Running for Governor by Mark Twain

Running for Governor: Twain, Mark: 9781523289370: Amazon.com: Books

“Running for Governor” is a unique artistic work, a special genre between satire and short story. While a novel should be about character and plot, “Running for Governor” doesn’t focus on character or plot, but describes a bunch of cleverly arranged news stories and interspersed commentary. In that sense, it’s like a funny story, or a satirical essay. However, it is different from the general satirical sketch, because although it does not focus on depicting the character, it cannot be said that it does not show the character at all. It runs through the process of the emotional change and awakening of a character “I”.

Aesthetically, humor and satire belong to comedy. When something that is intrinsically ugly takes the form of something that is good and just; or, on the other hand, when something essentially good is expressed in some harmless form which is not in harmony with its essence, it tends to have a comedic effect — the former may be satirical and ridiculous, the latter humorous and ridiculous. “Running for Governor” is based on this contradictory principle of content and form, and adopts hyperbole to create a comic effect.

As a master of critical realism, the artistic feature of Mark Twain’s writing is based on his profound insight into the various social conditions and human affairs of capitalism. The sharp point of criticism directly points to the hypocrisy and ugly soul of capitalism. The irony in language is the most outstanding feature of “Running for Governor”. As for the use of language, Mark Twain is not impatient, but slowly, through vivid and delicate brushwork to show the subtle changes and contrasts in the text incisively and vividly.

-Coreen C.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm is an allegorical novel by George Orwell that tells the story of the Russian Revolution through farm animals. At first glance, the book is nothing more than a fairy tail, but behind this façade is the barely concealed rage from Orwell, who grew disillusioned with the ideals of communism after watching how its system of government played out for Russia. The book follows Joseph Stalin’s rise to power as a dictator in a society that, in theory, was supposed to be shared among all of the working class. In spite of the cruel treatment that the ruling class dishes out to them, the working class remains oblivious of the freedoms being stripped from them until it is too late to fight back against it.

As I mentioned before, the book is about Stalin’s rise to power. However, the story is about animals. So, which animal represents Stalin? Finding out is half of the fun of reading the book. With minimal knowledge about the Russian Revolution, you can deduce which animal represents each political figure or societal class, as well as which events in the book represent major turning points in Russia’s history.

When reading Animal Farm, I could not help but be in awe of how flawlessly Orwell seamed each historical event into the book. Every turn of the page brings new excitement, and I found myself actually getting emotional throughout some points in the story. It is a strange experience to watch as a group of people, or “animals”, slowly become oppressed by a government that they thought would save them from their oppressors. Whether this cycle of power is told through the eyes of animals or humans, the disturbances that it can cause can shape the course of history, as we have seen it do time and time again. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys history, or simply wants a read that will make them think.

-Mirabella S., 9th grade

Animal Farm by George Orwell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Hoopla.