Recently, I finished reading Animal Farm, a 102 page satirical classic novel. Animal Farm is written by George Orwell, an award-winning author that has many great works, including 1984. Orwell wrote Animal Farm in 1945, towards the beginning the second world war.
I found out about this novel through book clubs this year. After hearing about the interesting story several times through my friends and readers’ theater presentations, I knew it was a book I wanted to read. As I first started reading, I knew it was a decision I wouldn’t regret.
Animal Farm does not remind me of any piece of literature in particular, although it does hint at an old fable throughout the novel. Animal Farm starts out sort of like a children’s book but as you start to search for a deeper meaning, as I tried to do several times while reading this book, you find that this fable is not what it seems at first. George Orwell wrote Animal Farm to satirize the power abuse that many leaders at the time had a problem with.
In the novel, a group of animals on Manor Farm revolt against their leader because he does not support their values or respect them. At first, Animal Farm, as the animals renamed it, prospers, with Snowball at the helm, leading the animals to greatness and leaving the Farmer helpless. Things quickly turn, though, and after Snowball proposes the idea for a windmill to reduce the labor of the animals. Napoleon opposes this idea and has a herd of attack dogs chase Snowball from the farm. Years go by and the farm still works well but Napoleon and the other pigs become more and more like humans. As this happens, they go farther and farther away from their original commandments and become more and more like the people they rebelled against. By the end of the novel, the pigs are virtually humans in every way.
I was surprised when Napoleon kicks Snowball out of the farm. I know he went against his and some of the other animal’s beliefs, but still I think that was a harsh reaction to Snowball’s ideas.
I was interested when Snowball thinks up the phrase that is written in the 7 commandments, “four legs good, two legs bad,”(chapter 3). This short phrase is able to sum up all the animal’s beliefs in six short words. This is important throughout the book because it shows how the pigs’ ideas change drastically over the course of the story.
There is also another very important passage in the short novel. In this passage, Old Major is giving his last speech to the farm before he dies. In his speech he tells the farm that the animals will overthrow the humans; that he does not know when it will happen but that it is inevitable, it has to happen. “Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own,” (p. 3).
The relevant satire that George Orwell builds into this fable-like novel shapes it into the award-winning Classic that it is.
Animal Farm is a 9.5 out of 10.