the Elephant – Sławomir Mrożek

The Elephant is a collection of short stories in the form of parables to illustrate the surreal nature of life in an European police state. Mrożek uses metaphors involving animals for some of the stories, to show how people were treated as animals by their own government.

The image of political dissidents being trapped in cages is far more vivid for the parable of how dissenting views were treated than just the knowledge that they were censored. It gives a real sense of how it would feel to be unable to talk freely about politics, the government and individuals in powerful and privileged positions.

Being of an age that means I cannot remember the time before the Berlin Wall fell, the idea that half of Europe was under this type of government in the modern age is something that needs remembering especially in the light of the move towards anger in politics.

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