Farm is a satirical allegorical novel written by George Orwell. The book, first
published in 1944 is widely regarded as one of the finest literary creation of
the 20th century. Orwell, being a democratic socialist was strongly
against the Authoritarian rule of Stalin and this book seems to be an outlet of
his strong dislike towards Stalin. The book is a dystopic take on the Russian
revolution and early years of Stalinist era.
The satire being a critique of the Communist regime, was banned in many
Communist countries including Cuba, North Korea and Burma.
book is set in a Farm in England – Mayor Farm. The farm’s owner, an alcoholic
Mr. Jones, had reduced the farm to poverty, leaving the animals in hunger while
he himself was indulged in drinking and gambling. Old Major, a prize-winning boar,
gathers the animals and instills the spirit of rebellion in them by
highlighting the atrocities committed by Mr. Jones and human species as whole.
He teaches the song “Beast of England” to the animals, which becomes a symbolic
representation for the freedom of animals from the tyranny of Man. Although,
Old Major dies, two of his disciple pigs- Napoleon and Snowball takes over the
responsibility of the rebellion and successfully overthrows Mr. Jones from the
farm and renames it as “Animal Farm”.
the meantime – Seven Commandments of the Animal Farm are painted on the barn
wall, the rules to which all animals must adhere to. Although, the rebellion
was initially a success, soon Napoleon becomes power-hungry. He appoints
Squealar to convince all the other animals of the superiority of the pigs and
establish the pigs’ authority in formulating policies of the farm. After
thwarting the repeated attacks of Jones to take over farm, Napoleon, to
establish his sole dominion over the farm, chases Snowball away from the farm and
makes him the scapegoat for all the ill-happenings in the farm. He starts
murdering innocent animals who speaks against him, living in the farm manor
like humans, drinking and eating in excess and animals start to starve. Animals, such as Boxer, the workhorse, starts
putting in extra effort, to meet the growing demands of food to the extent that
he pays the price with his life.
Meanwhile, Napoleon obscures himself from the
animal view and indulges himself with deals with humans of neighboring farm.
His rule-making committee starts modifying the commandments in favor of the
pigs to the extent that the animals start forgetting the initial cause of the
rebellion. The pigs and the humans become all the same in the end.
characters of the novel can be easily identified with the main characters of
the Russian revolution. Mr. Jones relate to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who was
overthrown during Bolshevik revolution. Old Major can be compared with Lenin, the
force behind the initial Russian revolution. Napoleon, the protagonist/villain can
be seen as Stalin, who to amass the power of the Soviet, sent Leon Trotsky
(Snowball) to exile. Boxer can be compared with The Stakhanovite movement,
whose ideologies lay in over-working themselves for the greater prosperity of
the nation. The author beautifully fuses in animalism and symbolism into the
context of Russian revolution through this novella. This book sets a mark in
the field of political satire and has influenced future generation of authors.
It has been included in several lists of greatest books in English literature.
book in its 112 pages read portrays how the people in power modify the rules
and language for their own benefit overlooking the interest of the common
folks. The final commandment of the Animal farm was modified from “All animals
are equal” to “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”, one
of the most famous lines of the book, symbolizes the changes that followed the
Russian revolution. Rather than overthrowing the capitalist class system, it
reinstated another hierarchy. Although some critics may argue that rather than
portraying a clear picture of the Russian revolution, the book displays the
prejudices the author had towards the system, the beautiful imagery, animalism,
symbolism and allegory makes this book a must read. I would rate this book a