Does anyone else think that banned books shouldnt even be a thing? Not only do we all interpret a character and their motives differently, we visualise them differently – and just because its in a book Im pretty sure we dont read it as an instruction manual.
I remember many years ago a friend was studying for an Englist Literature degree and one of the books they had been tasked to review was written by her father. needless to say she had an advantage when answering the question: What was the author thinking when he wrote this. However, her professor disagreed with her answer and failed her paper. I would ahve loved to be a fly on the wall for that discussion! The paper was eventually reviewed and she did better than well, obviously. But, I think this really does highlight how easy this can be to misinterpret, or wrongly assume what an author really meant, and thats why I dont agree with banned books.
In a world where people complain thay Harry Potter is inappropriate because the spells are used for bad things as well as good, The hunger games is sexually explicit and Twilight has religious connotations we are willing to accept others. Im a big fan of Roald Dahl but I now wonder why Malfoy casting evil spells is bad but locking a kid in the chokey in Matilda is okay? Dont get me wrong I know that James and the Giant Peach and the BFG often pop up on the lists but how does willy wonka not become a villan for enslaving the oompah loompahs and punishing kids who dont follow the chocolate factory rules?
Anyway, This banned books week I picked my copy of Animal Farm for an evening read. For those of you who arent familiar with the story the short version is the animals of the farm decide to take over the farm and evict the humans. All on the back of a pigs premonition. We delve into a world where the cleverer animals take control, strong animals want tp do their bit, not matter the consequence and see how power corrupts. I know most of the issue with orwell books is about the man himself and his views but for a book that has over time been banned in over 125 countries it feels a little underwhelming. The animals rise up and take over. They end up with leaders, who become dictators and eventually become like the farmer was. The only difference is that the animals felt liberated so didnt mind working harder for less, because it was their choice. Almost like the people who homestead. If they lived in the city on the grid they wouldnt do the extra work and possible have less to show for it, but on a homestead you have to. Its survive or die. And generally despite the fact that its harder work, people are happer.
The book runs full circle and its a nice short twisted fairytale, which Im glad penguin continue to publish. Read it or dont…