CHICAGO—Speculating that the novella must be relying on “symbolism or something,” the nation’s preeminent literary theorists admitted Tuesday that they still have no clue what George Orwell’s 1945 work Animal Farm is about. “The encroaching influence of technology? Industrialized farming? The unpredictable effects of climate change? Windmills are definitely important, appearing several times in he text, but by and large, my colleagues and I are just grasping at straws,” said University of Chicago professor of English language and literature Donald O’Hare, adding that everyone in his field of study is “utterly baffled” by the book’s oft-quoted line, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” “It’s frustrating, to be certain, as I’ve spent entire semesters teaching it, but I’ve never settled to my own satisfaction whether it’s truly about nature, or animals, or what have you. To be perfectly honest, we all thought it was a nice little barnyard story about getting along in the vein of, like, Charlotte’s Web, but eventually the dark tone and some of the pigs’ complex relationships brought us to realize that something more is probably going on here. But despite hundreds of close analyses and thousands of published papers, we’re not even close to figuring out, say, why the animals stand up at the end.” O’Hare added that the novel, for all its mysterious allure, still doesn’t hold a candle to Orwell’s novel 1984, which he is fairly certain is about pop culture.

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