Book Reviews

Book Review: Animal Farm

George Orwell is one of the most renowned politcal writers, and this classic should be on everyone’s reading list. It isn’t just some simple book you might have covered in school, Animal Farm is well worth a read.

Book Cover of Animal Farm by George Owell

What Animal Farm is about:

An old boar, Old Major, on the Manor Farm predicts the Rebellion of animals against humans in a dream and shares this with the rest of the farm. The animals of “Manor Farm”, mistreated by Mr Jones,eventually give rise to this Rebellion and the farm becomes the first to be run by animals. Following the expulsion of humans, the name is changed to “Animal Farm”. “Animalism” is established to put Old Major’s dream into words and develop a system of thought to live by. Two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, lead the farm but their relationship is a competitive one. Napoleon ultimately prevails. For the first few years, the farm lives up to the commandments and promises of “Animalism”; production and work ethic is at an all time high, the animals have more food, and the farm is at peace. Of course this doesn’t last and in the end it’s almost as if nothing changed on the farm.

This isn’t just a simple farmyard story, most people are aware of that Animal Farm is an inherently satirical and allegorical story. The novel is based on Stalinism, with the Rebellion symbolizing the Russian Revolution of 1917. The animals represented key figures during this period such as Napoleon being a characterization of Joseph Stalin himself and Snowball as Leon Trotsky. A neighbouring farmer, Mr Frederick, is said to symbolize Adolf Hitler, as his alliance with Napoleon illustrates the brief non-aggression pack with the USSR and Nazi Germany.

What I thought:

Animal Farm may be an easy read as the tale and language employed remains simple, but it is a story the reader must ruminate over. This was a nice change from what I normally read. Generally I just read books with a straight-forward story and plot I don’t really need to think about, which there’s nothing wrong it. It’s nice to change things up and try a new genre, and challenge yourself to read something out of the ordinary for you.

However, it is important to take note of the small details Orwell includes as little details become relevant later. This may be a pessimistic view but I think it teaches you not to be so trusting of others and believe that what someone says they will do is actually what they will do. One can also take “Power corrupts” form this novel too, but perhaps those who were power crazy were already corrupted in the first place?

Sometimes classics can be a bit daunting, the older ones in particualar can be hard to understand because the way we spoke then and no is so different. Animal Farm doens’t do that, because it doesn’t have to.

Animal Farm leaves you with a lot to think about and I would 100% recommend this book. Hell, I’ve already ordered a copy of 1984 so I may be falling in love with George Orwell now.

If you liked Animal Farm you might also enjoy A Clockwork Orange or the Handmaid’s Tale.

Have you ever read Animal Farm or anything else by George Orwell?

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