“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
“Four legs good, two legs bad.”
-George Orwell, Animal Farm
Eric Arthur Blair, alias George Orwell, is famous for his literature Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. In Animal Farm, Orwell creates a parody of the Russian Revolution (and communism in general) by using animals. The plot events are easy to comprehend chiefly due to Orwell’s exquisite, unsophisticated prose. His unpretentious word choices and rather simplistic sentences render it easy to apprehend this powerfully biting satire. Ever since Animal Farm‘s publication in 1945, Orwell has been frequently compared to Jonathan Swift (author of the widely-eminent satire Gulliver’s Travels), and Animal Farm is commonly deemed the greatest satire of the twentieth century.
Animal Farm is about a cruel farmer who constantly abuses his animals. Fed up by his incessant abuse, the animals rebel and expel their owner from the farm. They found their own system of government and establish an utopia characterized by equality, justice, productivity, and, most notably, their constitution comprising seven commandments which is simply (and famously) summarized as “four legs good, two legs bad.” Quite spontaneously, nevertheless, this apparent utopia turns into a tyranny governed by an animal of their own kind. From thence, Animal Farm chronicles life under the tyrannical rule.
Orwell penned Animal Farm from the perspective of warning about the powers of totalitarianism. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a dramatic political reformation led by Vladimir Lenin which resulted in the dethronement of the Tsar family and the creation of the communist Soviet Union. Within a few years, the infamous Joseph Stalin seized control and became dictator. Hence, the Soviet Union was known for its tyrannical government. It played a significant part in giving communism an infamous reputation. Thus, Orwell parodied the Russian Revolution to bitingly criticize the ideologies of the Stalinist Soviet Union to raise awareness of the oppressiveness of communism.
I would recommend Animal Farm to people who like political satires, parodies, and the general reader. Animal Farm is a marvelously-written political allegory which can find interest in all readers, regardless of passion. I read the centennial edition published by N.A.L. Being a centennial edition, the edition features French flaps and deckle-edge paper. Moreover, it also contains an excellent foreword by Ann Patchett. All in all, this edition of Animal Farm was crafted for the best aesthetics while still maintaining the originality of the 100-page novella.