My HP7 book is going to come only at the end of September, so I needed some books to kill time during this interval. I was looking for books that are not too big, yet interesting. One of my colleagues suggested that I should read George Orwell's Animal Farm
. So I decided to check it out.
The animals at Manor Farm are unhappy with it's owner Mr. Jones. They really work hard for him, but find that they are not treated properly. One day, Major (an elder pig), suggests them that they should rebel against their owner at some point in time and teaches them a song "Beasts of England".
Soon Major dies of old age and his song becomes an anthem to unite the animals of the farm. The pigs being the most intelligent take on the role of plotting the rebellion, while all other animals contribute in their own capacity. And suddenly one fine day the rebellion occurs and the animals successfully manage to overthrow Mr. Jones and gain control of their destiny and the farm.
Immediately the euphoria of the victory leads them to a huge celebration and setting up of Seven Commandments for the rule of the animals over the world.
The Commandments go as:
1) Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2) Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3) No animal shall wear clothes.
4) No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5) No animal shall drink alcohol.
6) No animal shall kill any other animal.
7) All animals are equal.
So a new reign based on idealism begins in the ideal farm. The pigs are at the forefront with the duo of Napolean and Snowball organizing things and all others contributing at their own levels to capacities. Most animals buoyed by this success give more than 100% and none typifies it more than Boxer whose personal motto "I will work harder."
But, soon power begins to corrupt and Napolean and Snowball seem to be enjoying a bit more luxuries than others. Also a power struggle begins between Napolean and Snowball. One fine day Snowball is overthrown by Napolean with the help of 9 huge dogs that Napolean had secretly groomed. Now Napolean becomes more like a dictator and begins to rule the farm with and Iron Hand.
His minister so to speak is Squealer, who keeps making rounds of the farm to convince everyone of Napolean's greatness. Soon people stop calling him Napolean and he becomes a leader. Slowly the animals realize that each of the commandments gets modified to suit the lifestyle of the pigs. In the end, there is only one commandment which says " All animals are born equal, though some are more equal than others. "
The story is a stunning satire on the evolution of the political setup the world wide. Though the use of term "Comrade" tends to show it more as a take on Communist idealogies, the story holds equally good for all political systems. That is why in each country these days we find four or five families who seem to be all powerful and above the law, whereas the rest of us live in constant fear of almost everything!!
Using farm animals and their characteristics, George Orwell , has depicted how the initial idealism soon gets corrupted by hunger for power, corruption and betrayal. The story also depicts how things like lack of education, the power of media and potrayal is used to give any story a different viewpoint and depict things in a manner that looks great.
Also, through the character of Squealer, George depicts those smooth talking miserables who create an aura of greatness around a normal person and hides the dark machinations of the person and shows them in a brighter light.
What makes the book worth reading is George way of depicting cynism in highly poignant and witty manner. The message is delivered direct and in a manner that does not offend. I believe that all individuals should read this book at some time or other as this remains true even in todayalled equal world. As they say, " All men are born equal, some are more equal than others !!"
Summary Animal Farm
is one of the best political satires that I have read till now. I would give this short story a high five rating.