Tag: animal farm

Were These Books Fairly Banned?

Why is it that the most philosophical books are often the most controversial?

Literature that makes audiences question the basic fabric of society is known to be the most profound. Questioning our current atmosphere is what allows humanity to develop intellectually. Yet, it’s only normal for people to fear the questioning of society, as history shows that it frequently leads to change.

There are a few books that come to mind that pose an abundance of deep, philosophical questions. Yet, institutions around the world, from school curriculums to entire nations, have banned them for various reasons. Granted, these books are filled with content not usually suitable for adolescents, but in the right context with teachers who know the right way to communicate these topics to their students, they can have an incredible impact.

These are some of the most famous controversial books that have also been banned in a few areas.



Animal Farm


Image Via Amazon
Author: George Orwell

The famous novella about the corruption of socialist ideals in the Soviet Union was, of course, banned in the Stalinist USSR. Its position as a banned book has lasted far beyond the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s still banned in North Korea and Cuba for similar reasons as to why it was banned in the Soviet Union. Strangely enough, it was even banned in the United Arab Emirates for portraying a talking pig, which was seen as conflicting with Islamic ideas.


The Color Purple


Image Via Wikipedia
Author: Alice Walker

Although this book has received both the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, it has continually been confronted and banned for it’s highly controversial content, such as social and sexual explicitness. Although the novel does consist of abuse and sexual assault, it’s a central part of the narrative, and it is what makes the book so genuine. In spite of all the controversies, however, the book was adapted into a movie in 1985, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.


The Catcher in the Rye


Image Via Amazon
Author: JD Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is a unique novel in that it is one of the most frequently banned books, yet one of the most taught throughout American schools. The book is banned because it depicts teenage rebellion, and its portrayal of debauchery, drinking, and defiance. Yet, defenders of the novel see it as the pinnacle of the frustrations and mental dilemmas of the teenage years. The protagonist Holden Caulfield depicts genuine thoughts of the loss of authenticity as we get older, and has become an integral part of English curriculums around the world.


American Psycho


Image Via Goodreads
Author: Bret Easton Ellis

This book centers around an unstable investment banker who describes his daily activities, such as taking drugs and going to nightclubs. It soon becomes clear that he is mentally unstable, thus making him an unreliable narrator. Though the book does develop into more of a satire, there is a lot of graphic detail of murder, rape, and cannibalism. It’s no wonder that the book is banned in various areas. According to ABC News, the book cannot be sold to anyone under the age of eighteen in Australia. American Psycho was also highly denounced by feminist activist Gloria Steinem for portraying violence towards women.


What do you guys think? Have these books been fairly criticized? Let us know in the comments!



Featured Image Via The Movie Database

George Orwell photograph over green background

70 Years Later, British Council Apologizes for George Orwell Rejection

If you’re into easy little phrases with all the emotional depths of a greeting card condolence, you might’ve heard or used the phrase ‘it’s never too late to apologize.’ Here’s the question: is this truism actually true? Is it really never too late—even if the person’s dead? We’d ask George Orwell whether this widely held assumption applied to a recent apology he received, but he’s not exactly available for commentary.


George Orwell

Image Via George Orwell Biography


In 1946, the British Council commissioned Orwell to write an essay on the country’s cuisine in an attempt to spread British culture throughout the world (because, apparently, the empire hadn’t already done the job). When Orwell wrote the essay he was paid for, the organization declined the publication. By this point, Orwell was already a novelist of some acclaim, having published Animal Farm the year prior. The man wasn’t J.K. Rowling—no bizarre allegorical theme park—but he was not a man to spurn. Unfortunately for Orwell, there was the matter of the stringent food rations in the U.K. at the time, and the audience was hungry for everything but culinary content. The Council informed Orwell of their concerns… and the rejection:

I am so sorry such a seemingly stupid situation has arisen with your manuscript [due to] doubts on such a treatment of the painful subject of Food in these times. Apart from one or two minor criticisms, I think it is excellent, [but] it would be unfortunate and unwise to publish it for the continental reader.

While the Council may not have had the foresight not to commission the essay, they had the hindsight to issue a formal apology. “Over seventy years later,” began editor Alasdair Donaldson in his official statement, “the British Council is delighted to make amends for its slight on perhaps the UK’s greatest political writer of the 20th century, by reproducing the original essay in full.” You can check it out here or continue reading for the highlights.


Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding, for all the Americans imagining a VANILLA SNACK PACK
Image Via BBC


The essay includes many of Orwell’s own recipes so that you can live like the artist himself… without the tuberculosis. Of course, just because he’s a literary genius doesn’t mean he’s a genius in the kitchen. (Orwell’s editor said of his orange marmalade: “bad recipe; too much sugar and water!”) After dropping some other recipes for plum cake and pudding, he moves onto what might be some passive-aggression towards the British diet. “British people… combine sugar with meat,” he observes delicately, “in a way that is seldom seen elsewhere.”

Below, we’ve included the infamous marmalade recipe. Try it for yourself to see if Orwell really was a man of taste.


Orwell's orange marmalade recipe

Image Via Flickr



  • 2 seville oranges
  • 2 sweet oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 3.6kg of preserving sugar
  • 4.5 litres of water

Wash and dry the fruit. Halve them and squeeze out the juice. Remove some of the pith, then shred the fruit finely. Tie the pips in a muslin bag. Put the strained juice, rind and pips into the water and soak for 48 hours. Place in a large pan and simmer for an hour and a half until the rind is tender. Leave to stand overnight, then add the sugar and let it dissolve before bringing to the boil. Boil rapidly until a little of the mixture will set into a jelly when placed on a cold plate. Pour into jars which have been heated beforehand and cover with paper covers.


Featured Image Via School of Life on YouTube

animal farm

George Orwell’s Iconic Novella ‘Animal Farm’ Acquired by Netflix

George Orwell’s beloved dystopian, Animal Farm, is coming to the small screen. Netflix has bought Andy Serkis’ feature film adaptation of Animal Farm and will work with the director-producer to develop it.



Director Andy Serkis, who may be familiar due to his recent role in Black Panther, acquired the rights to Animal Farm in 2012 with the intention of adapting it into a TV series. Since then he’s been looking for a home for the series and has finally found one in Netflix, though it will air as a film instead of a series. Serkis will produce it alongside Matt Reeves, Rafi Crohn, Adam Kassan, and Jonathan Cavendish.


Getty Images

Andy Serkis | Image Via Getty Images


Serkis commented that Netflix is the “perfect creative home” for Orwell’s dystopian story. The successful media provider is certainly known for being a home to many successful dystopian and sci-fi series, including Black Mirror. With the success of Black Mirror and the overall popularity of Orwell’s classic novella, it’s no surprise that Netflix had jumped on board. 


In an age in which equality is at the forefront of public discourse, now is as good a time as any for an adaptation of Animal Farm to hit screens and the producers are very much aware of that.


Cavendish told Deadline that the producers intend to approach the adaptation in a “contemporary fashion” which will, “highlight the staggering relevance today of the satirical and dramatic power of Orwell’s re-imagined classic.”



Featured Image Via ‘Kantipur’

George Orwell

10 George Orwell Quotes That’ll Make You Question Everything

It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.


When George Orwell published his iconic novel 1984, also known as Nineteen Eighty-Four, he used that opening line to invite readers to question everything. Question the existence of life. Question the gaze put upon them at any waking moment. Question the normalcy of a potentially fictional reality. Orwell’s dystopian novel blurred the lines between fiction and reality.


A cultural phenomenon since its release in 1949, the cultural impact and relevance of 1984 has only grown as time’s gone on. In the wake of recent political upheaval and social turmoil occurring around the globe, particularly in the United States, the novel has become a best-seller once again. These quotes will show you why. Here are 10 Orwell quotes from 1984 that will have you questioning everything.



Image courtesy of ‘Lesley Barnes’


1. “Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one.”


2. “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”


3. “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”


4. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”


5. “Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”



Image Courtesy of ‘Wake Up World’


6. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”


7. “The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.”


8. “Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”


9. “We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”


10. “Big Brother is Watching You.”




Feature Image Courtesy of ‘Her Campus’.

tablet laptop unsplash taras shypka

China Bans the Letter ‘N’ in Censorship Crackdown

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently moved to abolish presidential term limits in China, meaning that he could effectively remain the country’s leader for the remainder of his life. The move has understandably been met with much criticism from both within China and internationally. In response to this, the president has had censorship authorities crack down on online critiquing of his proposed constitution change. 


The Guardian notes that according to a list compiled by the China Digital Times website, the following search terms blocked on Weibo, China’s Twitter, were:


  • ‘Ten thousand years’ (万岁), which is China’s way of saying: ‘Long live!’ or ‘Viva!’
  • ‘Disagree’ (不同意)
  • ‘Xi Zedong’ (习泽东) – a hybrid of the names of Xi and Chairman Mao Zedong
  • ‘Shameless’ (不要脸)
  • ‘Lifelong’ (终身)
  • ‘Personality cult’ (个人崇拜)
  • ‘Emigrate (移民)
  • ‘Immortality’ (长生不老)


Mention of George Orwell’s novels Animal Farm and 1984 was also banned, along with the name Yuan Shikai, who was a Qing dynasty warlord who unsuccessfully tried to restore a monarchy in China. 


While it’s easy to see why these terms may have been banned, it is less apparent where the letter ‘N’ fits in. Victor Maire, the University of Pennsylvania China expert has suggested that it was banned “probably out of fear on the part of the government that ‘N’ = ‘n terms in office’, where possibly n > 2.”


Beijing accused the West of acting ‘hysterically’ to the proposed changes. 


Featured Image Via Taras Shypka on Unsplash