Animal Farm, by George Orwell

Animal Farm is a classic, that is being read for almost seven decades now. The key for this success is the exceptional way Orwell turns a historic event, the revolution in Russia, that lead to communism, in an easy and fun to read story. George Orwell wrote the story in 1943, when Great Brittain was still in an alliance with Russia. For this reason, the book wasn’t published until 1945. This shows how much impact the book must have had in the year of publishing.  Animal Farm was the perfect way for Orwell to spread his message about communism in Russia.

Mr. Jones is a farmer, who is drunk all the time and doesn’t take care of his animals. The oldest and wisest pig on the farm tells a speech, about how men is responsible for the poor situation that the animals are in. The animals feel more united than ever before,  now that they have one common enemy: men. On one wild night the animals take over the farm, after chasing away all the humans. This is the beginning of ‘animalism’, the new ideology of the animals, which is based on the rule: “Four legs good, two legs bad”. The life of the animals is as in a paradise for the first few days. The animals all have their own task, there is enough food and the pigs further clarify their ideology and make plans for the situation. But after a while the pigs start giving themselves more than the other animals, because of the importance of their task, the thinking. Besides that the dividing of the food is unfair, the food supplies are getting smaller as well. When one pig eventually takes all the power, slaughtering other animals and even starts to cooperate with the humans, the other animals now their ideology has failed.  The pigs live by the new rule: ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal’. 

Everything in Animal Farm stands for a factor in the revolution in Russia: the pig Napoleon represents Stalin, his dogs the secret police in Russia, and Mr. Jones the Tsar. The story is also based on real events. You could say that it was quite easy to write the story, because he didn’t have to make it up. Yes, the main story line is indeed a copy of reality, but that was the main goal of the book, to picture the history of communism. There was, however, a lot of creativity needed to come up with the idea to simplify the complexity of the whole event, by using animals as main characters. Surprisingly, the use of animals makes the situation in Russia back in that time probably more clear, than when Orwell would have used human characters. By choosing the simple setting of a farm, the message of Orwell is made very clear, and the story has gotten more interesting. The simplicity was probably also useful for writing the story. Overall, The book is good enough without the whole comparison with communism behind it, but it has . And this is what makes Animal Farm the long lasting classic that it is.

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