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Animal farm by george orwell


by George Orwell


March 17, 1992


George Orwell's Animal Farm is a political satire of a

totalitarian society ruled by a mighty dictatorship, in all

probability an allegory for the events surrounding the Russian

Revolution of 1917. The animals of "Manor Farm" overthrow their

human master after a long history of mistreatment. Led by the

pigs, the farm animals continue to do their work, only with more

pride, knowing that they are working for themselves, as opposed to

working for humans. Little by little, the pigs become dominant,

gaining more power and advantage over the other animals, so much so

that they become as corrupt and power-hungry as their predecessors,

the humans. The theme in Animal Farm maintains that in every

society there are leaders who, if given the opportunity, will

likely abuse their power.

The book begins in the barnyard of Mr. Jones' "Manor Farm".

The animals congregate at a meeting led by the prize white boar,

Major. Major points out to the assembled animals that no animal in

England is free. He further explains that the products of their

labor is stolen by man, who alone benefits. Man, in turn, gives

back to the animals the bare minimum which will keep them from

starvation while he profits from the rest. The old boar tells them

that the source of all their problems is man, and that they must

remove man from their midst to abolish tyranny and hunger.

Days later Major dies, but the hope and pride which he gave

the other animals does not die. Under the leadership of the pigs,

the most intelligent of the animals, they rebel against their human

master managing to overthrow him. After the rebellion, under the

direction of Napoleon, the most outspoken pig, and Snowball, the

most eloquent pig, the animals continue to work the farm


As with all societies, the animals have laws which must be

obeyed. Their laws stated that animals shall never become like

humans; cruel and manipulative. They shall not wear clothing nor

sleep in beds. Most importantly, they are to respect one another's

equality and killing another animal is strictly forbidden.

Meanwhile, the pigs as leaders are taking bigger food rations

for themselves justifying their behavior as something necessary for

the "brains" of their animal society. At this point we begin to

suspect that the pigs will abuse their positions and power in this

animal society.

Mr. Jones tries to reclaim his power but the animals prevent

him from doing so in what they call "The Battle of the Cowshed".

After the battle, Napoleon drives Snowball off the farm telling

everyone that Snowball was on Mr. Jones' side. Napoleon is further

appreciated by the other animals for exposing and removing the

traitor, Snowball, from their midst. Slowly, Napoleon gets a

stronger and stronger hold over the other animals, dominating their

every action.

The situation at "Animal Farm", the new name for "Manor Farm",

really starts to change now. Napoleon moves into Mr. Jones' house,

sleeps in his bed, and even wears his clothes. In order to make

his actions appear legal, the law had to be interpreted

differently, which Napoleon arranged. In defiance of the original

laws, Napoleon befriends Mr. Pilkington, the human owner of a

nearby farm. Napoleon had such control over the other animals that

they accepted such a blatant disregard of their law about

fraternizing with humans.

The book ends with the pigs sitting at a table, eating with

humans. Napoleon announces to those around the table that the name

"Manor Farm" will be reinstated. The humans and pigs converse

while the other animals outside look on. They, the lowly creatures

according to the pigs and humans, look from pig to man and from man

to pig, unable to differentiate between the species.

The theme throughout Animal Farm is presented through the

allegory of corrupt pigs and the passivity of the other barnyard

animals. The humans in the story represent the Russian royal

family and aristocracy, tyrants who abused their power with no

regard for the peasants who, in essence, supported their royal

lifestyle. The pigs represent the Bolshevik revolutionaries who

led the masses in rebellion against the Czar and the entire royal

family. Unfortunately, as with the pigs, power corrupted and the

people were then oppressed by their "comrades" under the new

communist government. Orwell's message about power, in the hands

of a few, is corrupting and does nothing to benefit the masses.

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