It is 5:35 in the morning. It is too early to be at school, so I’m sitting at my desk at home. As I type away on my keyboard, I notice my Han Solo action figure standing stolid beside the screen. He is similar to the Batman bobble head that keeps vigil at work. I always liked Han Solo, the rebel with a cool car -in his case, the Millennium Falcon.
Consequently, I woke up this morning thinking about movies. My wife and I drove straight from work yesterday and caught the matinee. We were the only people in the theater, so we sat back with our popcorn and cherry Pepsi and enjoyed the movie "Maleficent". Anyway, I woke this morning thinking about one of the themes of the movie: separation of class.
It was duly interesting to me because in about four hours, I am going to give a quiz to my sophomores, and that is one of the themes on the quiz. To clarify, we are reading the novel "Animal Farm" by George Orwell (also the author of the infamous novel "1984"), and some stringent notes were given yesterday. While giving the notes, I lectured on how while the story is about rebelling animals on an oppressive farm, the novel can and does reflect themes in our current society, themes we should be aware of — and beware of.
Similarly, the movie "Maleficent", like many movies, depicted a separation of different people and a battle for equality and even justice. However, if you impartially viewed the situation in the movie, neither side was villainous. One people wanted freedom and were willing to fight to the death for it. The other wanted to protect what they had built and were also willing to fight for it. Truly, neither side wanted to kill the other, but were manipulated by an immoral leader and an overzealous rebel.
It is a very familiar theme, separation of class. It can be applied on many levels: ethnicity, political parties, rich and poor. In the novel "Animal Farm," it is important to see who is causing the separation from the beginning. In Orwell’s satirical book, it is the lying, manipulative pigs that cause the separation, who, by the way, are symbolic of the Russian political leaders during the time of the Russian Revolutions.
That’s pretty harsh. Orwell is symbolically representing lying, manipulative politicians as lying, manipulative pigs. Anyway, these lying, manipulative pigs were very cunning and had the rest of the populace believing they were doing what was best for everyone. However, the lying, manipulative pigs eventually took the rights away from everyone on the farm, even their opinions. Consequently, this brings about another theme in the book: The dangers of the naïve working class. Although the working class was innocent, they were still guilty of letting the atrocity happen.
You see, in the book, the followers of the lying, manipulative pigs believed in a noble idea that was set forth at the beginning of the book, but the pigs slowly twisted that idea into something it wasn’t. However, the followers were so dedicated to the cause, they were blinded by the lying, manipulative pigs’ words and did not consider the pigs’ actions.
In his novel, Orwell wasn’t truly talking about animals rebelling on a farm, and I’m not truly talking about his novel.
Well, it’s 6:18. As I get up to leave, I look at Han Solo and remember he never wanted to get into the fight with the Empire. He was completely happy being a scoundrel and staying under the radar. However, in the end, he couldn’t help himself.
Brian Theodore is a language arts teacher at Corbin High School and lives in Corbin with his wife, who is also a teacher at CHS. He can be contacted at Theteachersdesk.email@example.com.