The satirical masterpiece Animal Farm in often considered the crowning achievement of George Orwell’s literary career. The tale reads as an allegory, commenting on modern society prior to World War II. The book is still widely taught in schools for its symbolism, as well as its social and political commentary.
Animal Farm begins on a small farm, where animals are dissatisfied with their drunken owner. After some inspirational speeches and events led by the farm’s pigs, the animals at last drive the farmer away from the farm and claim the land for themselves. They even establish a list of ‘commandments’ – seven laws that essentially determine the animal’s new farm as a fair, equal and non-humanistic society. Gradually, though, the farm changes from a democratic, fairly run environment to a dictator-like situation where pigs rule all other animals. This transformation includes the slaughter of animals that ‘oppose’ the pig’s authority, slave-like labor in the building of a windmill, and a war with a neighboring farm. Eventually, the pigs become extremely humanlike, even so far as to wear clothes, while the other animals starve and work. In the end, the farm animals are under the complete oppression of the pigs, which end being just as bad as their human neighbors.
The purpose of George Orwell’s Animal Farm was to comment on political trends, especially regarding the Russian revolution of the time. It’s intent is to show the dangers of not abiding by a democratic rule, and highlights how propaganda, government deceit and power corrupt just systems. Orwell was very mindful of the way political revolutions did not often fix the problems with the government; rather, they replaced old authoritarian rulers with new ones. Orwell’s masterpiece has been discussed, debated and reviewed by countless literary experts, politicians and independent readers for years for its outstanding allegorical detail. Though over sixty years old, it still stands as a timeless, literary achievement.