>windy with a chance of classic literature

>It’s a good thing I did yard work two days ago and little more yesterday. Today it is much cooler and quite windy. That means the silver maple in the neighbor’s yard has dropped a fresh blanket of leaves to cover the ground that I raked yesterday. It also means that our backyard swing has fallen over. This only happens on the windiest of days, and it may be a sign that we should tuck it away in a safe corner and cover it for winter. It’s a good thing Amigo and I read outside in the swing yesterday; it’s not upright today!
Amigo is reading Animal Farm in school. I remember reading this book back in the days (yes, waaaay back) when this novel was considered a clear symbol of the evil Soviet Union, the big bad Russian empire. Amigo and his contemporaries were born well after the Iron Curtain fell; their perspective is limited, if not completely different from ours. His generation (and La Petite’s, for that matter) doesn’t remember the Cold War, the boycotts of the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, or the incredible hockey game in 1980. Yes, both saw the movie Miracle, but I felt obligated to give them background on internation relations of the time. It was a good movie on its own merits, but I truly believe that those of us who lived through that time better understood the value of an amateur hockey team beating those raised to the game through the Soviet system.
So Animal Farm is still standard curriculum for high school freshman. The novel has value as a story, as satire, as a good piece of literature. But without an understanding of the world as it was in Orwell’s time, can any young teen really understand it? The analogies, the metaphors, the totalitarianism illustrated in the story line, require background knowledge before any reader can fully understand.

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