Thursday 27 April 2017

ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I seriously don't know why it's taken me so long to read this, but seeing my daughter with a copy from school reminded me that I've had it on my Kindle TBR pile for ages. So today, I started reading... and couldn't stop until I reached The End.

When a pig called Major gives a powerful speech to the animals of Manor Farm, they start to thirst for a better way of living. And in order to start working towards their equality goals, they'll have to get rid of the humans--Jones, his wife & their four workers. And when they do drive Jones out and start their quest towards this utopian existence, they come up with a song, seven commandments and jobs for everyone.

Everything seems to be working okay, but it doesn't take long for someone to rise above the others. To take power into his own filthy hands by getting himself loyal guards, starting the propaganda machine, creating an imaginary enemy, controlling the flow of information, and outright brainwashing.

The 'equality' everyone wanted soon starts to slip away from their grasp, and the harsh reality settles in...

Wow. This novella is amazing. Of course I suspected it would be because 1984 is such a great book.

I absolutely loved how this story works in two ways: in the literal sense of showing what happens when farm animals attempt to steer their own path to equality AND the very political message about communism. Or any totalitarian regime, really.

It's a truly amazing thing to watch such good intentions--freedom, equality, self-reliance, community, hard work--slowly, but surely, lead to a much worse place than where the animals started. All it takes is one power-hunger, scheming pig to scare, control and gaslight everyone to the point of oppression. To have himself a spin doctor so good that most of the animals begin to actually question their memories, and to keep working for the greater good no matter how hungry and tired they are. No matter how many times they catch sight of what's really going on before they're steered away from the corruption and lies by guilt, fear and violence.

I felt so bad for the animals on this farm. Boxer, oh Boxer. :( And found myself wishing for Snowball to return and be the saviour these poor animals needed. Because as usual, the smart, brave visionary gets pushed aside by the foolish, greedy power-hungry asshole. Ugh. I disliked Napoleon and Squealer with the power of a thousand suns. What they do to their very loyal 'comrades' is heartbreaking.

This is such a clever, yet devastating story that shows exactly what happens when something that could be so good and help the community at large, gets all twisted up with greed and control. Then puts everyone, but the ones pulling the strings, in an even worse place than they were at the beginning.

So sad, but true.

I loved this SO MUCH!

"All animals are equal."

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