Nov 24 2013

Developing sentence lengths for effect and using semi colons- Rewriting animal farm in first person

The text:

All that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their
work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything that
they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who
would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.

Throughout the spring and summer they worked a sixty-hour week, and in
August Napoleon announced that there would be work on Sunday afternoons
as well. This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented
himself from it would have his rations reduced by half. Even so, it was
found necessary to leave certain tasks undone. The harvest was a little
less successful than in the previous year, and two fields which should
have been sown with roots in the early summer were not sown because the
ploughing had not been completed early enough. It was possible to foresee
that the coming winter would be a hard one.

The windmill presented unexpected difficulties. There was a good quarry of
limestone on the farm, and plenty of sand and cement had been found in one
of the outhouses, so that all the materials for building were at hand. But
the problem the animals could not at first solve was how to break up the
stone into pieces of suitable size. There seemed no way of doing this
except with picks and crowbars, which no animal could use, because no
animal could stand on his hind legs. Only after weeks of vain effort did
the right idea occur to somebody-namely, to utilise the force of gravity.
Huge boulders, far too big to be used as they were, were lying all over
the bed of the quarry. The animals lashed ropes round these, and then all
together, cows, horses, sheep, any animal that could lay hold of the
rope–even the pigs sometimes joined in at critical moments–they dragged
them with desperate slowness up the slope to the top of the quarry, where
they were toppled over the edge, to shatter to pieces below. Transporting
the stone when it was once broken was comparatively simple. The horses
carried it off in cart-loads, the sheep dragged single blocks, even Muriel
and Benjamin yoked themselves into an old governess-cart and did their
share. By late summer a sufficient store of stone had accumulated, and
then the building began, under the superintendence of the pigs.

My version:

First person, writing in the style of an animal, the animal that I have
chosen to write in the style of is a sheep, because they are loyal to
Napoleon and I wondered how it would feel like to them, as the usual
story reflects a negative attitude towards Napoleon, and there is a
dramatic irony that you know what they are up to; but in this text you
don’t- anyway here it is:

Throughout the year we worked, like slaves, on shorter supplies than usual;
yet with brighter spirits than one would have had around Jones’ time as we
knew who ran the farm. Each extra effort of hard work put into the year
did not feel as if it were going to waste, but going towards our survival
and the building of the windmill. Or at least that was what I thought it
should have felt, yet all of my fellow comrades felt as if the food that
we were getting was not sufficient enough to get us through the year. Yet
it must have been for Napoleon’s help and planning made sure that we would
finish our work; and a least it was better than it was with Jones in charge.

Working hard was already taking its toll on me, a long week, which at the
end announced a voluntary Sunday afternoon working day. This was all too
much for me. As much as I enjoyed contributing to the windmill, too much
was too much. The really hard workers such as Boxer persisted to
carry out the Sunday work without hesitation. Unfortunately those who did
not carry out the ‘Voluntary’ task would have their rations shortened to
half, so it looked like that was what I would have to do, work. We could
all tell that this winter was going to be rough. Cold. With a lot still
too have done in the year, we were not entirely finished; the harvest not
complete, with two fields not sown with the roots that they were meant to
have. Now my comrades and I would have to settle down for the winter which
was possible to foresee as a hard one.

Our work on the windmill was extremely hard, as the fact that we could not
stand on our hind legs meant that one could not simply carry the stone up from
the quarry to where the windmill was being built. This meant that a task
that should have been easy -as we had the resources on site- was made into
a hard task that took us longer than it would have otherwise. Yet our brainy
pigs thought up a solution to this, we took out a cart and helped Muriel and
Benjamin into a cart and with the rest of the animals straining to pull the
boulders that we had harnessed with ropes, up to the top of the hill. Here
the clever part that had been thought of was to let the boulders fall and
smash into hand sized pieces that would be easily carried to the windmill
site. This was a laborious task, yet it meant following the rules of animalism
-‘No animal shall walk on its hind legs’
so everyone felt that what we had done was contributing and in a way that
would not break rules. Especially from the help and ‘supporting’ eyes of the
dogs and pigs, observing the work in progress.

In all of the critical moments, I would be struggling to haul a great chunk
of rock up the last steep part of the climb up to the top, with other cows
and sheep helping, where we would find ourselves slipping. There to help us
through the panic and madness Boxer would persistently push until we would
be clear of the hill. Boxer’s courageous effort lightened my spirits to
remember how hardworking animals are compared, and how superior we were
to humans. And I carried on our Sunday tasks, for the extra rations, until
late summer, when everyone collectively had accumulated a sufficient amount
of stone.