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Animal Farm and 1984

Animal Farm and 1984

Animal Farm and 1984

4.5/5 (149 ratings)
484 pages
9 hours
Jun 1, 2003


From Scribd: About the Book

In this dual edition, with an introduction by Christopher Hitchens, readers can enjoy two of George Orwell's best known novels - 1984 and Animal Farm.

In 1984, a classic tale that created the concept of Big Brother, London is a grim city where everyone is watched all the time. The Thought Police can practically read your mind, and you are expected to contribute significant time to your Telescreen. Winston Smith, the protagonist, can't take it any longer and joins a secret revolutionary group called The Brotherhood, whose entire mission is to destroy the Party. Together with Julia, his beloved, Winston sets off on a quest of personal discovery and government destruction.

Animal Farm, on the other hand, is Orwell's classic satirical representation of the Russian Revolution. It is an account of bold struggle, told through the stories of animals, and it tells of the events on Mr. Jones's Manor Farm that lead it to become Animal Farm. However, in this newly formed democratic society All Animals Are Created Equally. But as time passes, who really holds the power?

Both of these novels are well respected and taught in many universities, and Orwell is often considered to be one of the most renowned dystopian writers of his time.
Jun 1, 2003

About the author

GEORGE ORWELL (1903–1950) was born in India and served with the Imperial Police in Burma before joining the Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was the author of six novels, including 1984 and Animal Farm, as well as numerous essays and nonfiction works.

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Animal Farm and 1984 - George Orwell

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Introduction copyright © 2003 by Christopher Hitchens

Animal Farm copyright 1945 by Harcourt, Inc. and renewed 1973 by Sonia Orwell

1984 copyright 1949 by Harcourt, Inc. and renewed 1977 by Sonia Brownell Orwell

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY 10007.


The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:

Orwell, George, 1903–1950.

Animal farm; 1984/George Orwell.—1st ed.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-0-15-101026-4

1. Domestic animals—Fiction. 2. Totalitarianism—Fiction. I. Orwell, George, 1903–1950. Nineteen eighty-four. II. Orwell, George, 1903–1950. Animal farm. III. Title: 1984. IV. Title.

PR6029.R8A63 2003

823'.912—dc21 2003004969

eISBN 978-0-547-50418-6



THE TWO NOVELS THAT you now hold in your hands have become modern classics in every sense of both those terms. They are taught in many schools as examples of moral weight and political prescience, and they are still read for pleasure, excitement and instruction even by young people who have not been subject to adult inculcation. They contain several terms and expressions—Thought Police, Doublethink, Newspeak, Some animals are more equal than others—that have entered our discourse as surely as Catch 22. (Tina Turner’s album Private Dancer even included a song written by David Bowie entitled 1984, replete with menacing references to mind-control and cruelty, which conveyed the vague but frightening premonition of a frigidly-controlled future, as apprehended by those to whom 1984 is a date in the remote but recent past.)

In the less distant past, these books used to be banned in every country under Communist rule, and are still occasionally suppressed in the remaining single-party despotisms that disfigure the globe as I write, while Animal Farm is sometimes forbidden reading in the Islamic world—because of its focus on pigs. Even as I began to write this introduction, a stage version of Animal Farm was being produced by a bold theater group in Beijing, where the novel itself is still officially unobtainable.

So wide and so secure is Orwell’s reputation, in other words, that it can be shocking to realise that both of his masterpieces were very nearly aborted or strangled at birth. Animal Farm was almost denied publication, and 1984 had to be finished in a terrible, desperate burst of energy on the part of a man who knew that he was dying. Probably nothing would have surprised their author more than the near-orthodox esteem in which his last two novels are now held: he never in his life expected to be required reading in respectable schools. The continuing censorship would have surprised him much less.

Animal Farm was written during the Second World War, at a time when London was being bombed by the Nazis and Churchill’s Britain was an official friend of Stalin’s Russia. Orwell despised Hitler and fascism and had fought and been wounded as a volunteer soldier for the Spanish Republic, but he chose this unpropitious moment to write a deadly satire on the illusion of Soviet Communism. The original manuscript had to be dug out, in a somewhat scorched and crumpled state, from the ruins of Orwell’s blitzed North London home. In this condition, it was sent to T. S. Eliot, the author of The Waste Land, who occupied the extremely influential position of editor at Faber and Faber. Eliot was a political and cultural conservative of the determined Right, and might have been presumed sympathetic to an anti-Stalinist project. But he turned the book down in a letter of extreme condescension which described it as generally Trotskyite.

This was, bizarrely enough, the same objection that had been made by Orwell’s leftist opponents. A senior official in the British Ministry of Information named Peter Smollett made it his business to warn publishers against accepting the book. His ostensible rationale was that Josef Stalin was an ally of Great Britain, and that it would be tactless to publish a satire upon him. The likelihood that the Red Army would have stopped fighting Hitler in 1944 for this reason was clearly not very great, but conformist and loyalist opinion is always easy to elicit and the evidence that publisher Jonathan Cape, for example, dropped the book on Smollett’s instigation is very strong. (Smollett himself was later exposed as an agent of the Soviet secret intelligence, whose job was to defend the prestige of Stalinism rather than to support the war effort.)

Other publishers like Victor Gollancz—a leftist sympathiser who had printed earlier Orwell works—needed no persuasion in denying him an audience for the twentieth century’s most successful satire. In the end, the small house of Secker and Warburg agreed to publish Animal Farm in a very small edition, for an advance of forty-five English pounds (or $2,020 expressed in today’s value).

However, a group of Ukrainian socialists, living in refugee camps in post-war Europe, got hold of a copy of the book and immediately understood its profound relevance. They contacted Orwell, who agreed to write the only introduction to Animal Farm that he ever composed, and who gave them the right to reprint the work in the Ukrainian language, for free. This edition was distributed among refugees in Germany, but most copies were seized by the American military authorities (this, well after the war against Hitler was over) and handed over to the Red Army to be burned.

In the United States, the book fared somewhat better. Though it was originally refused by the Dial Press on the absurd grounds that animal stories did not sell well in America, and though it was declined by Angus Cameron of Random House after Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., had sent him a copy (Cameron was a leading Communist fellow-traveler), it did eventually see print, from Harcourt, Brace, in 1946. By that time, Orwell had only a few years to live and was to exhaust himself physically and mentally by writing and then typing out 1984. The contrast between the two books is an extraordinary one, which partly reflects Orwell’s own race against time.

Animal Farm, with its original tongue-in-cheek subtitle A Fairy Story, is biting but essentially good-natured. The pastoral setting has a reassuring patina; Mr Jones, the wicked farmer, is also a figure of farce. The fate of some creatures, most obviously the noble work-horse Boxer, has additional pathos and tragedy—in Boxer’s case because of his dumb, equine bravery—but the pigs are the pigs and they are amusing as well as nasty in their anthropomorphism. (Many children have enjoyed the book for its own sake, heedless of the history of the Soviet Union and its ruthless, witless collectivisation, and Martin Amis in Money has a hilarious passage in which his dumb-ox of a narrator, John Self, is given a copy of the novel and laboriously makes the self-same mistake.)

In 1984, by contrast, Orwell made extensive and almost melodramatic use of his own buried knowledge of cruelty. In his life, he had witnessed sadistic and authoritarian behavior among small boys at English boarding-schools, again while serving as a policeman in colonial Burma and further as a journalist pretending to be a loser in slums and sweatshops. He had also gained first-hand experience of political terror as a fighter against both fascism and Stalinism in Spain. The novel makes a double-distillation of every nightmare of monstrous entrapment and powerlessness to which the average human brain is vulnerable. It also makes an almost conscious attempt to destroy the very concept of hope. Those who read it first, like its original publisher Fredric Warburg, were made physically afraid. I still come across students in their twenties who were terrified by their initial reading.

The original title of the novel was The Last Man in Europe, as if to summarise the utter loneliness and despair of Winston Smith, but it was a stroke of genius that changed this into the almost hieroglyphic title—often rendered in numbers rather than in Orwell’s words—that we know today. No more than an inversion of the year 1948 in which it was being completed, the date gave an immediacy and urgency to the menace of totalitarian rule. This time, no outright attempt at censorship was undertaken. Instead, there were efforts to make the novel into something that it was not. The Book-of-the-Month Club in the United States, for example, asked that the passages of Emmanuel Goldstein’s Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism be dropped—because they, too, were too Trotskyist as well as too dense. Orwell declined this demand, at the risk of losing a highly lucrative promotion. He also issued a written statement repudiating those who interpreted or conscripted the novel as an attack on the socialist movement in general. Having known continuous neglect and suppression because of his principles, he was to experience a final, closing moment of literary success partly because of those who wished to use his principles against him. Having set 1984 in England, in order, as he put it, to show that the English were no better than anyone else and that the totalitarian danger existed everywhere, he was in a strong position to appreciate the irony of this exploitation. A later CIA-sponsored cartoon-film of Animal Farm, produced for purposes of Cold War propaganda, cut out the closing passage about the restoration of Farmer Jones as head of the farm. That chapter just did not, for immediate practical purposes, quite fit the needs of the Agency. This makes the same point in a slightly different way.

Despite being set in England, the book is obviously drawn from Orwell’s literary knowledge of Russia and of the Soviet Union. The manipulation of numbers by the authorities (most famously the Party’s ability to insist that Two and Two can if necessary make Five) is anticipated in Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground. And Evgeny Zamyatin’s We, an early dystopian fantasy written in the early years of Communism, was among Orwell’s acknowledged inspirations. During the hideous period of Stalin’s Five Year Plan, it was at one point claimed by the authorities that the goal of the plan had been attained early, in two heroic two-year spurts. This huge lie was sometimes rendered for the stupider believers as 2 + 2 = 5. Orwell’s novel is full of meaningless announcements about the continuous achievement of ridiculous production targets, which form a sort of background noise to the drabness and scarcity of daily life.

It was details like this which won Orwell a tremendous literary compliment that he didn’t live to see. Today, Czeslaw Milosz is the acknowledged literary laureate of his native Poland. But in 1951, he was a minor cultural official in recently Stalinised Warsaw and experiencing the first stirrings of dissent. In his incisive book The Captive Mind, which was eventually published in 1953, he wrote about his fellow heretics within the apparatus:

A few have become acquainted with Orwell’s 1984; because it is both difficult to obtain and dangerous to possess, it is known only to certain members of the Inner Party. Orwell fascinates them through his insight into details they know well, and through his use of Swiftian satire. Such a form of writing is forbidden by the New Faith because allegory, by nature manifold in meaning, would trespass beyond the prescriptions of socialist realism and the demands of the censor. Even those who know Orwell only by hearsay are amazed that a writer who never lived in Russia should have so keen a perception into its life.

So—Orwell writes a book that is published in 1949. His novel describes a secret book that is circulated clandestinely within an inner party. And within two years, it is itself being passed secretly from hand to hand, by members of an inner party. . . .

I am writing these words in January 2003, the first month of Orwell’s centenary year. (He only lived to see the first half of the twentieth century, dying in January of 1950.) As I write, all political discussion is dominated by an impending confrontation with two totalitarian states—Iraq and North Korea. In these countries, absolute power is held by leaders who demand incessant worship of themselves. Membership of a party—the Iraqi Ba’ath Party or the Workers Party of Korea—is a prerequisite for access to power at any level of the army or the police. Total control is exercised over all forms of printing and communication. The citizen is unambiguously the property of the state and can be tortured or murdered or made to disappear on a whim. In each case, a nationalist form of collectivist socialism is the ruling ideology, though in the service of an individual Caligula. I have visited both of these states and seen their hate parades, their youth rallies, their round-the-clock cult of the Big Brother and their exaltation of force and cruelty. In each case, my fellow writers and I had little choice but to employ the term Orwellian to describe what we had seen. We knew it was a bit of a cliche, in other words, but we also knew that it could not be improved upon. In a lesser way than Milosz, and at much less risk, we too pay our compliments.

It is also true that Orwell warned against militarisation, especially in its nuclear form, wherever it occurred. (It’s not often pointed out that the slave society he evokes in 1984 has been created in part by the misery that follows a short atomic war.) There is no doubt that Orwell meant his work to put people on guard against chauvinism and regimentation and hysteria in all their forms: he was highly suspicious of the emerging Cold War system of competing superpowers who might use the excuse of each other’s existence to impose their will at home and abroad. And in the United States, which has recently taken extraordinary measures in its fight against theocratic nihilism, the excesses of Homeland Security and Total Awareness, with their new bureaucratic vocabulary, have also led people to reach for the expression Orwellian. This, again, is a tribute to his persistent relevance. The insistence upon the importance of language, and of the danger posed by sloganised thinking and official idiom, is among the debts we owe to Orwell. In The Principles of Newspeak, an appendix to 1984, the author quotes Jefferson’s preamble to the Declaration of Independence—We hold these truths to be self-evident . . .—as an instance of something that would be quite impossible to re-cast in Newspeak terminology. Long may this incompatibility continue and be upheld.

Neither of these two novels is faultless in historical terms. To take one example that is so glaring that few people notice it, there is no Lenin either in Animal Farm or 1984. There is a Stalin figure in each—Napoleon and Big Brother respectively—and a Trotsky figure in each—Snowball and Goldstein—but a whole phase of history and indeed of allegory seems to have been skipped. We have no means of knowing what Orwell intended by this astonishing omission, of which he may only have been semi-conscious himself, but it seems probable that he regarded the self-immolation of Communism to have been at least partly a great tragedy, as well as a great crime. It was this insight and this perspective that allowed him to re-create the mental atmosphere so hauntingly. It is also this imaginative gift that posthumously made him one of the moral heroes of the revolution of 1989 in Eastern Europe, and of those who led it. It will, one day, give him the same eminence in China and North Korea.

Having been among the bullies and among the bullied at different times of his life, Orwell had an innate understanding of what Nietzsche called the master-slave relationship. He knew that there are guilty thrills to be obtained from domination, and he also realised what few people fully appreciate—that there are also guilty thrills to be had from subjecting and abasing oneself. These books can be read, independently of their time and place, as a strong preventive medicine against the mentality of servility, and especially against the lethal temptation to exchange freedom for security: a bargain that invariably ends up with the surrender of both.

I have dwelt somewhat on the circumstances in which these works were written and published, because they illustrate another point. It took courage, physical and moral, to write these books and to fight for their right to be read. Orwell’s life was a struggle in which the distance between what he said and what he meant was as near to nil as made no difference. He was a participant as well as a witness. He suffered a good deal in making the discovery, but he has assisted us in realising that, while the drive to power and corruption and cruelty is certainly latent in human beings, the instinct for liberty is innate as well. This battle takes place within ourselves as well as in the world we inhabit, and these books are weapons of self-respect as well as of self-defense.


Washington, D.C.

January 20, 2003

Animal Farm


MR. JONES, OF THE Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring.

As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was a stirring and a fluttering all through the farm buildings. Word had gone round during the day that old Major, the prize Middle White boar, had had a strange dream on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the other animals. It had been agreed that they should all meet in the big barn as soon as Mr. Jones was safely out of the way. Old Major (so he was always called, though the name under which he had been exhibited was Willingdon Beauty) was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready to lose an hour’s sleep in order to hear what he had to say.

At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam. He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout, but he was still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance in spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut. Before long the other animals began to arrive and make themselves comfortable after their different fashions. First came the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher, and then the pigs, who settled down in the straw immediately in front of the platform. The hens perched themselves on the windowsills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the sheep and cows lay down behind the pigs and began to chew the cud. The two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover, came in together, walking very slowly and setting down their vast hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animal concealed in the straw. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal. Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and in fact he was not of first-rate intelligence, but he was universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous powers of work. After the horses came Muriel, the white goat, and Benjamin, the donkey. Benjamin was the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered. He seldom talked, and when he did, it was usually to make some cynical remark—for instance, he would say that God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no flies. Alone among the animals on the farm he never laughed. If asked why, he would say that he saw nothing to laugh at. Nevertheless, without openly admitting it, he was devoted to Boxer; the two of them usually spent their Sundays together in the small paddock beyond the orchard, grazing side by side and never speaking.

The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones’s trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar. She took a place near the front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to draw attention to the red ribbons it was plaited with. Last of all came the cat, who looked round, as usual, for the warmest place, and finally squeezed herself in between Boxer and Clover; there she purred contentedly throughout Major’s speech without listening to a word of what he was saying.

All the animals were now present except Moses, the tame raven, who slept on a perch behind the back door. When Major saw that they had all made themselves comfortable and were waiting attentively, he cleared his throat and began:

"Comrades, you have heard already about the strange dream that I had last night. But I will come to the dream later. I have something else to say first. I do not think, comrades, that I shall be with you for many months longer, and before I die, I feel it my duty to pass on to you such wisdom as I have acquired. I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought as I lay alone in my stall, and I think I may say that I understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now living. It is about this that I wish to speak to you.

"Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.

"But is this simply part of the order of nature? Is it because this land of ours is so poor that it cannot afford a decent life to those who dwell upon it? No, comrades, a thousand times no! The soil of England is fertile, its climate is good, it is capable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater number of animals than now inhabit it. This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep—and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now almost beyond our imagining. Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word—Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.

"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see before me, how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year? And what has happened to that milk which should have been breeding up sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of our enemies. And you hens, how many eggs have you laid in this last year, and how many of those eggs ever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market to bring in money for Jones and his men. And you, Clover, where are those four foals you bore, who should have been the support and pleasure of your old age? Each was sold at a year old—you will never see one of them again. In return for your four confinements and all your labour in the fields, what have you ever had except your bare rations and a stall?

"And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span. For myself I do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones. I am twelve years old and have had over four hundred children. Such is the natural life of a pig. But no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we all must come—cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Even the horses and the dogs have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to the knacker, who will cut your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds. As for the dogs, when they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and drowns them in the nearest pond.

"Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later justice will be done. Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives! And above all, pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious.

And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.

At this moment there was a tremendous uproar. While Major was speaking four large rats had crept out of their holes and were sitting on their hindquarters, listening to him. The dogs had suddenly caught sight of them, and it was only by a swift dash for their holes that the rats saved their lives. Major raised his trotter for silence.

Comrades, he said, here is a point that must be settled. The wild creatures, such as rats and rabbits—are they our friends or our enemies? Let us put it to the vote. I propose this question to the meeting: Are rats comrades?

The vote was taken at once, and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that rats were comrades. There were only four dissentients, the three dogs and the cat, who was afterwards discovered to have voted on both sides. Major continued:

"I have little more to say. I merely repeat, remember always your duty of enmity towards Man and all his ways. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. And remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you have conquered him, do not adopt his vices. No animal must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.

And now, comrades, I will tell you about my dream of last night. I cannot describe that dream to you. It was a dream of the earth as it will be when Man has vanished. But it reminded me of something that I had long forgotten. Many years ago, when I was a little pig, my mother and the other sows used to sing an old song of which they knew only the tune and the first three words. I had known that tune in my infancy, but it had long since passed out of my mind. Last night, however, it came back to me in my dream. And what is more, the words of the song also came back—words, I am certain, which were sung by the animals of long ago and have been lost to memory for generations. I will sing you that song now, comrades. I am old and my voice is hoarse, but when I have taught you the tune, you can sing it better for yourselves. It is called ‘Beasts of England.’

Old Major cleared his throat and began to sing. As he had said, his voice was hoarse, but he sang well enough, and it was a stirring tune, something between Clementine and La Cucaracha. The words ran

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken to my joyful tidings

Of the golden future time.

Soon or late the day is coming,

Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown,

And the fruitful fields of England

Shall be trod by beasts alone.

Rings shall vanish from our noses,

And the harness from our back,

Bit and spur shall rust forever,

Cruel whips no more shall crack.

Riches more than mind can picture,

Wheat and barley, oats and hay,

Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels

Shall be ours upon that day.

Bright will shine the fields of England,

Purer shall its waters be,

Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes

On the day that sets us free.

For that day we all must labour,

Though we die before it break;

Cows and horses, geese and turkeys,

All must toil for freedom’s sake.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland,

Beasts of every land and clime,

Hearken well and spread my tidings

Of the golden future time.

The singing of this song threw the animals into the wildest excitement. Almost before Major had reached the end, they had begun singing it for themselves. Even the stupidest of them had already picked up the tune and a few of the words, and as for the clever ones, such as the pigs and dogs, they had the entire song by heart within a few minutes. And then, after a few preliminary tries, the whole farm burst out into Beasts of England in tremendous unison. The cows lowed it, the dogs whined it, the sheep bleated it, the horses whinnied it, the ducks quacked it. They were so delighted with the song that they sang it right through five times in succession, and might have continued singing it all night if they had not been interrupted.

Unfortunately, the uproar awoke Mr. Jones, who sprang out of bed, feeling sure that there was a fox in the yard. He seized the gun which always stood in a corner of his bedroom, and let fly a charge of number 6 shot into the darkness. The pellets buried themselves in the wall of the barn and the meeting broke up hurriedly. Everyone fled to his own sleeping place. The birds jumped on to their perches, the animals settled down in the straw, and the whole farm was asleep in a moment.


THREE NIGHTS LATER old Major died peacefully in his sleep. His body was buried at the foot of the orchard.

This was early in March. During the next three months there was much secret activity. Major’s speech had given to the more intelligent animals on the farm a completely new outlook on life. They did not know when the Rebellion predicted by Major would take place, they had no reason for thinking that it would be within their own lifetime, but they saw clearly that it was their duty to prepare for it. The work of teaching and organising the others fell naturally upon the pigs, who were generally recognised as being the cleverest of the animals. Preeminent among the pigs were two young boars named Snowball and Napoleon, whom Mr. Jones was breeding up for sale. Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for getting his own way. Snowball was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character. All the other male pigs on the farm were porkers. The best known among them was a small fat pig named Squealer, with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice. He was a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive. The others said of Squealer that he could turn black into white.

These three had elaborated old Major’s teachings into a complete system of thought, to which they gave the name of Animalism. Several nights a week, after Mr. Jones was asleep, they held secret meetings in the barn and expounded the principles of Animalism to the others. At the beginning they met with much stupidity and apathy. Some of the animals talked of the duty of loyalty to Mr. Jones, whom they referred to as Master, or made elementary remarks such as Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we should starve to death. Others asked such questions as Why should we care what happens after we are dead? or If this Rebellion is to happen anyway, what difference does it make whether we work for it or not? and the pigs had great difficulty in making them see that this was contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The stupidest questions of all were asked by Mollie, the white mare. The very first question she asked Snowball was: Will there still be sugar after the Rebellion?

No, said Snowball firmly. We have no means of making sugar on this farm. Besides, you do not need sugar. You will have all the oats and hay you want.

And shall I still be allowed to wear ribbons in my mane? asked Mollie.

Comrade, said Snowball, those ribbons that you are so devoted to are the badge of slavery. Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than ribbons?

Mollie agreed, but she did not sound very convinced.

The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr. Jones’s especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place.

Their most faithful disciples were the two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover. These two had great difficulty in thinking anything out for themselves, but having once accepted the pigs as their teachers, they absorbed everything that they were told, and passed it on to the other animals by simple arguments. They were unfailing in their attendance at the secret meetings in the barn, and led the singing of Beasts of England, with which the meetings always ended.

Now, as it turned out, the Rebellion was achieved much earlier and more easily than anyone had expected. In past years Mr. Jones, although a hard master, had been a capable farmer, but of late he had fallen on evil days. He had become much disheartened after losing money in a lawsuit, and had taken to drinking more than was good for him. For whole days at a time he would lounge in his Windsor chair in the kitchen, reading the newspapers, drinking, and occasionally feeding Moses on crusts of bread soaked in beer. His men were idle and dishonest, the fields were full of weeds, the buildings wanted roofing, the hedges were neglected, and the animals were underfed.

June came and the hay was almost ready for cutting. On Midsummer’s Eve, which was a Saturday, Mr. Jones went into Willingdon and got so drunk at the Red Lion that he did not come back till midday on Sunday. The men had milked the cows in the early morning and then had gone out rabbiting, without bothering to feed the animals. When Mr. Jones got back he immediately went to sleep on the drawing-room sofa with the News of the World over his face, so that when evening came, the animals were still unfed. At last they could stand it no longer. One of the cows broke in the door of the store-shed with her horns and all the animals began to help themselves from the bins. It was just then that Mr. Jones woke up. The next moment he and his four men were in the store-shed with whips in their hands, lashing out in all directions. This was more than the hungry animals could bear. With one accord, though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung themselves upon their tormentors. Jones and his men suddenly found themselves being butted and kicked from all sides. The situation was quite out of their control. They had never seen animals behave like this before, and this sudden uprising of creatures whom they were used to thrashing and maltreating just as they chose, frightened them almost out of their wits. After only a moment or two they gave up trying to defend themselves and took to their heels. A minute later all five of them were in full flight down the cart-track that led to the main road, with the animals pursuing them in triumph.

Mrs. Jones looked out of the bedroom window, saw what was happening, hurriedly flung a few possessions into a carpet bag, and slipped out of the farm by another way. Moses sprang off his perch and flapped after her, croaking loudly. Meanwhile the animals had chased Jones and his men out on to the road and slammed the five-barred gate behind them. And so, almost before they knew what was happening, the Rebellion had been successfully carried through: Jones was expelled, and the Manor Farm was theirs.

For the first few minutes the animals could hardly believe in their good fortune. Their first act was to gallop in a body right round the boundaries of the farm, as though to make quite sure that no human being was hiding anywhere upon it; then they raced back to the farm buildings to wipe out the last traces of Jones’s hated reign. The harness-room at the end

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What people think about Animal Farm and 1984

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Critic reviews

  • Two classic works of dystopian, alternative reality, anti-establishment principles, this combination edition of both 1984 and Animal Farm packs Orwell's two most influential books under one cover. The foreword by Christopher Hitchens is a nice touch, and launches the readers into the tales with thought provoking ideas. Animal Farm is a must read, and Orwell's ability to transform a concept we are all familiar with, and tell it through the eyes of animals, is fascinating. Even as you see things start to go south, you hold out hope, you hold out with reason, waiting for it to start to turn positive again. This is far different than 1984, where you are cast into despair instantly at the start of the book. 1984 is grungier, dirtier, and makes you feel a crawling up your back, makes you feel like you need to do SOMETHING. Both are must reads, and having them together gives you no excuse to not pick them up today.

    Scribd Editors
  • Orwell is the father of modern thought-provoking stories, in my opinion, and both 1984 and Animal Farm are extremely disturbing in their own right. In 1984 we start with a world that is already in shambles, a world that is already controlled by a dystopian government who shuts down rebellion nearly before it is even thought of. There is no freedom, no chance of escape, and it is through Smith's story that we watch the population get beat down again and again. Animal Farm, on the other hand, takes a different approach. We start with injustice, but not heavy, and the power quickly shifts to the animals, giving a sense of hope. However, power corrupts, and as we watch the mantle of power become greedily guarded by the pigs, a dreadful feeling will develop deep inside of you. Both stories share common themes, but told in such unique ways that you will learn unique things from each.

    Scribd Editors

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    A really good book
  • (5/5)
    I think this is one that everyone needs to read at some point in their lives. It is such a powerful perspective on society that still applies today. I definitely recommend it.
  • (5/5)
    Not really a review: A reread of both books; Animal Farm from the early 1960s; 1984 from a few years later. Both books are about like I remember them.Animal Farm reads like a fable, which of course it is. 1984's really powerful, and depressing.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    If you haven't read this book do it. It becomes ever more relevant with each day.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Powerful, dreadfully honest clearly expressed point of view of human history and Nature. Masterfully realistic and painfully agreeable. Just wonderful.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    Animal Farm: I surprised myself by knocking this book hour within three hours. It's essentially he less graphic, less intense predecessor to 1984. A highly allegorical commentary on Stalinism.1984: It's one of those "must read" books. I'm ashamed I didn't read it until recently. Like everyone else, I knew some of the basic already. Newspeak, thoughtcrime, etc. What I didn't know were the specifics. I knew things weren't going to end well, and I had my suspicions, but it managed to catch me off guard on exactly when and where things went down. It's so quotable too, in a terrible warning kind of way.