Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

animal farm

Animal Farm by George Orwell is set in England. The novel begins with hardworking animals complaining about their lives on a farm. But instead of being told from the farmers perspective, the novel is told from the animals perspective. The animals have grown tired of being told what to do and when to do it. They are also tired of not having enough food to eat. In an effort to gain ownership and responsibility of the farm, the animals stage a rebellion and run Mr. Jones right out of his own farm.

Once the animals take over the farm, they create their own rules and a new way of life. At first, all animals are equal and follow a set of commandments that are posted clearly on the barn wall for all to see. Eventually, democracy ends and the pigs of the farm begin to make their own rules. The animals on the farm notice the small changes here and there but continue to believe that they are better off without their “two-legged” leader, Mr. Jones.

Animal Farm is a clear example of  how destructive  brainwashing can be.  The leader of the pact, Napoleon the pig, easily persuades the other animals that what he says is always right and convinces them that he is the smartest animal on the farm. He eventually elects himself president and becomes as close to a human as a pig could possibly get. Animal Farm becomes a dictatorship with horrible consequences. Even the hardest worker, Boxer, who believes in Napoleon and supports his every desire, is punished without due-cause.

Eventually, the Animal Farm commandments start to change right before the farm animals’ eyes. The pigs and their guard dogs take over Mr. Jones’ house, drink in excess, and create an unstable and unhealthy environment for the rest of the farm occupants. The entire story is disturbing. I was shocked at the actions of the pigs and the destruction that they caused to their once happy lives. Once their rebellion took place, all of the animals lived in harmony. Once greed took over and the pigs realized that they could take advantage of the rest of the farm, just as humans do, they decided to make the best of their own situation and become supervisors instead of hard-workers themselves.

I can’t say I disliked this novel because it is a classic, but I didn’t love it. It was a quick read, even though it took me a while to make time to actually read it, but I could have banged it out in a few hours if I didn’t have a ton of distractions on my vacation. My dad suggested that I read it so I dug through my book boxes at their house and found my copy; he always reads the books I suggest, so I owed him as much to read one of his suggestions. I thought the ending was very flat. I wouldn’t even had known it was the end except for the fact that it was the last page before the back cover.

In the end, if you have to read Animal Farm by George Orwell for school, just read it. It’s an easy book to understand and it’s an interesting way to look at the way businesses are ran and how even if humans were not around, another form of life would figure out a way to take over. If you want to read this novel for fun, go for it. It’s not much of a beach read, but it’s a quick read for a rainy day.

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