Author: George Orwell
Paperback: 104 pages
Publisher: Secker & Warburg
Publication Date: 17 August 1945
Genre: Political Satire
Cost: Rs 17 (Kindle edition)
Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegorical work of fiction. Depicting rising revolt among the animals, who wish to take over the humans, the author wrote one of the best satire of the era. Animals, who live in Mr. Jones farm are tired of serving human and find it very exploiting as they use animals for all their needs. Rebellion starts on the day when Mr. Jones forgets to feed the animals. Under the charge of two pigs: Napoleon and Snowball, animals thus plan to invade humans and take over the farm.
The attempt is initiated by changing the farm's name to ‘Animal Farm'. Agenda raised was to seek benefits to four legged animals and other animals of the farm, for which they selected ideals, who got corrupted with passing time. The book reflects incidents and events that led to Russian Revolution in 1917, followed by Soviet Union's Stalinist Era. George Orwell, who was a democratic socialist was in opposition of Joseph Stalin and Moscow-directed Stalinism, result to which is a book like Animal farm- one of his best satirical fiction novel.
Animal Farm is a satire on the Russian revolution. The struggle between Leon Trotsky and Stalin is showcased in the rivalry between the pigs Snowball and Napoleon. It is a simple story depicting the hardships and the consequences when the oppressed are set out to attain freedom.
The pigs Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer adapt Old Major's ideas into "a complete system of thought" which in the book is mentioned as ‘Animalism’ which metaphorically points to the concept of ‘Communalism’ in the contemporary world. Squealer is employed to alter the Seven Commandments to account for this humanisation:
- Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
- Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
- No animal shall wear clothes.
- No animal shall sleep in a bed.
- No animal shall drink alcohol.
- No animal shall kill any other animal.
- All animals are equal.
Later, Napoleon and his pigs secretly revise some of these commandments. The changed commandments are as follows:
- No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
- No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
- No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.
Besides this, the book also pulls a mockery on how a society which is meant to be standing for equality still indulges in ‘Class-stratification’. Another brilliant theory presented by this book is ‘oppression’ is not only executed by the ones in power but also accepted by the oppressed; those who didn’t have a better opportunity of education or proper knowledge.
The animals had initially aimed to form a ‘non-materialistic’ society, where each would respect the needs of the others. But, they failed to do so. And, Animal Farm ended up being a dictatorship of the pigs that did no physical work in reality.
Milestones of the book:
- Time magazine chose Animal Farm as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005)
- It also featured at number 31 on the Modern Library list of best 20th century Novels.
- It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is included in the Great books of the Western World selection.
- Animal Farm (1954) is an animated feature in which Napoleon is apparently overthrown in a second revolution. In 1974, E. Howard Hunt revealed that he had been sent by the CIA's Psychological Warfare department to obtain the film rights from Orwell's widow, and the resulting 1954 animation was funded by the agency.
- Animal farm (1999) is a TV live-action version that shows Napoleon's regime collapsing in on itself, with the farm having new human owners, reflecting the collapse of Soviet communism.
About the Author:
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950) was an English novelist and essayist. His work is characterised by lucid prose, biting social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism. He used to write under the pen name George Orwell has authored this piece. He was also a journalist besides being a critic. He used to concentrate on subjects like social injustice, resistance to dictatorship and support towards elected communism. Orwell’s work is appreciated by the influential and political world. Best known for the dystopian novel: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945), George Orwell was ranked the second greatest British writers since 1945 by The Times.