The Books Guide

Books from libraries and publishers worldwide

03
Aug

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm is a novel written by George Orwell, the pen name of Eric Blair, a political novelist and essayist. Published in 1945, the book is seen as one of the best English-language novels. Using a pointed criticisms for political oppression, Orwell disapproved with the Soviet Union and its policies and became a sharp critic of both capitalism and communism.

The dystopian allegorical novel Animal Farm presents events prior and during the Stalin era before World War II, addressing corruption of the revolution, as well as the ignorance, greed and myopia of the leaders leading to failure.

Plot Summary
Old Major, the boar at Manor Farm, gathers all animals in the big barn and gives them a speech regarding a dream he had in which animals were no longer controlled by humans. They are all thrilled about this idea, so they defeat the farmer Mr. Jones and take over the farm calling it Animal Farm.
At the beginning, the farm is doing well and prospers following the principles of Animalism. Mr. Jones is once again defeated when he wants to regain his farm, but leaders begin to fight each other for power and influence. Napoleon, one of the leaders, manages to throw away Snowball (his opponent) from the farm, he proclaims himself the only leader and decides that from now on the decisions will be taken only by pigs.

Through a conspiracy, Napoleon applies a new rule: every animal who opposes him will be killed by his attack dogs. He enlarges his powers and rewrite history so that his former rival be seen as a villain. Even if this principle was in contradiction with Animalism, his propagandist convinces the animals there is nothing wrong about the fact that the great leader Napoleon behaves as humans and enjoys wealth while common animals endure hunger, cold and overworking.

As time passes, the pigs look more like human beings – they walk upright, carry whips and wear clothes. The seven principles of Animalism, including “all animals are equal”, are reduced to only one: “all animals are equal, but some animal are more equal than others”. In addition, Napoleon starts allying with humans and at the end common animals cannot even tell who are the pigs and who are the human beings.

Themes
The main themes expressed in Animal Farm are the corruption of socialist ideals in the Soviet Union, the tendency to class stratification and the danger of naïve working class.

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