Books Magazine

Four Legs Good - Thanks, George

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Four Legs Good - Thanks, George
“Four legs good, two legs bad.”
Later, “Four legs good, two legs better.”
  An unwelcoming, imposing secondary school full of strangers in a small, unfamiliar town. I was a reluctant new girl wearing the uniform of my old school, being stared at, but not spoken to. I kept silent and avoided eye-contact. I was in an English class faced with an impossible task from a flustered and unfriendly teacher.
“Write a review of Animal Farm. Remember what we discussed about Russia,” she barked. She had her back to the class as she chalked something on the board. I approached her, close enough to explain that I was new and I hadn’t read the book.
“Do the best you can.” She didn’t even glance my way.
It wasn’t the first time I’d encountered differences in the curriculum between the education departments of Lancashire and Cheshire County Councils. This time it concerned work I’d done in preparation for my ‘O’ levels and which might now be wasted, leaving me faced with a great deal of catching up to do. It was another good reason to leave school, if only I could persuade my father.
I did as I was asked. I wrote an essay explaining that I hadn’t read Animal Farm, nor did I intend to as a book about talking animals taking over a farm was far-fetched and of no interest to me. The essay got me into trouble with my English teacher. She seemed to take my opinions personally and she accused me of not knowing what I was talking about. That was ridiculous. Surely I was entitled to speak my mind about why a book remained unread and was unappealing to me?
I knew everything when I was fifteen and rebelled against anything and everything. I was a stroppy, cocky madam. I was also a square peg in a round hole, uprooted from everything I knew and cared for and put in a place I had absolutely no interest of embracing or making my home. Luckily for me, the move was a bad one for the whole family and we came back after a few months.
I am so embarrassed now by what I did then, especially because I’ve come to love George Orwell’s work. I share his politics. He was a genius author. His novels explain socialism and why it matters. He died too young with probably more to say but he left an important legacy.   It can only be this poem,   Comrade Napoleon  (from Animal Farm by George Orwell)   Friend of fatherless! Fountain of happiness! Lord of the swill-bucket! Oh, how my soul is on Fire when I gaze at thy Calm and commanding eye, Like the sun in the sky, Comrade Napoleon!   Thou art the giver of All that thy creatures love, Full belly twice a day, clean straw to roll upon; Every beast great or small Sleeps at peace in his stall, Thou watchest over all Comrade Napoleon!   Had I a sucking pig, Ere he had grown as big Even as a pint bottle or as a rolling pin, He should have learned to be Faithful and true to thee, Yes, his first squeal should be "Comrade Napoleon!"   George Orwell (1903 - 1950)     Thanks for reading, Pam x Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog