Animal Farm tells the story of an animal farm that rebels against humans to take control of their own destiny. Animals want to run the farm and be free. It is very hard to define this book’s genre and the literary style, but it is certainly an allegory for Soviet Union and is distinguished for its political satire.
To understand this book’s context, it is important to understand George Orwell’s political background, because G. Orwell was born to British parents in India and served with the Imperial Indian Police. He also was a World War 2 correspondent for BBC. Animal Farm is using allegory and satire to depict G. Orwell’s vision on the Russian Revolution. Orwell uses animals to replace several key actors of the Revolution. For example, Napoleon corresponds to Joseph Stalin and Snowball to Leon Trotsky. The novel points the finger at the injustices that the Soviet Union has.
Everything starts with a boar, who tells the animals of the dream he has in which all animals live peacefully together without any humans controlling them. In addition to this dream, he undertakes actions: he educates a group of young puppies to become followers of Animalism. The boar even teaches them a song, called “Beasts of England” in which the dream is detailed. He days several days later and 3 pigs take the ground to shape the philosophy, called Animalism. Animals quickly absorb the philosophy and defeat Mr. Jones, who was the farmer. Animal Farm starts prospering and when Mr Jones returns to take his farm back, animals defeat him again. In parallel to Animal Farm’s development and emancipation, Napoleon and Snowball start cultivating more and more disagreements. For instance, Snowball wants to construct a windmill, but Napoleon opposes to this plan. Then they organize a meeting to vote and Snowball gives a all-inclusive and inspiring speech, while Napoleon gives a short speech and then makes a strange noise: a group of dogs, who were previously educated to become followers of Animalism, jumps out and chases Snowball out of the barn. So, Napoleon becomes the only leader of the Animal Farm. Once a leader, he changes his mind and builds the windmill by exploiting all the animals, which later gets destroyed by Mr. Frederick, a neighboring farmer. After the demolition of the windmill, Boxer get serious injuries and feels that he is going to die soon. One day, Boxer disappears and Squealer says that Boxer had just died in a hospital, but in reality Napoleon had sold his most faithful friend to a glue maker.
The book contains ironic parts, where the reader sees and understands the truth, while the characters are just deceived. For example, Squealer says that is OK that there is written “Horse Slaughter” on the van in which Boxer was taken to the hospital, because it just belonged to someone else before belonging to the hospital. Here Squealer represents propaganda and the lies that it proliferates among animals.
As years pass, pigs that govern, become more and more like farmers Mr. Jones or Mr. Frederick: pigs wear cloths, behave like humans and talk the same way as humans do. Which is more disappointing is the fact that the Seven Commandments of Animalism have been reduced to an anti-Animalist and deceptive expression: “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Here is the complete deceptive evolution of the Seven Commandments of Animalism:
Whatever goes upon two legs is a enemy.
Once the pigs start walking on two legs, two legs become better then four.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
The pigs end up thinking any animal who walks on four legs or has wings in inferior.
No animal shall wear clothes.
The pigs all end up wearing clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
“No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets”
No animal shall drink alcohol.
“No animal shall drink alcohol to excess”
No animal shall kill any other animal.
“No animal shall kill any other animal without cause”
All animals are equal.
” All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”
The actions take place on a British farm near Willingdon. The farm is first called Manor Farm, which later become Animal Farm and, finally, it goes back to be called Manor Farm again. Napoleon declares to Mr. Pilkington, a human farmer, that he wants to become his ally and fight against working classes of both humans and animals. Once the name of the farm changed, Napoleon claims that the new name “Manor” is the “correct” one. Manor can symbolize the land supervised by a lord – a human, not an animal.
As the animals watch all these scenes through the open window, where Napoleon partners with Mr. Pilkington, they see no difference between them: pigs were all like humans. This is a highly symbolic scene and may be interpreted that it is not important who is the leader and what is his ideology, because the political power always transforms those who possess it and then once elected as head of state they just use the political toolkit for their narrow and individual interest and not that of the working class. The working class never gets the that-much-wanted equality.