Sunday, April 29, 2012

i found animal farm in the book sematary

last week i was able to drop by my favorite second hand book store which i fondly call the book sematary.  this is where i spend my free time rummaging through their second hand book shelves for titles that i longed to have in my possession.  a lot of people now are turning in their hardbound and paperback copies since they have already these electronic copies which do not occupy physical space.  so there is really a great chance of getting physical copies of books at very, very reduced prices.  of course, many of these books are well-worn, but for me, this condition adds more to the value of the books knowing fairly well that, like good soldiers, these have served their purpose.

well, i was lucky to find these great titles at the book sematary for only seventeen pesos each -- fantastic mr fox by roald dahl, the picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde, and animal farm by george orwell.  their regular prices at the book stores range from two hundred fifty to three hundred pesos.  i was particularly elated to find animal farm because this will complement that other book i have by mr. orwell, 1984

at home, i immediately immersed myself reading animal farm.  i guessed it took me a total of 24 hours to finish this.  basically, the story is about a revolt by the animals on a farm and their taking over the responsibility of maintaining it and its businesses.  it was the only farm owned and managed by animals.  and the animals hoped that what they did in their farm will catch on and inspire other animals in other farms to stage their own revolutions.

this is a great satire and i must admit, for me, this is a precursor to orwell's 1984, which is his excellent commentary on human bondage and man's inherent quest for freedom.  i greatly admire orwell's deep understanding of our foibles and weaknesses, most especially greed or avarice, and how this drives us to disunity and failure.  in animal farm, orwell showcased layers of animal society.  the pigs, owing to their, superior intelligence, immediately and automatically, were designated the leaders, supervisors, administrators, and planners for the farm.  they regaled the other animals with their eloquence, their command of words, their power of persuasion, so that they were bequeathed these positions of power. of course, they promised of equality and prosperity and good life for everyone. yet, this was easier said than done.  the pigs succumbed to their character weaknesses much as we humans do.

in the final paragraphs of the novel, the other animals of the farm, sad, dejected, frustrated, helplessly looked as the pigs and humans partied and schemed.  orwell wrote --

"no question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs.  the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

this was written between november 1943 and february 1944.  much time had passed since then. many revolutions in many parts of the world had taken place. some failed, some succeeded.  in the philippines alone, we have had two successful peaceful change of leadership and authority. yet, for me, in my humble observation, orwell's words still ring true.  nothing much had changed.  the mass of us still longs for equality and good life. 

eloquence will not do much. only sincere, honest, good governance and concrete deeds will. 


Bani Malhotra said...

ah i like Animal Farm too! been ages i read it... i'll probably read it again! Glad to hear that you're adding more treasure to your library,that's what my friends and i have been doing this side too! =)

sito saguid said...

hah, you've hit the right word there, bani! treasures!. yes, these are what these books are. and pretty soon kahlil gibran will be joining these other master wordsmiths that i am communing with.

Christopher Dos Santos said...

Namaste brother; great books all three. I read animal farm when I was twelve years old. It was the first really powerful book I had ever read and started me on the path to critical thinking.

I love the metaphor, command and control Orwell exposes in his prose. He was truly a genius.

In Lak' ech, prosper in love...

sito saguid said...

yes dear brother,orwell has hit it spot on. it's just my sad lament that whenever changes of leadership occur, the new leaders cannot live up to their promises and somehow fall, themselves, for the very negative attitudes that those they replaced with had. and so the cycle of bad governance goes on and on ..