Mini classic review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

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…  

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Animal Farm is a short book but it packs quite a punch. It’s intelligently written and chilling to read. Don’t ask why, but whenever I think of this book, I think of Padme Amidala’s famous quote, ‘So this is how liberty dies … with thunderous applause.’

The novel is taken almost entirely from the real-world events of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and the rise of Josef Stalin. Many of the animal characters represent famous persons from the revolution; for e.g., Napoleon is Stalin, Snowball is Trotsky (poor Trotsky), and Old Major is Karl Marx. Orwell’s aim for the novel is to depict how quickly and easily ideology can be morphed and corrupted, even by those who had good intentions initially.

I really enjoyed reading the quick descent into fascism and totalitarianism, represented through their slogans and commandments. The book is obviously a satire, and it does well to represent many people’s blind acceptance of far-right ideology via manipulation.

Even after 70 years, Animal Farm remains an important and timely read. The quote ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’ is going to stay with me for a long time.

 

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