My Notebook

Animal Farm By George Orwell

George Orwell’s Animal Farm may be categorized as an allegorical novella, but it’s far more than just an entertaining piece of literature. It’s considered one of the most important books to come out of the 20th century and has been cited as one of the most influential political novels ever written. The story follows a group of animals who realize that their life under their human owner isn’t quite how they thought it would be, so they revolt and begin to run the farm themselves, led by their intelligent pigs and ending with brutal totalitarian rule and censorship.

The story is about a farm run by a group of animals, pigs in particular. The main character, Old Major, holds a meeting in which he tells them his dream of overthrowing Mr. Jones and creating an animal utopia. After he dies, two pigs named Snowball and Napoleon take control over their fellow animals by declaring that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others (i.e., themselves). Thus begins an idealistic journey to create an Utopian society where everyone is treated fairly and equally.

Animal Farm contains many symbols. The character Moses represents Karl Marx, and Snowball represents Leon Trotsky. Old Major may represent Karl Marx himself. The seven commandments written on a wall in one of Napoleon’s boxes may stand for the seven commandments formulated by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto (1848). Why did they devise only seven commandments? It was not an accident that they made it as such so that it can be easily recalled; at least I believe so.

The main characters of Animal Farm are a group of pigs that attempt to lead their fellow farm animals into a rebellion against their human owners. These pig leaders make up seven commandments, which they expect their fellow animals to follow. The most important rule is that all animal life will be equal on Manor Farm, with no humans except Mr. Jones and his family at its head. As you continue reading through George Orwell’s novel, it becomes increasingly evident that these pigs have no intention of keeping their word, and instead set out to become just as corrupt as those who came before them.

Animal Farm presents what Orwell saw as abuses of power in society and how they were damaging to the common man. Most literary critics agree that Animal Farm is a political allegory with major themes related to totalitarianism and imperialism, but also somewhat vague on its major messages of revolt, revolution, and independence. Unlike most animal fables for children that are usually about moral behavior or good versus evil, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a dark commentary of corruption in human society. Some critics believed that he was denouncing capitalism due to an obvious parallel between Napoleon (the pig) and Joseph Stalin, who took control over Russia under communist rule.

The book is an allegorical novella written by English author George Orwell which, using animals in a way similar to Aesop’s Fables, criticizes Stalinism. It was published in 1945, at a time when there were great tensions among western intellectuals over Soviet foreign policy and fears of what was going on inside Russia. The story centers on an animal farm or Manor where all kinds of animals—pigs, dogs, and hens—have taken over from their human owners in reaction to how they were being treated by humans. Their leader is Old Major who gives them a plan for a world free from humans.

When George Orwell began writing what would become his political allegory and anti-utopian novel, he was still a relatively unknown author in England. He’d published two books, both nonfiction essays that earned him minor recognition. Yet only one year after publishing Animal Farm, he won a special prize given to authors of outstanding works by Faber & Faber (publishers of Animal Farm) for best novel published in England during 1946. The novel did not find its greatest success until long after it was first published; indeed it is now considered by many as among his most famous and influential works.


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