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Old 09-05-2011, 03:16 AM
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Default Animal Farm - Let Me Introduce You to a Literary Classic

I'm thinking that its time to introduce younger generations to a literary Classic

George Orwell - Animal Farm - Chapter I

Animal Farm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Animal Farm is a dystopian allegorical novella by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democratic socialist,[1] was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, especially after his experiences with the NKVD, and what he saw of the results of the influence of Communist policy ("ceaseless arrests, censored newspapers, prowling hordes of armed police" – "Communism is now a counter-revolutionary force"),[2] during the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel "contre Stalin".[3]

The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, but the subtitle was dropped by the US publishers for its 1946 publication and subsequently all but one of the translations during Orwell's lifetime omitted the addition. Other variations in the title include: A Satire and A Contemporary Satire.[3] Orwell suggested for the French translation the title Union des républiques socialistes animales, recalling the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques, and which abbreviates URSA, which is the Latin for "bear", a symbol of Russia.[3]

Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005);[4] it also places at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is also included in the Great Books of the Western World.

The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders but also how wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed and myopia destroy any possibility of a Utopia. While this novel portrays corrupt leadership as the flaw in revolution (and not the act of revolution itself), it also shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people's government is not achieved.


Animal Farm

Old Major, the old boar on the Manor Farm, calls the animals on the farm for a meeting, where he compares the humans to parasites and teaches the animals a revolutionary song, "Beasts of England".

When Major dies three days later, two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, assume command and turn his dream into a philosophy. The animals revolt and drive the drunken and irresponsible Mr. Jones from the farm, renaming it "Animal Farm".

The Seven Commandments of Animalism are written on the wall of a barn. The most important is the seventh, "All animals are equal." All the animals work, but the workhorse, Boxer, does more than others and adopts the maxim — "I will work harder."

Snowball attempts to teach the animals reading and writing; 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 personal health. Napoleon takes the pups from the farm dogs and trains them privately. When Mr. Jones tries to retake the farm, the animals defeat him at what they call the "Battle of the Cowshed". Napoleon and Snowball struggle for leadership. When Snowball announces his idea for a windmill, Napoleon opposes it. Snowball makes a speech in favour of the windmill, whereupon Napoleon has his dogs chase Snowball away. In Snowball's absence, Napoleon declares himself leader and makes changes. Meetings will no longer be held; instead, a committee of pigs will run the farm.

Using a young pig named Squealer as a mouthpiece, Napoleon announces that Snowball stole the idea for the windmill from him. The animals work harder with the promise of easier lives with the windmill. After a violent storm, the animals find the windmill annihilated. Napoleon and Squealer convince the animals that Snowball destroyed the windmill, although the scorn of the neighbouring farmers suggests the windmill's walls were too thin. Once Snowball becomes a scapegoat, Napoleon begins purging the farm, killing animals he accuses of consorting with Snowball. Meanwhile, Boxer takes up a second maxim: "Napoleon is always right."

Napoleon abuses his powers, making life harder for the animals; the pigs impose more control while reserving privileges for themselves. The pigs rewrite history, villainising Snowball and glorifying Napoleon. Squealer justifies every statement Napoleon makes, even the pigs' alteration of the Seven Commandments of Animalism. "No animal shall sleep in beds" is changed to "No animal shall sleep in beds with sheets" when the pigs are discovered to have been sleeping in the old farmhouse. "No animal shall drink alcohol" is changed to "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess" when the pigs discover the farmer's whisky. "Beasts of England" is banned as inappropriate, as according to Napoleon the dream of Animal Farm has been realised. It is replaced by an anthem glorifying Napoleon, who appears to be adopting the lifestyle of a man. The animals, though cold, starving, and overworked, remain convinced through psychological conditioning that they are better off than they were when ruled by Mr. Jones. Squealer abuses the animals' poor memories and invents numbers to show their improvement.

Mr. Frederick, one of the neighbouring farmers, swindles Napoleon by buying old wood with forged money, and then attacks the farm, using blasting powder to blow up the restored windmill. Though the animals win the battle, they do so at great cost, as many, including Boxer, are wounded. Boxer continues working harder and harder, until he collapses while working on the windmill. Napoleon sends for a van to take Boxer to the veterinarian, explaining that better care can be given there. Benjamin the donkey, who "could read as well as any pig",[5] notices that the van belongs to "Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler", and attempts to mount a rescue; but the animals' attempts are futile. Squealer reports that the van was purchased by the hospital and the writing from the previous owner had not been repainted. He recounts a tale of Boxer's death in the hands of the best medical care. Shortly after Boxer's death, it is revealed that the pigs have purchased more whisky.

Years pass, and the pigs learn to walk upright, carry whips, and wear clothes. The Seven Commandments are reduced to a single phrase: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Napoleon holds a dinner party for the pigs and the humans of the area, who congratulate Napoleon on having the hardest-working animals in the country on the least feed. Napoleon announces an alliance with the humans, against the labouring classes of both "worlds". He abolishes practices and traditions related to the Revolution, and reverts the name of the farm to "Manor Farm".

The animals, overhearing the conversation, notice that the faces of the pigs have begun changing. During a poker match, an argument breaks out between Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington when they both play the Ace of Spades, and the animals realise that the faces of the pigs look like the faces of humans and no one can tell the difference between them.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:54 AM
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It's a well known story, but I think it's one of those things that relatively few people for its level of renown have actually read. Of course, it's quite thinly veiled criticism of communism, but nonetheless accurate.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:09 AM
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Yes, it's a classic and simple tale of power going to people's heads.

When people are in power and they realise they can force their ways onto people because they have that power, then they become even more twisted.

Much like Stalin heavily persecuted, and eventually outlawed every religion, because he didn't believe in it, or like when Hitler banned other political parties because they would disagree with what he was doing. If you try to channel everyone else into only believeing what you believe, and restricting any thought outside of that, you are a dictator. By the very definition, you are now dictating to people what they should and shouldn't be.

Simple as that.
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:21 AM
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Quite the book.

From a kids standpoint, it's just a bunch of animals living their lives. From a more mature standpoint, it's a biting satire of revolution and a parallel to Stalin, and other dictators using intimidation and public execution to get what they want.

Was forced to read it in 8'th grade. Enjoyed the uniqueness of the message, but a little too eerie for my taste. The movie is pretty creepy too, even for a cartoon. This book at this point is a dark memory of my past. A dark memory I never want to go back to.

I'll leave you with that........
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter of the Glade View Post
Quite the book.

From a kids standpoint, it's just a bunch of animals living their lives. From a more mature standpoint, it's a biting satire of revolution and a parallel to Stalin, and other dictators using intimidation and public execution to get what they want.

Was forced to read it in 8'th grade. Enjoyed the uniqueness of the message, but a little too eerie for my taste. The movie is pretty creepy too, even for a cartoon. This book at this point is a dark memory of my past. A dark memory I never want to go back to.

I'll leave you with that........
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:39 AM
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We had to read this in grade 11. I enjoyed it, not a big fan of allegory, though.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fkeu'itan View Post
When people are in power and they realise they can force their ways onto people because they have that power, then they become even more twisted.

Much like Stalin heavily persecuted, and eventually outlawed every religion, because he didn't believe in it, or like when Hitler banned other political parties because they would disagree with what he was doing. If you try to channel everyone else into only believeing what you believe, and restricting any thought outside of that, you are a dictator. By the very definition, you are now dictating to people what they should and shouldn't be.

Simple as that.
I know something about Stalin & Communism - I was born in the ex-USSR; my grandfather spent 30 years of his life in GULAG. I agree with Fkeu that the book is about any dictator or dictatorship, precisely - power getting into people's heads & they become intoxicated.
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Last edited by apache_blanca; 01-05-2012 at 12:33 PM.
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