Month: December 2010

Book-had was reading: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Review:

Animal Farm

Power corrupts, BUT absolute power corrupts absolutely.

“Animal Farm” is an eloquent and thought provoking simple fable with a full 10/10 symbolic value. As Orwell himself explained, “It is a history of revolution that went wrong”.

The novella can be seen as a historical analysis of failure of communism or just as a mere fairy-tale. In any case, it tells us a good story of how human nature and diversity prevents people from being happy or equal.

The novel Animal Farm begins with a rousing speech by a revered boar called Old Major. Old Major speaks affectionately about a dream of a bright future where animals are free of Mr. Jones’s oppressive control. Comparing this incident with reality, a German economist called Karl Marx wrote of a similar idea, where he wrote of a day when the oppressed workers would rise against the ruling elite. In the book, Orwell has shown that the words of Old Major appealed to many animals, and thus spread quickly. As the animals grew tired of being ill-treated and under fed, they revolted against Mr. Jones. This incident can also be traced to reality, when people in Russia feeling exploited and abused formed a Bolshevik party overthrowing Tsar Nicholas II determined on forming a new government free of the disparities of the past.

Eventually, the tension gave rise to a spontaneous revolution, when the dust settled animals were in charge of their own fate. Though the revolution began with an idealistic optimism, it was doomed eventually. What the animals (and people of Russia) seemed to have aimed was an utopian sort of communism, where each would work according to his capacity, respecting the needs of others, but eventually the venture failed and animals farm ended up being a dictatorship by the pig (a.k.a Stalin).

Animal farm” successfully presents how the mechanism of brain washing works in totalitarian regimes. Orwell presents the tragedy and confusion of thought control to the extent that one seems better off, simply believing what is told to them and fed to them in various twisted forms.

In this book, Orwell shows how people in power behave the way they do and how it makes for a not-so-pretty sight. Written way back in the year 1945 is as relevant today as it was back then, for humans have not changed they have only transgressed from being conniving to even more conniving. As grim as it may sound, Animal Farm brings to us a reality that does exist and we have not been able to do anything about it.

When written it was directed at some of the major leaders of that time. It is said that Stalin used propaganda against his enemies and drove out an possible competition killing his former friend and recent rival Leon Trotsky. In Russia’s case, that threat was in the form of Adolf Hitler, who was sweeping across Europe. But Hitler soon realized that Russia wasn’t an easy target and hence a mutually beneficial treaty was signed between Hitler and Stalin.  But how long was the honeymoon to last? Not very long at all. The book depicts this and a lot more that we otherwise fail to notice.  So, you’ve got to watch out carefully for this incident too.

Animal Farm not only delves into the gloomy picture of regimes that govern us, it also shows how human psychology works, albeit with an allegory. with this book,  George Orwell teaches us that we must guard ourselves against oppression to ensure a brighter tomorrow.

Book-Had rates ‘Animal Farm’ 4/5.

– Anviksha More

Advertisements