Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell


Animal FarmMr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes...

This is a fantastic book.  Animal Farm is a satirical "fairy tale" about a farm of animals (duh) that grow fed up with being slaves to a human farmer and plan and execute a revolution.  Once their society is established, however,  they find that their leaders, the pigs, are even worse than the humans they longed to free themselves from.

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

George Orwell is known for his brilliant ideas and political writing.  Animal Farm is my first introduction to George Orwell's work and I have to say it did not disappoint.  Although I'm not that well-versed in the socialist/communist philosophies in Russia during Stalin's time (or any time at all actually -- I did watch The Trotsky once, but that was mostly because of the majorly ridiculous perfectly valid and legit crush I have on Jay Baruchel), I have enough general knowledge that the irony of the tale wasn't completely lost on me.  I think that someone with even less familiarity than I have would have picked it up on all the themes as well. 

Full disclosure: I did hit up Wikipedia and Sparknotes to make sure the ideas in my head were at least minimally in line with those "in the know" and guess what? They were. Stalin = Napoleon & Trotsky = Snowball. Boom. The working class loyally (blindly) following a corrupt leader believing he has their best interests at heart is a tale as old as tales can be. 

Even though it was published in 1945, I found it to be refreshing and exciting.  And it's short, so bonus.  This is the third classic I've read for The Classics Club and my first read for the Back to the Classics Challenge (A classic novella).  I'm excited to read more Orwell and I think 1984 is going to be my next pick. I'm also geared up to tackle the rest of the books on my Back to the Classics list.

...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.

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