I never read this in high school; just as well because I hated history as taught in class. I’m a much better learner when I learn from history enthusiasts in my peer group! Luckily for me, many of my history buff friends are gifted at re-telling historical events in an exciting, accessible way for me. I learned some things from books and school, but I’ve learned the most by listening to my friends and paying attention to historical references in pop culture.
Animal Farm is fascinating to me now, and it makes me wonder about the future of the US which is so painfully divided ideologically right now. Could the Democrat/Republican standoff be a Napoleon and Snowball redux??
I’m only on page 40 so far, but already I have fashioned a history-through-literature course for myself out of reading Animal Farm. My interest in the animal allegory—and my confusion about it, since I didn’t remember the history very well—led me to the Animal Farm SparkNotes, which lays out the history and symbolism pretty clearly.
I don’t believe that we have to learn history from dull, dry textbook accounts. I think it would be a much more effective learning experience if we could learn history through the context of literature and popular culture, which tends to reflect (if not defame, misrepresent and ridicule) the truths of history.
A related link, because it is about hacking one’s education, which I feel I am doing now, as an adult with ever more to learn: a 13-year-old upper-middle class boy gives a TED talk about following his own interests in pursuit of a happier education and lifestyle. It’s a nice idea, but I don’t think it’s truly feasible for the lower socioeconomic classes of students whose resources and support systems are highly unlikely to lend themselves to independent learning. That’s capitalism though, isn’t it? The poorer sector will always be at a disadvantage… needless to say, Animal Farm has also inspired me to learn a little more about Marxism.