[Marxism] What's a good novel for 13-14 year olds?

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 16 18:58:05 MDT 2012

I would swear we had this debate about "Lord of the Flies" before, but let
me raise again my qualifications to what's already been said.
I take Golding like I take Dostoevsky: both of them may be completely
pessimistic and therefore wrong about human nature (or to be more precise
they don't realize there is no such inherent thing) -- but their brilliance
lies in portraying the worst aspects of humanity which modern society
brings out.
Because when I read -- and re-read and re-read - "Lord of the Flies," I
took it as portraying brutish little elitist thugs who had been  socialized
into being such, and now here they were in a situation bound to draw out
the worst of their mistraining.
Rebecca Solnit has done us all a huge favor by showing how in disaster
situations working people tend to display their best and to act
collectively when at all possible. But ironically Golding (and Dostoevsky)
help us understand why that doesn't happen in our society more often.
As for "Animal Farm": yes, an antiCommunist (not anticommunist) fable. But
it sets one up for an understanding of how a revolution could be betrayed.
I emphasize ONLY "sets one up." Because after reading it and 1984, I was
shocked to read in the publisher's inner cover capsule bio that Orwell was
a socialist. I remember distinctly saying to myself "huh? how could that
And that all sorted itself out later in my mind, but reading both novels

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