“Animal Farm” is an allegorical novel of the political abuse of Stalin or any abuses of the idea of communism or totalitarianism. This fable, portrayed by talking animals, is also a showcase how the downtrodden people suffered from the reign. How uneducated animals are led to misery by the leader’s corrupt use of language. How the gullible animals are fooled in thinking they have the Utopia. And most of all, how humans can be like animals.
The story starts on the rebellion of the animals under the supervision of Mr Jones, the landlord of the farm. He is a diligent and hardworking man however, at some point, he became lethargic and forgot to take care of the animals. In result, the animals are underfed and overworked for several days. One night when Mr Jones comes home, the animals expect for their compensation however they got none. At last, the animals can’t take it anymore and decide to take the matter for themselves. They kick and punch their oppressors and in the end manage to overthrow all Mr. Jone’s lot.
After triumph, the intellectual pigs assumed the leaders’ position. By then, the farm prospers. They harvest harder and better than Jones’. They also undergo many reforms like educating the animals and establishing moral laws. However, things get ugly when Napoleon hungers for power and supreme authority. He purges and kills anyone who poses threats on his plans. Since most animals can’t think for themselves and regarded as “stupid”, they believe and follow all Napoleon says and orders. Before they knew it, their freedom from Mr Jones slowly becomes a prison of dystopia.
I admire George Orwell for his stubbornness. His book criticizing Stalin’s regime, at that time, is a controversial topic. It is like a taboo that’s why almost all of the publishers rejected his proposal. But at last when the World War II ends, one publisher took charge. From them on, the book have steady sales.
Although the main theme is directed for politics and for adults, the book, written in a simple, concrete and direct language, can be read by children. It also appeals to children because of the lessons it offers like having education to avoid being tricked. If I’m not wrong, there have been colored and illustrated book adaptations.
When we discussed the forms of government, even though we are in a democratic country, I voted for communism. In communism, people will have the same food, amount of wealth, treatment and housing. At first, this idea was good, the idea of making all people equal. It took me long enough to realize that this isn’t what happens in reality. Communism slowly turns into tyranny, in most cases, by a crooked leader.
The irony is that even though the people (or in this case the animals) felt the ill effects they still continue to abide with this standard. They are still blinded by the promises of communism that they fail to see their government’s true form. As for the case of Boxer, he is a hardworking horse devoted to the pigs’ leadership. In end of his work or even during his work, he gets nothing.
Being an Asian and a student who didn’t listen to his history classes, I am compelled to read this short book, 141 pages, not because of the historical significance but because it is entertaining. For the record, reading this book was the longest and meaningful three hours I have ever spent.
“Animal Farm” is a long narrative essay disguised as a novel, and for a good reason. Dialogues seldom appears. There are no descriptive representations of things (which I am happy for). What you get here is a full dosage of well-crafted words in a witty and clever story.