Updated: Jan 6, 2019
First off, I gotta tell you, I knew nothing about this book when it was given to me. I had never heard of the writer before either so I didn't really know what I was getting into here. Apparently, George Orwell is one of the best English literature writers out there, and well known for his essays and journalism too. Who knew! So my BFF (best friend forever) isaac, gave me this little book to read and didn't really explain much about it except that it was about animals in a farm, and something about rebellion (I clearly wasn't paying much attention).
George Orwell's Animal Farm, is about a group of animals in a farm called Manor Farm, that are mistreated and overworked by their terrible drunken owner Mr Jones. He's strict, treats them unfairly and at times forgets to feed the animals. One day the animals decide they've had enough, the smartest animal in the farm is a pig called Old
Major. He gathers all the animals one evening and tells them of a dream he had, of a farm where all animals are equal and they don't have to answer to humans, and thus begins, the rebellion. As the pigs are the smartest in the farm, they lead the rebellion and at first it's heaven on earth. All the animals fight for their rights and kick the terrible Mr Jones away. They learn to work together as a team and treat each other equally and come up with a new name for their farm called 'Animal Farm'. They even come up with 7 commandments that they all have to abide by listed below:
'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 another animal
7- All animals are equal '
Sounds pretty great right?! WRONG! Well, turns out the pigs become a little too greedy with power and all hell breaks loose.
This is a real political book you guys, in a good way though. I wasn't expecting that at all. So for me, the main Pig that ends up being in charge is called Napoleon, and he's basically Stalin, this book pretty much reflects on the events leading up to the Russian Revolution in 1917 and straight into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. It's so trippy! The farm is the Soviet Union during the communist rule, and 'Animal Farm' begins after a revolution, kind of like the Russian Revolution, then it spirals into its own government and structure created by the pigs. Who turn out to be just as bad as Mr. Jones, if not worse. Napoleon the head pig/leader of the farm, uses strict military style force over all the animals which in the beginning, they sort of get used to, but as the years go by in the farm, events begin to drastically change and the seven commandments are no longer followed. Having power truly corrupts Napoleon to the point where he is barely recognisable and has completely alienated himself from the rest of the farm. They even reference Karl Marx too in this book by the character of 'Old Major', the wise pig who had the dream of the rebellion in the beginning before he sadly died.
This is one of those books where it'll truly remain a classic for decades to come. But it is a sort of heavy read, the message it relays is that power can lead to oppression & corruption if fallen in the wrong hands. It's a great little book, only 94 pages long. They even play with religion too, all the different animals represent a type of symbolism or type of people that can be persuaded in these kinds of situations, the followers, or gullible types, etc, but also you do have your strong characters that rebel against Napoleon's corruption and choose not to stand by it as it was not the original plan of the rebellion that 'Old Major' (Karl Marx reference) had dreamt of. There is no longer any equality in the farm. It's very well and clearly written. It is also a children's book from what I could tell, but one that should be read by all.
All in all I liked this book, it was short and sweet too. It was interesting to read an analysis of the Soviet Union told through farm animals. Really smartly done.
At the end of the book, the seven commandments become one.
'All animals are equal
But some animals are more equal than others'
I'll leave the review at that.