Dear George Orwell,
Once upon a time I read your famous book, Animal Farm. I’ll be honest. I only read your book because I thought it was going to be a nice little story about animals living on a farm with a kind owner and maybe a state fair that they attend. But after the second chapter, I wasn’t so sure. This was no Charolette’s Web! I found myself caught in a strange world that I couldn’t quite describe or explain…The strange ideas of a mad man? A statement on the world we live in today? A shocking glimpse of the future? I must say, I’m still a little baffled at what crazy thing gave you the idea to write Animal Farm, but I also have to thank you for writing it, because it helped me stand by what I knew was right in times of struggle.
They were all being pigs. They weren’t rolling around in mud or eating slop or anything like that, but they were acting like animals living on an animal farm because of their bullying. I saw them do it almost every day. I saw them giggling behind her back and looking her up and down when she walked by. I heard them make fun of the things she wore saying, “Why are you wearing that?” They would purposely not pick her in games during soccer; then rub it in her face saying, “We don’t want you!” When she sat near the back of the bus and listened to music on her phone, they would taunt and tease saying, “Nobody likes that music. It’s lame.” The way they judged the girl as less than they were because of the clothes she wore or the music she liked infuriated me. To be completely honest, sometimes I wanted to pound those girls all the way to Animal Farm and back! But I kept trying to tell myself that they were probably bullying because something bad was happening in their own life and bullying others made them feel important and above the rest.
One day at soccer practice I was standing at the goal post and the bullies walked up to me. They began to talk bad about the girl. “She’s not a good student or athlete, and she’s always talking bad about others.” they told me. I stood there listening to these bullies making fun of this girl for things they were doing themselves! Although I wasn’t friends with this girl, I was one more comment away from picking up the nearest set of legs and chucking them halfway across the field when something hit me…I remembered a book I had read the year before. Your book.
I don’t know why that hit me then and there. The only thing I thought of your book at that point was a crazy old man’s story that I didn’t quite understand. Suddenly I remembered Napolean, the pig. In your story he got rid of his dictator Farmer Jones by becoming a dictator. He became the very problem that he fought to fix. I remembered how much I hated the ending of your book. A lot of the books I like to read have nice little endings, but yours was no ride off into the sunset! Incredulously I saw myself in your words. I was Napolean, about to become the very problem I hated. I suddenly realized that my story would end the same way if I acted like Napolean.
Napolean reminded me of how the pilgrims fled to escape religious persecution, but then turned around and became the very persecuters they had despised! I was a pilgrim about to persecute those who persecuted others. Then it hit me. We can all be like pigs and pilgrims sometimes. After Hitler had judged so many people less than himself just because they were different, we should have learned our lesson. But still we judge people by what college they go or don’t go to. We judge people by if they’re a laboring worker or not. We judge people who aren’t up to the latest fad in modern technology. We judge people by what they look like or if they have athletic prowess or not. We even judge them by what sports team they may or may not like. We judge people when we don’t like to be judged ourselves.
I realized that I didn’t want to be a pig. If I bullied the bullies, I would be nothing more than a pork chop. So I didn’t just stand there and let them keep bullying, but I didn’t bully them. Because I wouldn’t grow taller if I made them smaller. I put my foot firmly in the grass and said, “Stop it. She isn’t like that. You should look at youselves.” I walked away in silence, leaving three very confused bullies behind me. The next time I was on the bus, I heard a familiar bully’s voice near the back saying, “Sit somewhere else. Nobody wants to sit with you.” So I got up, marched to the back of the bus, took the crying girl’s hand and said good and loud, “Come on and sit up near the front of the bus with me. I want to sit with you.”
Thank you for giving my story a happy ending. Your book means many things to many different people, but to me it’s a story of ourselves, and the true ending is up to us. I used to think you were just a crazy old man with crazy ideas, but now I agree with you. WE can’t solve a problem by becoming that problem, and we can’t put ourselves higher than others. We’ll never live happily ever after if we think like that. Now I know how to react the right way to people who are bullying. Because of your book I can ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after…the end.
Christine A. Troll