This book is basically about a revolution that take place in the Manor Farm, where the animals can no longer tolerate the human owner, Mr. jones, who didn’t provide enough food for the animals, leaving them starving but forcing them to work very hard at the same time, and rise up under the commands of mainly the 3 pigs, Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer. The idea of starting a revolution was originally put forward by Old Major, which was a well-respected old boar in the farm. He then died 3 days later before the revolution started. He also announced the 7 commandments of animalism along with the phrase “four legs good, two legs bad” that time and had all animals sang the song “Beats of England” to represent their hope and freedom.
At first, under the leadership of Snowball, the farm was a success. The animals had more than enough to eat. The pigs learnt how to write so they changed the farm’s name from Manor Farm to Animal Farm and had the 7 commandments written on a barn wall for all animals to see. They had “Sunday Meetings” regularly to openly discuss about all sorts of things and to sing “Beats of England” to remind the animals that the revolution wasn’t easy and that they are finally free, having their own rights now. Snoaball even lead the farm to fight Mr. Jones and his friends who came back with guns trying to reclaim his farm but failed at last during the Battle of Cowshed by studying the book of Julius Caesar's campaigns. Despite of all the glories they had brought upon the farm, we can see the 7 commandments were started to be broken by the pigs one by one throughout the whole story.
As the story develops, Napoleon can’t stand the great leadership of Snowball anymore and so he cruelly had 9 huge dogs to chase Snowball out of the farm as it saw snowball was going to win more votes than it can do on the sunday meeting which was to let all other animals to choose whether to focus on food production as Snowball had purposed or to build a windmill to generate electricity as Napoleon wanted. Napoleon then became the leader of the farm and everything started to go down hill. Animals were forced to work extremely hard with little benefits, food portions reduced gradually, more commandment were broken, trades with humans, which was used to be forbiddened, started, Sunday Meetings were canceled, “Beats of England” are not allowed to sang and they built the windmill twice going to be a third time as it was destroyed once in a storm and one in the Battle of Windmill which was also brought unto the farm by the trades that Napoleon made with the humans and which they lost as all animals were injured some even died but Squealer, using prapaganda to fool the animals, insisted they won as he insisted the farm was much better than before.
The animals have no way to prove or to refuse the words that the pigs say as they were so easily fooled thinking that it was their own memory that failed them that life was much better that Napoleon was a good leader. They had no idea how many commandments the pigs had violated and changed as Squealer often add or delete some word on the barn wall in order to cover up the things that they pigs did.
Eventually, when all 7 commandments were broken, and that the animals had realized what the pigs really were up to, it was too late. The pigs had become human-like, walking on two legs, carrying a whip in their trotter, having a party with the humans. The farm was renamed as Manor Farm once again and the phrase of ”four legs good, two legs bad” was changed to “four legs good, two legs better”. The animals can no longer tell pig from man or from man to pig. The two have no longer have any differences.
This sounds like an ordinary fiction, a fairy story. But it is actually an extraordinarily ironic story as the author was trying to tell the story of the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the Stalin era in the Soviet Union instead. The manor farm was representing Russia and every animal represents important figures in the revolution. For example, Old Major, who raised the idea of communism, is a combination of Karl Marx and Lenin, who are the creators of communism. The rivalry between the leaders, Napoleon and Snowball, is paralleled to the rivalry between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Squealer, who served as Napoleon’s propagandist, is believed to be representing Molotov. The huge dogs that chased Snowball away and later used to monitor the animals represent the secret police KGB. On the other hand, there are also some animals representing the working class who believed that working hard could solve any problems and some represents the Russian Orthodox Church as to boost the morale of the people.
Such style that George Orwell had used to write this story was interesting yet very realistic. He made the audiences really get to know the story behind this revolution and keeping it in a much less formal way so it wont bored some of the readers to death and that we all can really gain something more about the revolution from this book.
Personally, I think this is a really inspiring book as it makes me think about to what extend that we, humans, could do to hide our faults. And the importance of using propaganda during the revolution had also been well-presented as we can all see how Squealer had the full control over the animals leading them to believe in and do whatever Napoleon wanted them to by using their fear and false statistics to make them feel proud of the farm and so as to contribute more. They lead the animals to believe Napoleon the leader is the greatest and is doing everything for their own good whilst in fact they were living such a laborious life for the luxury life of the pigs alone. It gets me thinking that whether or not we are now also living in a world that are all fooled by the authorities and blinded by the techniques or words they use and say.
Apart from propaganda, I think the techniques that the author had used to represent the significant changes of the farm were really fascinating. The expulsion of Snowball, the good leader, the breaking and amendments of the 7 Commandments of Animalism, the lost of the Battle of Windmill, the abolishment of the “Beats of England”, which represent the hope and freedom of the animals. All these were telling us that the animalism was no longer the one that the animals wanted for at the start and a huge change was always been under-going in the farm but the animals were too foolish to tell it themselves.
By reading this book, it doesn’t only make me learn more about history, it also makes me revaluate everything and have a clearer vision. It kind of changes my values and broadens my vision as I’ve learnt more to see things from the sideways. This is a really fantastic book and I gained a lot from it. I sincerely recommend this book to you all and hope you too have benefit from it. Tahnk you!