Animal Farm Review

As I continue my great journey of reading various works of literary merit, I have stumbled upon Animal Farm, by George Orwell. I had heard many great things about this book and decided to give it a go. Plus, it was only 92 pages, so it was a quick and easy read. However, don’t let that discredit the profound themes packed into this novel. There’s plenty that this novel has to say about the human condition, freedom, and even government.

The story follows a group of animals at Manor Farm. One day, one of the older and wiser prize pigs named Old Major has a dream that all of the animals would rise up above the oppression of Mr. Jones, the farmer, and all of his men that mistreat them. In Old Major’s mind, mankind was the only animal that took everything from the others, yet produced nothing. Some time after Old Major died, the animals found themselves hungry from not being fed for a whole day and revolted, driving out Mr. Jones and the other humans. The animals decided to make a new farm, Animal Farm, and establish it under the condition that all animals are equal.

Pretty soon, however, the pigs dub themselves the leaders of the other animals, due to the fact that they can read the best. The two main pigs are Snowball and Napoleon. They can never agree on diplomatic affairs, and one day Napoleon uses a pack of dogs he had been raising to drive out Snowball. From then on out, things at Animal Farm go downhill. Napoleon is calling all of the shots, and uses lies and propaganda to convince the other animals that things are going great at Animal Farm and that things are still much better than they were under Mr. Jones. Napoleon makes all of the animals work very hard each day and rations out the food, while the pigs get virtually anything they want. Napoleon and the other pigs begin to break the rules of Animal Farm as well, picking up human traits that are banned in the rules, such as sleeping in beds, drinking alcohol, and even walking on two feet. By the end of the novel, the pigs begin walking upright and the animals can’t even tell the difference between the pigs and the humans anymore. The entirety of the rules became narrowed down to one maxin: all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

When I had finished this book, not only was I astounded by the allegory Orwell had used, but also the truth he had spilled on the tendencies of mankind. The entire story is actually a direct metaphor of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Each character represents a major factor. Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, Old Major represents Karl Marx, and the Animal Farm is communism in the Soviet Union. But another main theme Orwell drove home in this novel is the corruption that can develop with power. Even the most noble of ideas, such as equality for all, can turn sour when one person or group is granted all of the power.