Review: “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

For the love of books

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

~ excerpt from Chapter 10 in Animal Farm by George Orwell

Political dramas are usually hard to digest for an average reader on account of their length and difficulty, but what about a political fairy tale?  The conception of Animal Farm, with all its direct and indirect messages and its straightforward analysis of political concepts, was simply brilliant.  Every perusal of this short novel by George Orwell brings one closer to the numerous connections, implications, and suggestions the author made in reference to world history and government structures.

The evils of capitalism, communism, modern “democracy,” and all their frightening similarities erupt onto the pages of Animal Farm with striking force and emotion.  Orwell used personification and various animals as analogies and/or allegories to the aspects of the human world and its inhabitants while placed within a realistic setting, but this characteristic implementation borrowed from fables only heightens the compelling and provocative reality of the truths Orwell decries throughout his novel.  The storyline is expressive through the perspectives of animals toward humanity and the manifold slavery humans have forcefully inflicted on all inanimate and animate creatures.  Next to this, Orwell emphasizes the inescapable realization that political harmony and justice cannot co-exist.

Furthermore, the diversity of the scenes in his story and the method he used to narrate it—the utmost simplicity of language and tone—only accentuate further everything the author is trying to convey to his audience.  One of the most powerful moments in Animal Farm is when Boxer (a hard-working, loyal horse) is unknowingly sentenced to death by the pigs.  This horrific murder is matched by Boxer’s steadfast and naive mottos, one of which was hand-picked from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle as a symbol of the proletarian.  “I will work harder” was a typical mentality of the average working-man and is probably the closest human analogy to Boxer’s character.  Moreover, the cruel pig Napoleon is aptly named after the notorious Emperor who also promised his country a just, free government after the French Revolution, only to replace it quickly with a monarchical empire.

Contemplating the periods of changes and deception before and after revolution, Animal Farm is not only a political discourse but also a cynical satire that examines the modern human world.  This fairy tale is a bold critique of life, and it will never cease to shock and enlighten anyone who dares to address its author’s written thoughts.  One of its parting questions comes to mind: what would happen if animals did in fact rebel against human authority?

Original review: This is no ordinary fairy tale, Examiner.com

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