Hellllllo readers. Today it is the penultimate classic book, which is a little saddening but I have discovered something truly magical in the books that I have had the chance to read. I’m going to write a full length post on this, but I have fallen utterly in love with classic books and will be continuing to read and review for you wonderful people. For, now, the wonderful George Orwell and his monumental tale Animal Farm.
George Orwell’s chilling fable of Soviet Russia’s brutal dictatorship, Animal Farm brings to life in lucid, uncomplicated language the disastrous project of Russian Communism. This Penguin Modern classics edition includes an introduction by Malcolm Bradbury.
‘All animals are equal – but some are more equal than others’
When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.
This book has been my reader ‘lie’ for as long as I can remember. When asked if I’ve read it I nod nonchalantly and agree. Now I can smile happily and discuss it vividly. I’ve had wobbles with Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and in London, superb. 1984, not my cup of tea, but this, is, brilliant. The story as you will probably know revolves around the farm’s mistreated animals who decide to rebel and take control of their home. The farm’s prize pig has a startling dream that starts the ball rolling in the animal’s heads. They over-rule the terrible owners and force them out of the farm, renaming it Animal Farm in the process, (figures.) They have a new set of laws revolving around the thought that ‘all animals are equal.’ However, the Pigs, the most intelligent of the animals decide that they ought to take the leading role and eventually become the dictators of the farm and the others are in a worse position than they were to begin with.
The book was a painfully honest picture of Soviet Communism seen in the portrayal of the ‘pigs.’ I have found in all of Orwell’s book that he manages to get such messages into his writing so fluidly and much like 1984 this book had a strangely prophetic feel to it as a whole. Many of the events discussed in the book can be seen and it is eerily ironic. As well as this truly political message you also get an utterly all-consuming story that is told with such clarity and understanding that it left me a little moved. The animals come to life as you skip through word, after word. All evocative, honest and truly inspiring. Orwell has a way of making every single word count and I adore that.
The book uses satire to an overwhelming extent however I felt truly compassionate towards the characters especially Boxer the terribly determined work-horse who is desperate to do his best for the animals on the farm. Boxer is not just one character though, he in turn represents all of the workers caught in the regime that stripped them of everything. Each of the characters takes on a different part of the communist system; it’s such a terribly clever idea.
I liked that Orwell cuts no corners; yes he uses literary techniques but he doesn’t hide. He lays out his feelings honestly and in whole Orwell doesn’t miss a beat. The writing in style is both basic, but in his very straightforward style that is so evocative of the author as a whole. The ending is thought-provoking and a little saddening but it works to really cement the morals into the writing that leaves the reader truly moved. I truly understand why this book is a classic of the twentieth century and although I know next to nothing about the Russian revolution the themes that are explored and written about make this a timeless classic that I am so happy to have read. Brilliant, just brilliant.
(Also my copy had the most stunning images by Ralph Steadman.)
Annnnnd I can check off another square on my Summer Reads Bingo Check-list with the square ‘The “everyone” but you has read.’