… and very powerful.