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.
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When Animal Farm was published in 1945, its British author George Orwell (a pseudonym for Eric Arthur Blair) had already waited a year-and-a-half to see his manuscript in print. Because the book criticized the Soviet Union, one of England's allies in World War II, publication was delayed until the war ended. It was an immediate success as the first edition sold out in a month, nine foreign editions had appeared by the next year, and the American Book-of-the-Month Club edition sold more than a half-million copies. Although Orwell was an experienced columnist and essayist as well as the author of nine published books, nothing could have prepared him for the success of this short novel, so brief he had considered self-publishing it as a pamphlet. The novel brought together important themes—politics, truth, and class conflict—that had concerned Orwell for much of his life. Using allegory—the weapon used by political satirists of the past, including Voltaire and Swift—Orwell made his political statement in a twentieth-century fable that could be read as an entertaining story about animals or, on a deeper level, a savage attack on the misuse of political power. While Orwell wrote Animal Farm as a pointed criticism of Stalinist Russia, reviews of the book on the fiftieth-anniversary of its publication declared its message to be still relevant. In a play on the famous line from the book, "Some animals are more equal than others," an Economist reviewer wrote, "Some classics are more equal than others," and as proof he noted that Animal Farm has never been out of print since it was first published and continues to sell well year after year. Animal Farm Summary
As Animal Farm opens, Mr. Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, is drunkenly heading to bed. The animals gather in the barn as Old Major, the prize boar, tells them that he has thought about the brutal lives that the farm animals lead under human bondage and is convinced that a rebellion must come soon, in which the animals throw off the tyranny of their human oppressors and come to live in perfect freedom and equality. Major teaches the animals "Beasts of England," a song which will become their revolutionary anthem.
A few days later, Major dies. The animals, under the leadership of the pigs, begin to prepare for the Rebellion. Two of the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, elaborate Major's ideas into a complete system of thought known as Animalism. The Rebellion comes much sooner than anyone thought, and the animals break free of Jones's tyranny and drive the humans from the farm. Snowball and Napoleon paint over the name "Manor Farm" on the gate, replacing it with "Animal Farm ." They also paint the basic principles of Animalism on the wall of the barn:
THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.
The farm passes through an idyllic time in which the animals work joyously together and make a great success of the harvest. The animals all attend weekly planning meetings at which the decisions for the future of the farm are made. After realizing that some of the other animals cannot read or remember the Seven Commandments, Snowball boils these commandments down to a single maxim: "Four legs good, two legs bad." But all of the milk and apples on the farm, it seems, are now to be reserved for the pigs alone.
News of the Rebellion at Animal Farm begins to spread, and animals across the countryside are singing "Beasts of England." The neighboring farmers, led by Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood and Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield Farm, attempt to retake Animal Farm by force. The animals, led by Snowball, successfully fight off the invaders in what comes to be known as the Battle of the Cowshed. Snowball is decorated as an Animal Hero, First Class.
(Rated by 2 Council Members)