What's the story with 'Animal Farm'? Understanding political allegory in books

Some books force us to read between the lines.

George Orwell's allegorical novel Animal Farm is one such example.

Read: Why you should rethink your reservations about horror fiction books

Animal Farm is an allegory about the evils of the Russian Revolution.

A political allegory is a story or image that has a hidden political meaning, explains author and academic Chris Thurman.

The literary device can be used to illuminate contemporary politics and has, in the past, been used for religious purposes.

Also read: How historical fiction makes the past come alive (and 12 must-read examples)

Thurman says political allegory can be used as a tool against increased censorship, state surveillance and authoritarian rule.

Allegory is driven by a desire to educate, guide or give instruction.

Chris Thurman, author, arts journalist and associate professor of literature at Wits

Allegory, in different cultural contexts, function as a way of teaching people about abstract ideas by turning them into stories.

Chris Thurman, author, arts journalist and associate professor of literature at Wits

Allegory does fucntion as a way around censorship and a means towards satire.

Chris Thurman, author, arts journalist and associate professor of literature at Wits

The fiction becomes a guise or a veil. Once you've hot the key and code, you can transpose the story back onto the historical reality.

Chris Thurman, author, arts journalist and associate professor of literature at Wits

He decoded the book's allegorical characters and events, making links to politics in post-apartheid South Africa.

Take a listen to engaging discussion during the Literature Corner:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : What's the story with 'Animal Farm'? Understanding political allegory in books


Recommended

by THE NEWSROOM

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

The President's Keepers: PDF version is tantamount to theft - Exclusive Books

A PDF version of the book has been doing the rounds since Sars and the State Security Agency threatened legal action.

Looking for your next read? Book reviewer Andrea van Wyk has a few suggestions

Looking for your next read? Book reviewer Andrea van Wyk has a few suggestions

Need a new book to sink your teeth into? Arts journalist Andrea van Wyk reviews three intriguing titles for book lovers to enjoy.

Looking for a new read? Author and columnist Kate Sidley reviews four books

Looking for a new read? Author and columnist Kate Sidley reviews four books

Author, columnist, and editor Kate Sidley's enticing reviews that may have you running to the nearest bookstore.

Listeners read passages from their favourite books, essays and poems

Listeners read passages from their favourite books, essays and poems

Callers showed appreciation for the written word by reading excerpts on air during the Literature Corner with Eusebius McKaiser.

The must-read exposé on apartheid crimes and how cronies have thrived on secrecy

The must-read exposé on apartheid crimes and how cronies have thrived on secrecy

Author Hennie van Vuuren shares the inside scoop on his revealing book 'Apartheid Guns and Money' and the legacy of looting in SA.

Why you should rethink your reservations about horror fiction books

Why you should rethink your reservations about horror fiction books

Broadcaster and arts journo Karabo Kgoleng explores elements of horror fiction and why the genre has a powerful impact on readers.

8 ways book lovers decided on their next read

8 ways book lovers decided on their next read

After you've finished reading the last page, how to settle the anxiety about which book to read next.

Must-read book titles dropping in 2017

Must-read book titles dropping in 2017

Publishers share their inside scoop on local literary works which are due to drop this year and what we can expect.

Popular articles
I was not introduced to Ajay Gupta - Grootes

I was not introduced to Ajay Gupta - Grootes

Stephen Grootes says he believes former Eskom CEO Brian Dames when said he was not formally introduced to the Gupta family.

Minister Zwane confirms trips to Dubai and Switzerland

Minister Zwane confirms trips to Dubai and Switzerland

EWN parliamentary correspondent Gaye Davis says Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane received detailed and tough questions.

Zweli Mkhize 'taken by surprise' with latest cabinet reshuffle

Zweli Mkhize 'taken by surprise' with latest cabinet reshuffle

The ANC treasurer-general confirmed Mantashe’s comments that the President did not consult the ANC leadership on the reshuffle.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

How to make your first million

How to make your first million

Warren Ingram discusses his new book in which he shares practical ways for ordinary people to achieve financial freedom.

'Collect experiences, NOT possessions!' - Paul Theron (Vestact MD)

'Collect experiences, NOT possessions!' - Paul Theron (Vestact MD)

Bruce Whitfield interviews the razor-sharp tongued Vestact MD Paul Theron about his money hopes, fears, successes, failures, etc.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Meet Errol Musk - father of Elon, the most innovative entrepreneur of our age

Meet Errol Musk - father of Elon, the most innovative entrepreneur of our age

Elon Musk, as you’d expect, hails from an exceptional family. Bruce Whitfield interviews his Capetonian father.