Review/Discussion: Animal Farm by George Orwell

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For years I wanted to read this book because it’s a classic, and, because it’s dystopia, it sounded so interesting, and I knew that it’s been used as literature in schools all over the world, and that it’s an important book to have read.

Mr. Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges…

It’s a simple book, with only 100 pages and in those 100 pages I went through a series of emotions. I was smiling, I was angry, I was sad, I was embarrassed, and I was at some point shocked. I wanted to simply discuss the book because I don’t think I could review it as I normally do with books. It’s just too complex, and if you haven’t read this book, this post might have some spoilers, so read with caution!

The overall plot
From the beginning of this book we get the understanding that Mr. Jones is a drunkard, he drinks and neglects his animals that live on his farm. He forgets sometimes to feed them, and the people working on the farm for Mr. Jones aren’t really any better than him. So one day, the pig called “Major” steps forward and tells the animals on the farm about something he calls “Animalism”, where all animals should go together and pretty much take over the farm in order to be free.

As Major dies on like page 8 or something, the other pigs Napoleon and Snowball takes over the plans for the rebellion against the humans, and one day, they do it. They drive the humans off the farm and they are all free to do whatever they want. Of course, the animals has not taken into consideration that they need to run the farm in order to survive, they have to keep on milking the cows, plow the fields and do everything else that is necessary. So, they start as equals, and follow the seven commandments;

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed
5. No animal shall drink alcohol
6. No animal shall kill any other animal
7. All animals are equal

Throughout the book, these 7 commandments changes, and suddenly the commandments looks like this:

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. Four legs good, two legs better
3. No animal shall wear clothes
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets
5. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess
6. No animal shall kill any other animal without cause
7. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others

Why the book is important
So throughout the book, the pigs take over control and use the dogs as their personal bodyguards. Every other animal on the farm is treated badly, and has to work so hard and eat less so that the pigs and dogs can live in luxury.

Do you see where this is going? I thought it was a really clever book. The historical symbolism is that Orwell used the farm to symbolize the communist system of Soviet Russia, but to me this book represents more than that, it represents that corruption is everywhere, and fear often conquers hope and dreams of a better future. It tells us that if we don’t do anything, we will end up as those animals on the farm, with corrupt leaders who use us for everything we’re worth in order to gain more power.

marley

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One comment on “Review/Discussion: Animal Farm by George Orwell

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