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Book's I've Read My Journal

Book Title: Animal Farm Author: George Orwell


Publisher:

's David

Books

Date Read:

April 2011

Martin Secker & Warburg Fiction; Fable; Allegory

Date Published: Pages:

1945 112

Type of Book:

Recommended By: Nobody

Summary
It is the history of a revolution that went wrong and of the excellent excuses that were forthcoming at every step for the perversion of the original doctrine, wrote Orwell for the first edition of Animal Farm in 1945. after publisher. Orwell wrote the novel at the end of 1943, but it almost remained unpublished. It's savage attack on Stalin, at that time Britains ally, led to the book being refused by publisher Orwell's simple, tragic fable, telling what happens when the animals drive out Mr. Jones and attempt to run the farm themselves, has since become a world-famous classic.

Themes
Corruption Class Division Power of Propaganda Danger of nave working class

Major Characters
Napoleon Snowball Boxer Squealer Old Major
The pig who emerges as the leader of Animal Farm after the rebellion. Uses military force to intimidate the others and gain control. Joseph Stalin. The pig who challenges Napoleon for control of Animal Farm after the rebellion. He is intelligent, passionate, and eloquent, but not ruthless enough to succeed. Leon Trotsky. The cart-horse whose incredible strength, dedication, and loyalty help Animal Farm prosper in the beginning. A hard worker, but a little slow in the head. He shows a lot of devotion to the ideals of Animal Farm but little ability to think about them independently. The Exploited Working Class. The pig who spreads Napoleon's propaganda He justifies the monopolization of resources and spreads false statistics to show the farm's success. The Propaganda Machine. The prize-winning boar whose vision of a socialist country serves as the inspiration for the rebellion. Three days after describing the vision and teaching the animals the song Beasts of England, Major dies, leaving Snowball and Napoleon to struggle for control of his legacy. Marx and Vladimir Lenin.

Minor Characters
Clover Moses Mollie Benjamin Muriel Mr. Jones Mr. Frederick Mr. Pilkington Mr. Whymper
A good-hearted female cart-horse. Clover often suspects the pigs of breaking one of the Seven Commandments, but she repeatedly blames herself for misremembering the commandments. The rave who spreads stories about Sugarcandy Mountain, the paradise where animals go when they die. The role of Moses shows how communism exploits religion as a way to pacify the oppressed. The Church. The vain mare who pulls Mr. Jones carriage. Mollies craves the attention of human beings and loves being groomed and pampered. She has a difficult time on Animal Farm. She represents the bourgeois that fled Russia a few years after the Russian Revolution. The donkey who refuses to feel inspired by the Rebellion. He believes that life will remain unpleasant no matter who is in charge. He is the only animal that really understands the changes that are taking place on Animal Farm, but he either can't or doesn't want to oppose the pigs. The white goat who reads the Seven Commandments to Clover. The drunk farmer who runs the Manor Farm before the animals stage their rebellion. He is an unkind master who lives a great life while he animals have no food. Tsar Nicholas II. The operator of the neighboring farm, Pinchfield. Roughly based on Adolf Hitler. He proves to be an untrustworthy neighbor. The easygoing gentleman farmer who runs Foxwood. Represents the Capitalist governments of England and America. The enemy of Mr. Frederick. The lawyer who is hired by Animal Farm to represent the farm in human society.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed reading this book. I had read this book before when I was younger, but now it was much easier to understand because I have some interest in the topic covered in this book. The great thing about this book is that if a person had no idea about the history of the book or why it was written, it would be a very quick and easy book to read. Almost light and enjoyable. However, most people in the world know what the book is trying to say, so it makes it difficult for someone to read the book with an open mind. Another interesting thing about this book is that Orwell was a socialist. He firmly believed in the concept of socialism and I think he wrote this book because he became disillusioned with the corruption of socialism in the Soviet Union. I think he really believed in the concept or the ideal of socialism, but not the practical application of it. He said in the introduction to the book that he wanted the moral to be that revolutions only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert and know how to chuck out their leaders as soon as the latter have done their job. To say the least, I think this is a good book for anybody who is interested in the Cold War, socialism, or the Soviet Union. However, if a person has no interest in history or deep thinking, this book is not for them. All in all, a good read.

Favorite Lines
It has continued to comment on a series of late twentieth-century revolutions that have followed the inexorable course of the fiction itself. All revolutions are failures, but they are not all the same failure,insists Orwell. Yet, the pattern of failure he describes as good intentions are followed by the emergence of oppressive elites and the imposition of control through force and propaganda has acquired a pre-emptive authority. (As we have seen in the past couple of years, there have been many revolutions around the world. But have things really changed for the better? Have the lives of the average person really improved? Or, have the new old terrible leaders just been replaced by new terrible leaders? I don't know.) 1

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 English 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. (The feeling by the normal man in a society often leads to these types of feelings. That is why revolutions start in the first place. People are unhappy with their lives and they want to change. Unfortunately, most individuals don't actually know how or what to change. My personal philosophy is change just to change is not necessarily a good idea. Sometimes the things that we have now are not as bad as we think.) Only get ride of Man, and the produce of our labor would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free.

(This is a common thought amongst the working class. However, the thing is often forgotten is who had the ideain the first place. Who created, invented, thought up the product that the workers are producing? That is the real value. Anybody can work in a factory, but it takes a special person to create or invent something. Often when the workers take over,things go well for a while and then slowly fail due to the lack of innovation and creativity.) Beasts of England Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland, Beasts of every land and clime, Hearken to my joyful tidings Of the golden future time. (The song continues, but I thought the important part was the line about the golden future time. I think every revolution talks about and promises a wonderful future. How many of these revolutions actually produce such a future?) The others said of Squealer that he could turn black into white. (Every good revolution must have an excellent propaganda machine. I am not just talking about the socialist revolution, but also about political change, religious change, etc. Aren't some of the best propaganda machines in America the churches, the politicians, the people we follow? What was Obama's slogan during the 2008 Presidential Race - Change you can believe in! What has changed? Are things better? Just because you talk about something doesn't mean that it is true and doesn't mean that you should get a Nobel Prize. True change affects the lives of real people.) With one accord, though nothing of the kind had been planned beforehand, they flung themselves upon their tormentors.

6 (Don't all historical accounts of revolutions claim this spontaneous rebellion by the people? I hardly believe that every revolution throughout history was void of some time of leadership or behind the scenes manipulation.) The Seven Commandments 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. No animal shall wear clothes. No animals shall sleep in a bed. (With sheets) No animal shall drink alcohol. (To excess) No animal shall kill any other animal. (Without cause.) All animals are equal. (But some are more equal than others.)

(I love how the revolution starts out with noble intentions. As the book progresses, we can see how the revolution is corrupted by the leaders and how they change the rules to benefit themselves.) The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership. 8 (Isn't this the fundamental problem with failed revolutions? The leaders never want to do the difficult work. They are very good at delegating, but not good at gaining the trust of the average person.) His answer to every problem, every setback, was I will work harder! 9 (Thank god for the common uneducated masses in oppressed societies!)

The reading and writing classes, however, were a great success. By the autumn almost every animal on the farm was literate in some degree. 10 (This was true in the majority of the socialist countries during the Cold War. Educational quality improved dramatically and many of the best ideas in the world came from these countries. Look at the high number of Nobel Prize winners from the countries associated with socialism during the Cold War.) Napoleon took no interest in Snowball's committees. He said that the education of the young was more important than anything that could be done for those who were already grown up. 11 (Of course! If you get the children when they are young, you have plenty of time to guide their thought process and turn them into your loyal supporters.) Comrades! he cried. You do not imagine , I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you now what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! (The inequality starts.) Though not yet full-grown they were huge dogs, and as fierce-looking as wolves. They kept close to Napoleon. It was noticed that they wagged their tails to him the same way as the other dogs had been used to do to Mr. Jones. . . . He announced that from now on the Sunday-morning Meetings would come to an end. They were unnecessary, he said, and wasted time. In future all questions relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a special committee of pigs, presided over by himself. (Power is consolidated.) But suddenly the dogs sitting round Napoleon let out deep, menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent and sat down again. (The KGB.) Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. 15 (Sure!) Whenever anything went wrong it became usual to attribute it to Snowball. 16 (Always a good idea to blame somebody else for our problems. That way we never have to really deal with anything.) On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding a long strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them lists of figures proving that the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by two hundred percent, three hundred percent, or five hundred percent, as the case might be. The animals saw no reason to disbelieve him, especially as they could no longer remember very clearly what conditions had been liked before the Rebellion. (This is part of the reason that the Soviet Union eventually collapsed. The leaders had been lying for so long about economic successes, that eventually the only real economy was the underground economy. The official economy only existed on paper.) As yet, no animal had actually retired on pension but of late the subject had been discussed more and more. 18 (How true in former socialist countries. Everybody will retire at age 55 and receive a nice pension from the government and a cottage in the woods. In reality, most pensioners living in these countries had next to nothing.) But if there were hardships to be borne, they were partly offset by the fact that life nowadays had a greater dignity that it had before. There were more songs, more speeches, more processions. (What would you rather have, a comfortable life with less dignity or a hard life with lots of songs and parades?) They (the pigs) all declared contemptuously that his (Moses) stories about Sugarcandy Mountain were lies, and yet they allowed him to remain on the farm, not working, with an allowance of a gill of beer a day. 20 (If they hated religion so much, why did they allow Moses to remain on the farm? Most likely, they let him live on the farm because he provided some sense of hope and contentment for the common worker. Without this hope, maybe the common worker would want to start another revolution!)

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The truest happiness he said, lay in working hard and living frugally. 21 (I agree with this for the most part. However, the problem with Napoleon's thinking is that he doesn't give the average person a choice. In his system, this lifestyle is a must,not a choice.) But still, neither pigs nor dogs produced any food by their own labor; and there were very many of them, and their appetites were always good. 22 (Another problem. The laziest people are often the largest consumers of goods. So, 90% of the people do all the work to provide 90% of the resources for the remaining 10%.) The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which. (And the revolution is over because the leaders became exactly the same as the old leaders.)

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