Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a communist society? George Orwell wrote Animal Farm using the metaphor of animals on a farm to talk about communism. Animal Farm is based on the Russian Revolution and many of its characters are based on real people. Some examples of this are Napoleon representing Stalin, Snowball and Leon Trotsky, and the Old Major and Karl Marx (Sparknotes). The book starts off on a farm called Manor Farm. Jones, a cruel irresponsible farmer runs the farm. After the animals get fed up with Jones’ rule they rebel and kick him out. The animals then start living without human influence. Napoleon serves as the leader for the animals because of his superior intelligence. As time passes Napoleon and the other pigs begin to start ruling in their own favour and start changing the commandments to better suit them. Life gets worse and worse for the animals under Napoleon’s rule but the animals aren’t smart enough to realize what is happening. Finally, Napoleon and the pigs abandon the whole heart of the revolution and become just like humans. All these events show that Animal Farm is a good book because it has a good plot, interesting conflicts, and important themes.
The story started and developed well and did not have a clichéd ending which allows readers to form their own opinions. There were many interesting events that added to the tension in the book and made it more engaging. One such event is when the Old Major said “Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come…but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet that sooner or later justice will be done” (Orwell 5). The Old major proposes a rebellion and all the animals agree that humans need to be overthrown. This is the inciting incident. Another part of the rising action was when Squealer said “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”(Orwell 23). Squealer was using his superior intelligence to trick the rest of the animals into thinking that they ate all the apples and drank the milk so that their brains would continue to function while in reality they just wanted them for themselves. “He announced that, by a special decree of Comrade Napoleon, ‘Beasts of England’ had been abolished. From now onwards it was forbidden to sing it” (Orwell 59). Squealer announced that Napoleon banned the song Beasts of England which was a song they all learned from Old Major before the rebellion. He banned it because he didn’t want them to realize the harshness of their lives and the song talks a lot about independence. (Animal Farm by) Because of all these events animal farm has a pleasantly interesting plot.
The book also had a good conclusion which was when the pigs started to have discussions with the other farmers on equal footing and the animals realize that the pigs are no different from the humans. “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” (Orwell 95). This interesting, cliffhanger of an ending was a good ending for the book
Orwell does a skillful job introducing and developing the conflicts in the story. One main conflict in Animal Farm is Man vs Society. An example of the man vs society conflict in the book is when the Old Major said, “Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilizes it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin”(Orwell 4). The animals were upset that they were doing all the work but only humans reaped the benefits. Napoleon was a cruel dictator and did not tolerate any opposition to his views. When the hens tried to oppose him “Napoleon acted swiftly and ruthlessly. He ordered the hens’ rations be stopped, and decreed that any animal giving so much as a grain of corn to a hen should be punished by death” (Orwell 51). Even though all the animals were supposed to be equal Napoleon altered it so that it said: “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”(Orwell 90).
Another prominent conflict in the book was Man vs Nature. “It was a bitter winter” (Orwell 49). The animals were already working in unfavourable conditions with Napoleon for a leader and the weather made matters worse. “In January the food fell short. Then it was discovered that the greater part of the potato crop had been frosted in the clamps”(Orwell 49). This further added to the animals’ misery. Because of the harsh winter, the results of the animal’s hard work had also been destroyed. “November came, with raging south-west winds…They had just noticed this when a cry of despair broke from every animal’s throat. A terrible sight had met their eyes. The windmill was in ruins” (Orwell 47). Napoleon blames Snowball for this event even though it wasn’t really Snowball who had destroyed the windmill (Orwell 47).
Animal Farm also has several important themes that positively add to the book.
One such theme is that: Things that start off good can easily turn bad.
Even though the rebellion had started off well, now the animals lived in fear and were being oppressed. “Instead-she did no know why they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind. When fierce, growling dogs, roamed everywhere, when you had to watch tour comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.” The author also says that Clover thought “If she could have spoken her thoughts, it would have been to say that this was not what they had aimed at when they had set themselves years ago to work for the overthrow of the human race.”
Another prevalent theme is that: Power easily leads to corruption.
The animals had“Muriel read the Commandment for her. It ran: ‘No animal shall kill any other animal WITHOUT CAUSE.’ Somehow or other, the last two words had slipped out of the animals’ memory”(Orwell 61). Another shock to the animals when they saw the pigs walking in a line “It was a pig walking on his hind legs.”(Orwell 89) Napoleon and the other pigs completely rebel against the Seven Commandments and start walking on two legs even though the summarized Commandment said four legs good, two legs bad. this was the climax of the book.
Another important theme is that: Hard work gains respect. As the animals worked every day they realized that “Nothing could have been achieved without Boxer, whose strength seemed equal to that of all the rest of the animals put together”(Orwell 41). Boxer was the hardest working animal it filled the other animals with admiration. “To see him toiling up the slope inch by inch, his breath coming fast, the tips of his hoofs clawing at the ground and his great sides matted with sweat, filled everyone with admiration”(Orwell 41). Boxers valour was recognized by everyone in the Battle of the Cowshed and he was rewarded for it.“The animals decided unanimously to create a military decoration, ‘Animal Hero, First Class’, which was conferred there and then on Snowball and Boxer”(Orwell 28).
As explained in this essay, Animal farm is a well-written book that has a strong plot with many tension building incidents like when Napoleon started changing some of the commandments to better suit him. The book also has an interesting conclusion that lets readers come to their own conclusion instead of a happy cliche ending. It also has good conflicts such as man vs society and man vs nature. these conflicts make the reader feel bad for the protagonists as well as keeping them interested. Last but not least it has important themes that can be applied to many areas of life. Many people have strong views on communism including Billy Graham who claims that “Communism is a religion that is inspired, directed and motivated by the Devil himself who has declared war against Almighty God.”(Billy Graham Quotes) Consider your government and its leaders carefully lest you end up like the animals in the book.