by George Orwell
Published in 2013 by the Penguin Group, London.
First published in 1945 by Martin Secker & Warburg LTD.
“If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” George Orwell, Animal Farm.
The book is set on a farm, where the animals liberate themselves from the farmer by driving him out of his own house. The animals establish a set of commandments that everyone has to follow, but early on the pigs assume leadership and begin to govern the affairs of the farm, eventually even without soliciting the views of the other animals. All of the original commandments ended up being broken as the book progressed, and in time they were replaced with new rules.
Orwell managed to capture human nature and present it in a very simple way. He wrote about a political situation which happened during the Second World War – The plot mimics the exploits of Soviet Russia, as at the beginning of the war Russia was cosy with Germany, but once Hitler invaded Russia, the Soviets turned for help to the allies. A similar thing happens in the book between Animal Farm and the two neighbouring farms. Later, the animals were oppressed by the pigs to such an extent that they were even scared to speak their minds; widespread censorship was also one trait of Soviet Russia. This book was originally published at the close of the Second World War, and Orwell states in the Appendix himself that the book is about the USSR.
I had to take breaks between the chapters when I was reading this book. I was infuriated. I was angry for the animals which were wronged by the pigs, and I was outraged because of what happened to Boxer, the loyal farm horse. (I won’t spoil anything but I suggest you read the book yourself and share my fury)
I felt all my criticisms and anger of Soviet “socialism” rise as I was reading this novel. Mainly, because Orwell managed to summarise the effect of communism and socialism in such a simple way. The fact is, that human beings cannot be equal amongst themselves because there will always be a group of people who will consider themselves the elite and above everyone else; eg. the pigs.
The text is written in a clever and simple way. It is thought provoking and allows for further reflection. It is an excellent book, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested, even a little bit, in the political agendas of the USSR, especially during and at the end of the Second World War.