- Books, Literature, and Writing
An Analysis and Review of George Orwell's Animal Farm
Unfortunately, I wasn't lucky enough to have read George Orwell's Animal Farm when I was in the 8th grade, like most of the people I know have. However, fortunately, I am sure I am able to appreciate it more now, having been able to read it by my own will, than I would have when I was 13.
It's a short novel. A novella, I guess. But it packs a lot of punch and is very representative of many of the struggles humans have had in the past, regarding power and corruption. In fact, it is so classically and well written that I have no doubt that it will continue to represent our struggles for many more generations to come.
Though the story could be based on most any history of a tyrannical rule, it is quite heavily based on the history of Soviet Communism and Joseph Stalin's rise to power. Napoleon, who is based off of Stalin himself, holds true to Stalin's real life characteristics and was never truly concerned with the power that could be held by the animals, but only the power that he himself could hold over them. And Snowball, who is based on Leon Trotsky, who at one point worked alongside Napoleon, was a character in himself. He believed in the abilities and potential of the animals of Animal Farm, and because of this he raved on about all the possibilities that they could accomplish. And essentially he was an idealist. But his idealism left him blind to the scheming that occurred behind closed doors. While Snowball was building dreams for the other, "lesser" animals of the farm, Napoleon was building an army that would allow him to become sole leader on the farm.
And the other animals are obviously based on the loyal and hard working people left under a tyrannical rule. Most of whom could not force themselves to be intelligent enough to understand what was happening if they tried. Sadly, this often happens to those who are living under a government just like the one in the novella. Whether it be self inflicted ignorance or the incapacity to understand, being naïve to what is truly happening has always proven to be harmful. In the case of Boxer, the loyal, hardworking, glue-that-held-the-farm-together horse, he believed so much that his leader cared for him and the others, and that Napoleon knew what was best, it eventually led to Boxer's sad demise.
The story itself seemed so incredibly absurd at the beginning that I did not know what to make of it. It was a farm of animals who wanted to over throw their alcohol abusing master, Mr. Jones. I should have foreseen that eventually life would come full circle for the animals and they would not have been better off than they were before. Unless of course for the pigs, who were much more intelligent, clever and cunning. Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer let the power get to them and corrupt them. They became what they rebelled against, which I actually think happens more often than it should in real life. It just goes to show that one must be careful with the power they are given. You can be a ruthless and terrifying tyrant like Napoleon and Stalin, or you can be a wildly idealistic ruler like Snowball and Trotsky tried to be before they were driven out of their homes.
Overall, I enjoyed Orwell's portrayal of communist Russia, and the simplistic way he expressed it, and the way it holds so much power for who ever is reading it. The power to be able to think for yourself, as an individual, and the opportunity to look beyond what you are being told and find the true and right way for yourself, even if it was you're hearing.
Stay tuned, because I will have more George Orwell coming up after I read 1984!
Oh, P.s: I would love to hear what you guys thought of Animal Farm. When you read it and what you got from it. Leave a comment!