Wednesday, March 20, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm
Read: March 20,2013

While reading this book, I kept having flashback of grade 9 social studies of that creepy ,creepy animated film they made us watch.  The book is much better. I am surprised it took me until now to actually read the book.
This book doesn’t go in depth with the plot. George Orwell had a mission on what to write, and he stuck with it.  And I thought it was brilliant that he used animals to tell the story. I am sure a lot more people read it because of that despite knowing it was about communism. I also loved how it was a history lesson in itself, something that little grade 9 Kendra would not have figured at the time. Okay, I would have, I was actually very smart and it was actually a history review for me reading it this time around.  Even reading it I kept making notes on my pad of paper like I was expected to write an essay about it. Which I’m sure in Grade 9 we had too. ….
Oh communism. Nothing gets people’s blood boiling as the mention of communism. But I will save my sociological view point for another time.
This book is about a group of farm animals uprising and taking over the farm from Mr. Jones. Thus, creating animalism! It is in direct relation to the USSR and the displaced Tsar. Each animal represents a prominent figure in history. Mr. Jones- Tsar Nicholas, the old pig from beginning could be Marx; Napoleon would be Stalin; Snowball- Trotsky, etc.  Boxer would have represented the proletariat. (I’m impressed I remembered what that meant). He was a hard worker, caring for the good of everyone, loyal to a fault.
As with all rebellions, things start out great. There is communalism, a sense of pride, new commandments. A common theme of hating humans and those with 2 legs.   People worked hard and to their capacity, didn’t steal and enjoyed the free time. Communism, again, while great on paper, never works.  There is always someone who ultimately wants the most power (Napoleon). The pigs started taking more and more food and ‘luxuries’, because they convinced everyone that because they were the brains of the operation they needed the most. Eventually Animal Farm becomes a dictatorship. Of course this isn’t without war, treachery and poverty and with Napoleon laying the blame on someone else, making people more and more obedient and loyal.  The pigs who were the grand supporters at the beginning begin to induce fear into the rest of the farm, sleeping in the farmhouse, drinking whiskey carrying whips and walking on 2 leg.  Slowly, the animal commandments kept changing, and whenever questioned they were just told they forgot that that was always the case.   What was once a free, everyone work and eat the amount they need too turned into a totalitarian society.
I can’t remember if Orwell was a socialist or not, but that being said you could definitely tell that he was not down with the way the new USSR was running. Animal Farm is a great book that shows communism in a not-down your throat way. And I will always have a soft spot for Marx. Such a grand idea that will never and could never come to be. Orwell wrote the book with a mission and he succeded. hell I love books that end up on the banned book list at some point!
3.5 stars.

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