It was only last year that I read Orwell’s 1984 and it scared the bejesus out of me. I knew that Orwell had written Animal Farm, but I didn’t know enough about it to read it. Younger me thought it was a book for children. How wrong I was!
It was only when I spotted this in a shop with a new cover design on it that I finally picked it up off the shelf to read the blurb. I found the cover to be really striking. The book, as well as Orwell’s other titles, we redesigned by urban artist Shepard Fairey.
So, Wikipedia says it’s an allegorical novel. It represents the Russian revolution of 1917 and then Soviet Union as it was under Stalin. I did Of Mice and Men at school so I’ll let a GCSE English or History student tell you how well the allegory stands. I’ll let you know what I thought of the story itself.
The animals on the farm are sick of having to work for “The Man” and they take over the farm. The pigs take charge because they’re the most intelligent. They write seven commandments they keep changing to suit their wishes. Four legs good, two legs bad becomes four legs good, two legs better. No animal shall drink alcohol, becomes no animal shall drink alcohol to excess. The animals try to build up the farm despite a constant threat from forces both inside and outside the farm.
The pigs in this book are utter bastards. They manipulate the other animals and get the most food and the comfiest beds because they’re the “only” ones keeping the humans from coming back. So excuse me while I go eat a shit tonne of bacon, because we need to stop the pigs before they get any ideas.
Would the pigs have been so successful in their efforts had they not been the most intelligent? If none of them were superior in intelligence, would it have been a question of pure brute strength? The pigs relied on the stupidity of the other animals as a way to control them. If you took that away, where would the pigs fall then?
It was only a short story, less than 100 pages. It could be developed into something a lot more. I’ve got so many questions about what happened. The book was told only from the side of the animals on the farm, but what about everyone else? Where did Snowball go? What did everyone say when Mr Jones said his farm had been taken over by animals? They must have thought he was crazy.
Obviously, it’s been adapted a few times, both live action and cartoon. I’d like to see it done like a really dark zombie film. Like an old war film, deadly serious but with animals. There has been a game announced in August 2017, so I’ll be interested to see how they take it.
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