02 May 2011

Book 19 of 2011

After devoting a good portion to reading on Sunday, I finished this today during SSR.

Animal Farm: Centennial Edition

19) Animal Farm by George Orwell
It's an old, allegorical story that many people know by now: animals rise up against their human oppressors with the goal of establishing equality for all except that things don't quite work out that way.

My goal in rereading this was to annotate a new copy. Ms. Windt and I will be taking over the Frosh Honors classes next year, which provided us with a great opportunity to change some of the curriculum around. Instead of having students read Lord of the Flies, we opted for Orwell's tale of revolution gone horribly wrong, which will dovetail nicely into our first semester reading of Fahrenheit 451. This is a book that I could finish in an afternoon, but I was laser focused on making sure to highlight the important lines and note the thematic elements throughout, so it took me three days instead. Also, if you're into that sort of annotating thing, this is a great edition for it. The margins are wide and the print is even spaced out well to allow for liberal handwriting and underlining.

The essay at the beginning of this edition stands out and makes some excellent points about Mollie, a character I tend to forget about when I get to the later chapters. As for the book itself, I'm torn as to how to properly discuss it here, since I plan to go over it with next year's freshman. To overly analyze it may unduly influence them into parroting my views as opposed to coming up with their own take. Also, that might just be my own arrogance coming into play. I'm torn, you see, since I've never taught an honors class before and my biggest goal is to not completely screw it all up.

I will say this, though: my biggest complaint is that the book is very on the nose. But don't we need some things to be on the nose? There's very little one can mistake about the book: the roles everyone plays are very clear and the allegory for the Russian Revolution even moreso if anyone has a bit of history under their belt. I'm looking forward to teaching this and I hope the students really take the time to give it a proper read because it's probably the easiest book they'll be assigned all year.

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