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Jaxon Miller
Jaxon Miller

The Animal Book


Animal Farm is a beast fable,[1] in the form of a satirical allegorical novella, by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945.[2][3] It tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free, and happy. Ultimately, the rebellion is betrayed, and under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon, the farm ends up in a state as bad as it was before.




The Animal Book



According to Orwell, Animal Farm reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union.[1][4] Orwell, a democratic socialist,[5] was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, an attitude that was critically shaped by his experiences during the Barcelona May Days conflicts between the POUM and Stalinist forces during the Spanish Civil War.[6][a] In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as a satirical tale against Stalin ("un conte satirique contre Staline"),[7] and in his essay "Why I Write" (1946), wrote that Animal Farm was the first book in which he tried, with full consciousness of what he was doing, "to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole".[8]


The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, but US publishers dropped the subtitle when it was published in 1946, and only one of the translations during Orwell's lifetime, the Telugu version, kept it. Other titular variations include subtitles like "A Satire" and "A Contemporary Satire".[7] Orwell suggested the title Union des républiques socialistes animales for the French translation, which abbreviates to URSA, the Latin word for "bear", a symbol of Russia. It also played on the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques.[7]


Orwell wrote the book between November 1943 and February 1944, when the United Kingdom was in its wartime alliance with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, and the British intelligentsia held Stalin in high esteem, a phenomenon Orwell hated.[b] The manuscript was initially rejected by several British and American publishers,[9] including one of Orwell's own, Victor Gollancz, which delayed its publication. It became a great commercial success when it did appear partly because international relations were transformed as the wartime alliance gave way to the Cold War.[10]


Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005);[11] it also featured at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels,[12] and number 46 on the BBC's The Big Read poll.[13] It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996[14] and is included in the Great Books of the Western World selection.[15]


The animal populace of the poorly run Manor Farm near Willingdon, England, is ripened for rebellion by neglect at the hands of the irresponsible and alcoholic farmer, Mr. Jones. One night, the exalted boar, Old Major, holds a conference, at which he calls for the overthrow of humans and teaches the animals a revolutionary song called "Beasts of England". When Old Major dies, two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, assume command and stage a revolt, driving Mr. Jones off the farm and renaming the property "Animal Farm". They adopt the Seven Commandments of Animalism, the most important of which is, "All animals are equal". The decree is painted in large letters on one side of the barn. Snowball teaches the animals to read and write, while Napoleon educates young puppies on the principles of Animalism. To commemorate the start of Animal Farm, Snowball raises a green flag with a white hoof and horn. Food is plentiful, and the farm runs smoothly. The pigs elevate themselves to positions of leadership and set aside special food items, ostensibly for their health. Following an unsuccessful attempt by Mr. Jones and his associates to retake the farm (later dubbed the "Battle of the Cowshed"), Snowball announces his plans to modernise the farm by building a windmill. Napoleon disputes this idea, and matters come to a head, which culminates in Napoleon's dogs chasing Snowball away and Napoleon effectively declaring himself supreme commander.


Napoleon enacts changes to the governance structure of the farm, replacing meetings with a committee of pigs who will run the farm. Through a young porker named Squealer, Napoleon claims credit for the windmill idea, claiming that Snowball was only trying to win animals to his side. The animals work harder with the promise of easier lives with the windmill. When the animals find the windmill collapsed after a violent storm, Napoleon and Squealer persuade the animals that Snowball is trying to sabotage their project, and begin to purge the farm of animals accused by Napoleon of consorting with his old rival. When some animals recall the Battle of the Cowshed, Napoleon (who was nowhere to be found during the battle) gradually smears Snowball to the point of saying he is a collaborator of Mr. Jones, even dismissing the fact that Snowball was given an award of courage while falsely representing himself as the main hero of the battle. "Beasts of England" is replaced with "Animal Farm", while an anthem glorifying Napoleon, who is presumably adopting the lifestyle of a man ("Comrade Napoleon"), is composed and sung. Napoleon then conducts a second purge, during which many animals who are alleged to be helping Snowball in plots are executed by Napoleon's dogs, which troubles the rest of the animals. Despite their hardships, the animals are easily placated by Napoleon's retort that they are better off than they were under Mr. Jones, as well as by the sheep's continual bleating of "four legs good, two legs bad".


Mr. Frederick, a neighbouring farmer, attacks the farm, using blasting powder to blow up the restored windmill. Although the animals win the battle, they do so at great cost, as many, including Boxer the workhorse, are wounded. Although he recovers from this, Boxer eventually collapses while working on the windmill (being almost 12 years old at that point). He is taken away in a knacker's van and a donkey called Benjamin alerts the animals of this, but Squealer quickly waves off their alarm by persuading the animals that the van had been purchased from the knacker by an animal hospital and that the previous owner's signboard had not been repainted. Squealer subsequently reports Boxer's death and honours him with a festival the following day. (However, Napoleon had engineered the sale of Boxer to the knacker, allowing him and his inner circle to acquire money to buy whisky for themselves.)


Years pass, the windmill is rebuilt and another windmill is constructed, which makes the farm a good amount of income. However, the ideals that Snowball discussed, including stalls with electric lighting, heating, and running water, are forgotten, with Napoleon advocating that the happiest animals live simple lives. Snowball has been forgotten, alongside Boxer, with "the exception of the few who knew him". Many of the animals who participated in the rebellion are dead or old. Mr. Jones is also dead we learn, having "died in an inebriates' home in another part of the country". The pigs start to resemble humans, as they walk upright, carry whips, drink alcohol, and wear clothes. The Seven Commandments are abridged to just one phrase: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". The maxim "Four legs good, two legs bad" is similarly changed to "Four legs good, two legs better". Other changes include the Hoof and Horn flag being replaced with a plain green banner and Old Major's skull, which was previously put on display, being reburied.


Napoleon holds a dinner party for the pigs and local farmers, with whom he celebrates a new alliance. He abolishes the practice of the revolutionary traditions and restores the name "The Manor Farm". The men and pigs start playing cards, flattering and praising each other while cheating at the game. Both Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington, one of the farmers, play the Ace of Spades at the same time and both sides begin fighting loudly over who cheated first. When the animals outside look at the pigs and men, they can no longer distinguish between the two.


Orwell was committed to communicating straightforwardly, given the way that he felt words were commonly used in politics to deceive and confuse. For this reason, he is careful, in Animal Farm, to make sure the narrator speaks in an unbiased and uncomplicated fashion.[42] The difference is seen in the way that the animals speak and interact, as the general moral animals seem to speak their minds clearly, while the wicked animals on the farm, such as Napoleon, twist language in such a way that it meets their insidious desires. This style reflects Orwell's proximity to the issues facing Europe at the time and his determination to comment critically on Stalin's Soviet Russia.[42]


Immediately before writing the book, Orwell quit the BBC. He was also upset about a booklet for propagandists the Ministry of Information had put out. The booklet included instructions on how to quell ideological fears of the Soviet Union, such as directions to claim that the Red Terror was a figment of Nazi imagination.[47]


I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.


Orwell initially encountered difficulty getting the manuscript published, largely due to fears that the book might upset the alliance between Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Four publishers refused to publish Animal Farm, yet one had initially accepted the work but declined it after consulting the Ministry of Information.[49][d] Eventually, Secker and Warburg published the first edition in 1945. 041b061a72


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