Animal Farm is a book written by George Orwell, pen name for Eric Blair. Animal Farm was first published in 1945. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a political satire of a totalitarian society ruled by a mighty dictatorship, in all probability an allegory for the events surrounding the Russian Revolution of 1917. The story takes place somewhere in England. The story is told by an all-knowing narrator in the third person. The animals of “Manor Farm” overthrow their human master after a long history of mistreatment.
Led by the pigs, the farm animals continue to do their work, only with more pride, knowing that they are working for themselves, as opposed to working for humans. Little by little, the pigs become dominant, gaining more power and advantage over the other animals, so much so that they become as corrupt and power-hungry as their predecessors, the humans. The theme in Animal Farm maintains that in every society there are leaders who, if given the opportunity, will likely abuse their power. The book begins in the barnyard of Mr. Jones’ “Manor Farm”.
The animals congregate at a meeting led by the prize white boar, Major. Major points out to the assembled animals that no animal in England is free. He further explains that the products of their labor is stolen by man, who alone benefits. Man, in turn, gives back to the animals the bare minimum which will keep them from starvation while he profits from the rest. The old boar tells them that the source of all their problems is man, and that they must remove man from their midst to abolish tyranny and hunger. Only Days later, Major dies, but the hope and pride which he gave the other animals does not die.
Under the leadership of the pigs, the most intelligent of the animals, they rebel against their human master managing to overthrow him. After the rebellion, under the direction of Napoleon, the most outspoken pig, and Snowball, the most eloquent pig,the animals continue to work the farm successfully. As with all societies, the animals have laws which must be obeyed. Their laws stated that animals shall never become like humans; cruel and manipulative. They shall not wear clothing nor sleep in beds. Most importantly, they are to respect one another’s equality and killing another animal is strictly forbidden.
Meanwhile, the pigs as leaders are taking bigger food rations for themselves justifying their behavior as something necessary for the “brains” of their animal society. At this point we begin to suspect that the pigs will abuse their positions and power in this animal society. Mr. Jones tries to reclaim his power but the animals prevent him from doing so in what they call “The Battle of the Cowshed”. After the battle, Napoleon drives Snowball off the farm telling everyone that Snowball was on Mr. Jones’ side. Napoleon is further appreciated by the other animals for exposing and removing the traitor, Snowball, from their midst.
Slowly, Napoleon gets a stronger and stronger hold over the other animals, dominating their every action. The situation at “Animal Farm”, the new name for “Manor Farm”, really starts to change now. Napoleon moves into Mr. Jones’ house, sleeps in his bed, and even wears his clothes. In order to make his actions appear legal, the law had to be interpreted differently, which Napoleon arranged. In defiance of the original laws, Napoleon befriends Mr. Pilkington, the human owner of a nearby farm. Napoleon had such control over the other animals that they accepted such a blatant disregard of their law about fraternizing with humans.
The book ends with the pigs sitting at a table, eating with humans. Napoleon announces to those around the table that the name “Manor Farm” will be reinstated. The humans and pigs converse while the other animals outside look on. They, the lowly creatures according to the pigs and humans, look from pig to man and from man to pig, unable to distinguish between the two species. After reading this novel it has given me a better understanding of the phrase, “Total power corrupts totally”. In the book, once a few (the pigs) gained most or total power, they abused it by giving themselves bigger rations of the daily food supply.
Besides the fact that this book recieved great applause, I myself would recommend this book to any average reader whom wishes to broaden their government horizens and social behavior patterns. This book is an excellent fairy tale with a twist of real life politics. On the whole, I find this book quite satisfying to my knowledge. An easy book to read, vocabulary-wise, yet relays a powerful message that has been seen and heard, over and over, centuries past and many years to come. His writings also reveal his political views. This modern fable satire attacking Stalinism reflects his extreme distrust of autocratic government.