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Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Animal Farm Book Review

All animals are equal—but some animals are more equal than others. Renowned for being a classic pen in the world of dystopian literature, journalist and novelist George Orwell’s satirical take on Joseph Stalin’s totalitarian regime in Soviet Russia gave birth to a classic fable: Animal Farm.

The Animal Farm Book Review
Image: Teachwire

Basically, animals take the center stage in Orwell’s characterization. But the story itself would overlap the nature of a classic fable: indeed, it is a harsh indictment of Stalin’s rise to power and Russia’s descent into communism through a motif of revolution and its collapse.

The story begins with Old Major, the Manor Farm’s prize-winning boar, gathering all the animals in the farm to regale to them a prophecy he had encountered in a good night’s sleep—about the realization of a society where the animals without class oppression. After his death in three days’ time, three pigs—Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer—would take upon his premonition and work to formulate the ideology called Animalism, the guiding principle of what would become the animals’ revolution a few days later—throwing Mr. Jones and his wife out of their farm. 

In their uprising’s immediate aftermath, the pigs were able to build a society without oppression, where prosperity is not a mere dream. Indeed, it has become a paradise that they would later call Animal Farm. However, things had taken a turn for the worst when Napoleon started his pursuit of absolute power. Because Napoleon and Snowball shared different ideas on how to push through with the farm’s future, their quibble intensifies—until Snowball was chased out of the farm, and Napoleon assumes the leadership of the farm.

Under Napoleon’s watch, the animals’ communal living would be disrupted by his “great purge,” where any animal accused of conspiracy with Snowball to overthrow him would be quickly subjected to death by assault. This would start the Animal Farm’s path down to its uneventful collapse, where Animalism’s doctrines would be discarded and the farm would eventually be reverted back to human control.

The Animal Farm Book
Image: The Telegraph
Reading through Orwell’s classic novel is a mesmerizing experience; indeed, what sorcery had he incorporated in here to narrate the tale of a revolution that had devoured and blinded its own children, in a satirical manner that’s also understandable to the masses? Perhaps, that’s where Animal Farm’s magic lies: the power of a simple narrative that speaks volumes about how one man’s thirst for absolute power can reverse an entire revolutionary gallop away from exploitation and bring the old social order back.

In its time, Animal Farm was seen as a rebuke to Stalin’s dictatorship. But after several decades, it seems that Orwell’s masterpiece carries a deeper and more relevant message: wherever and whenever freedom is under siege, borne on whatever banner, the choice would always be to resist. I will give 10/10 grade for this, since Animal Farm is definitely a must-read—especially in our dystopian times. From revolution to totalitarianism


Written by Karl Patrick Wilfred M. Suyat, IFY Books

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