Animal Farm is a satrical allegery of Russian Revolution particularly directed against Stalins Russia. This political satire authored by George Orwel was first published in 1945. The book was originally rejected for publication by T S Elliot in 1944 but has gained the status of a classic since its appearance in 1945.
Animal Farm Book Review
Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely-and this is vividly and eloquently proved in Orwell’s short novel. “Animal Farm” is a simple fable of great symbolic value, and as Orwell himself explained: “it is the history of a revolution that went wrong”. The novel can be seen as the historical analysis of the causes of the failure of communism, or as a mere fairy-tale; in any case it tells a good story that aims to prove that human nature and diversity prevent people from being equal and happy ,or at least equally happy.
“Animal Farm” tells the simple story of what happens when the oppressed farm animals rebel, drive out Mr. Jones, the farmer, and attempt to rule the farm themselves, on an equal basis. What the animals seem to have aimed at was a utopian sort of communism, where each would work according to his capacity, respecting the needs of others. The venture failed, and “Animal Farm” ended up being a dictatorship of pigs, who were the brightest, and most idle of the animals.
Orwell’s mastery lies in his presentation of the horrors of totalitarian regimes, and his analysis of communism put to practice, through satire and simple story-telling. The structure of the novel is skillfully organized, and the careful reader may, for example, detect the causes of the unworkability of communism even from the first chapter. This is deduced from Orwell’s description of the various animals as they enter the barn and take their seats to listen to the revolutionary preaching of Old Major, father of communism in Animal Farm. Each animal has different features and attitude; the pigs, for example, “settled down in the straw immediately in front of the platform”, which is a hint on their future role, whereas Clover, the affectionate horse” made a sort of wall” with her foreleg to protect some ducklings.
So, it appears that the revolution was doomed from the beginning, even though it began in idealistic optimism as expressed by the motto” no animal must ever tyrannize over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. “When the animals drive out Mr. Jones, they create their “Seven Commandments” which ensure equality and prosperity for all the animals. The pigs ,however, being the natural leaders, managed to reverse the commandments, and through terror and propaganda establish the rule of an elite of pigs, under the leadership of Napoleon, the most revered and sinister pig.
“Animal Farm” successfully presents how the mechanism of propaganda and brainwashing works in totalitarian regimes, by showing how the pigs could make the other animals believe practically anything. Responsible for the propaganda was Squealer, a pig that “could turn black into white”. Squealer managed to change the rule from “all animals are equal” to” all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. He managed to convince the other animals that it was for their sake that the pigs ate most of the apples and drank most of the milk, that leadership was “heavy responsibility” and therefore the animals should be thankful to Napoleon, that what they saw may have been something they “dreamed”, and when everything else failed he would use the threat of ” Jones returning” to silence the animals. In this simple but effective way, Orwell presents the tragedy and confusion of thought control to the extent that one seems better off simply believing that” Napoleon is always right”.
Orwell’s criticism of the role of the Church is also very effective. In Animal Farm, the Church is represented by Moses, a tame raven, who talks of “Sugarcandy Mountain”, a happy country in the sky “where we poor animals shall rest forever from our labors”. It is interesting to observe that when Old Major was first preaching revolutionary communism, Moses was sleeping in the barn, which satirizes the Church being caught asleep by communism. It is also important to note that the pig-dictators allowed and indirectly encouraged Moses; it seems that it suited the pigs to have the animals dreaming of a better life after death so that they wouldn’t attempt to have a better life while still alive…
In “Animal Farm”, Orwell describes how power turned the pigs from simple “comrades” to ruthless dictators who managed to walk on two legs, and carry whips. The story maybe seen as an analysis of the Soviet regime, or as a warning against political power games of an absolute nature and totalitarianism in general. For this reason, the story ends with a hair-raising warning to all humankind:” The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which”.
Old Major, a prize-winning boar, gathers the animals of the Manor Farm for a meeting in the big barn. He tells them of a dream he has had in which all animals live together with no human beings to oppress or control them. He tells the animals that they must work toward such a paradise and teaches them a song called “Beasts of England,” in which his dream vision is lyrically described. The animals greet Major’s vision with great enthusiasm. When he dies only three nights after the meeting, three younger pigs—Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer—formulate his main principles into a philosophy called Animalism. Late one night, the animals manage to defeat the farmer Mr. Jones in a battle, running him off the land. They rename the property Animal Farm and dedicate themselves to achieving Major’s dream. The cart-horse Boxer devotes himself to the cause with particular zeal, committing his great strength to the prosperity of the farm and adopting as a personal maxim the affirmation “I will work harder.”
At first, Animal Farm prospers. Snowball works at teaching the animals to read, and Napoleon takes a group of young puppies to educate them in the principles of Animalism. When Mr. Jones reappears to take back his farm, the animals defeat him again, in what comes to be known as the Battle of the Cowshed, and take the farmer’s abandoned gun as a token of their victory. As time passes, however, Napoleon and Snowball increasingly quibble over the future of the farm, and they begin to struggle with each other for power and influence among the other animals. Snowball concocts a scheme to build an electricity-generating windmill, but Napoleon solidly opposes the plan. At the meeting to vote on whether to take up the project, Snowball gives a passionate speech. Although Napoleon gives only a brief retort, he then makes a strange noise, and nine attack dogs—the puppies that Napoleon had confiscated in order to “educate”—burst into the barn and chase Snowball from the farm.Napoleon assumes leadership of Animal Farm and declares that there will be no more meetings. From that point on, he asserts, the pigs alone will make all of the decisions—for the good of every animal. Napoleon now quickly changes his mind about the windmill, and the animals, especially Boxer, devote their efforts to completing it. One day, after a storm, the animals find the windmill toppled. The human farmers in the area declare smugly that the animals made the walls too thin, but Napoleon claims that Snowball returned to the farm to sabotage the windmill. He stages a great purge, during which various animals who have allegedly participated in Snowball’s great conspiracy—meaning any animal who opposes Napoleon’s uncontested leadership—meet instant death at the teeth of the attack dogs. With his leadership unquestioned (Boxer has taken up a second maxim, “Napoleon is always right”), Napoleon begins expanding his powers, rewriting history to make Snowball a villain. Napoleon also begins to act more and more like a human being—sleeping in a bed, drinking whisky, and engaging in trade with neighboring farmers.
The original Animalist principles strictly forbade such activities, but Squealer, Napoleon’s propagandist, justifies every action to the other animals, convincing them that Napoleon is a great leader and is making things better for everyone—despite the fact that the common animals are cold, hungry, and overworked. Mr. Frederick, a neighboring farmer, cheats Napoleon in the purchase of some timber and then attacks the farm and dynamites the windmill, which had been rebuilt at great expense. After the demolition of the windmill, a pitched battle ensues, during which Boxer receives major wounds. The animals rout the farmers, but Boxer’s injuries weaken him. When he later falls while working on the windmill, he senses that his time has nearly come.
One day, Boxer is nowhere to be found. According to Squealer, Boxer has died in peace after having been taken to the hospital, praising the Rebellion with his last breath. In actuality, Napoleon has sold his most loyal and long-suffering worker to a glue maker in order to get money for whisky.
Years pass on Animal Farm, and the pigs become more and more like human beings—walking upright, carrying whips, and wearing clothes. Eventually, the seven principles of Animalism, known as the Seven Commandments and inscribed on the side of the barn, become reduced to a single principle reading “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Napoleon entertains a human farmer named Mr. Pilkington at a dinner and declares his intent to ally himself with the human farmers against the laboring classes of both the human and animal communities. He also changes the name of Animal Farm back to the Manor Farm, claiming that this title is the “correct” one.
Looking in at the party of elites through the farmhouse window, the common animals can no longer tell which are the pigs and which are the human beings.
Animal Farm Best Quotes
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”
“Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments.”
” Beasts of England ” Anthem
“Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time.
Soon or late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.
Rings shall vanish from our noses,
And the harness from our back,
Bit and spur shall rust forever,
Cruel whips shall no more crack.
Riches more than mind can picture,
Wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels,
Shall be ours upon that day.
Bright will shine the fields of England,
Purer shall its water be,
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free.
For that day we all must labour,
Though we die before it break;
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,
All must toils for freedom’s sake.
Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time. ”
“Let’s face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.”
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”