Book Report on George Orwell's Animal Farm

Topics: Animal Farm, The Animals, Barn Pages: 11 (4582 words) Published: March 9, 2008
Animal Farm is a book written by George Orwell – whose real name was Eric Blair – published in 1945. An all-knowing narrator in the third person tells the story of an animal revolution on a farm located somewhere in England. The plot is based on the Russian revolution and Stalin's use of power, and Orwell uses farm animals to portray both the people of power and the common people during this time. The main characters can be pointed out as the pigs Old Major, Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer; the horses Boxer, Clover and Mollie; the goat Muriel; the raven Moses; the donkey Benjamin; the sheep; and the humans Mr. Jones, Mr. Pilkington , Mr. Frederick and Mr. Whymper. There is no clear central character in the novel, but the dictatorial Napoleon is responsible for most of the action. The book starts with Mr. Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, stumbling drunkenly to bed after forgetting to secure his farm buildings properly. As soon as his bedroom light goes out, all farm animals except Moses, his tame raven, go to the big barn to hear Old Major, an old prize boar highly respected by the animal community. Sensing that he is about to die, he wishes to share with the rest of the animals some of the wisdom he has acquired during his lifetime. He says the plain truth is that the lives of animals are miserable, laborious, and short. They are born into the world as slaves, work incessantly from the time they can walk, being fed only enough to keep breath in their bodies, and then are slaughtered mercilessly when they are no longer useful. He notices that there is no natural reason for their poverty and misery. According to him, the human oppressors are the cause. He declares that Mr. Jones has been exploiting them for ages, taking all the products of their labor – eggs, milk, dung, foals – for himself and producing nothing of value to offer them in return. Then, he tells the dream he had had the previous night, of a world in which animals live without the tyranny of men: they are free, happy, well fed, and treated with dignity. He urges the animals to do everything they can to make this dream a reality and exhorts them to overthrow the humans. He believes that they can succeed in a rebellion if they achieve solidarity, a "perfect comradeship" of all of the animals against the humans, and if they resist the false notion spread by humans that animals and humans share common interests. Then, a brief debate arises about the status of rats as comrades. Old Major then provides a precept that will allow the animals to determine who their comrades are: creatures that walk on two legs are enemies; those with four legs or with wings are allies. He reminds his audience that the ways of man are completely corrupt. Once the humans have been defeated, the animals must never adopt any of their habits; they must not live in a house, sleep in a bed, wear clothes, drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, touch money, engage in trade, or tyrannize another animal. He teaches, then, a song called "Beasts of England," which tells of the ideal animal community of his dream. The animals start singing it, until Mr. Jones, thinking that the noise was made by a fox entering into the yard, fires a shot, making them all go to sleep. Three nights later, Old Major dies, and for three months the animals make secret preparations to carry out the rebellion. The work of teaching and organizing goes to the pigs, the cleverest of the animals, and especially to Napoleon and Snowball. Together with the persuasive Squealer, they formulate the principles of a philosophy called Animalism, which they spread among the other animals, who start calling each other "comrade." At first, many of the animals find the principles of Animalism difficult to understand, as they have grown up believing that Mr. Jones was their proper master. Yet, the pigs' most troublesome opponent proves to be Moses, the raven, who flies around spreading tales of a place called Sugarcandy Mountain, to where animals go...
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