Animal Farm

Animal farm
Von George Orwell

The author:
George Orwell, who's real name was Eric Arthur Blair was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributes regularly to the various college magazines. He left in 1921 and joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma the following year, in which he served until 1928. His first published article appeared in Le Monde in October 1928, while Orwell was living in Paris, and he returned to England in 1929 to take up work as private tutor and later as a school teacher. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. Due to his poor health, Orwell gave up teaching and worked as a part - time assistant in a Hampstead bookshop, and later was able to earn his living reviewing novels for the New English Weekly, a post he kept until 1940. At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. During the Second Word War he was a member of the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1940 to 1943. As literary editor of Tribune he contributes a regular page of political and literary commentary. From 1945 Orwell was the Observer's war correspondent and later became a regular contributor to the Manchester Evening News. Orwell suffered from tuberculosis, and was in and out of hospital from 1947 until his death 1950. He was forty - six. His publications include The Road to Wigan Pier, Coming Up for Air, Keep the Aspidistra Flying and Homage to Catalonia. Orwell's name became known with the population of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty - Four, both of which have sold more than two million copies.

About the book:

Animal farm was first published in 1945 by Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd. The story is set on a farm in England in the first half of the 20 th century. On this farm the animals chase away Mr. Jones, the farmer, and establish their own society, based on the rights and the equality of all animals. But with the passing times the system changes more and more, so that in the end it is totally different from the one they had wanted to establish at the beginning of their rebellion. It is often said that the story refers to the revolution in Russia in 1918 or nearly all revolutions in history have brought. Even very short time after the revolution the ideals and promises are not realised, the only thing what has chanced, are the names of the people, who have power and control. But the new dictatorship is not erected from one day to the other, it is a very slow process and the people don't realise it before it is too late. Typical for a totalitarian system as shown here are the existence of one enemy who is blamed for everything, the glorification of the leader or whatever he may be called and the use of some credible methods, e.g. Statistics, to convince the people that the current system is the best.

The revolution in Russia

Because of the food shortage (in the book Jones doesn't feed the animals) and a few other reasons the rebellion happened in USSR (October revolution). A new government was formed after the rebellion. The leader was Lenin. He called Stalin and Trotsky to his side (This is a point where the "Animal Farm" is incorrect: Lenin alias Old Major was already dead in the story - but not in history). They made a constitution (in the book the seven commandments) and everything seemed good. But other lands like France and England (in the book the neighbourfarms) tried to reconquer the power, but the try didn't succeed (The battle of the cowshed in the book). The economic revolution could now go further. The USSR began to commerce with other countries (with Mr. Whymper in the book) A new economy began in 1928 with the inauguration of the first Five - year plan. The plan wanted to convert the USSR from an agricultural country to a leading industrial power (This whole process is shown in the idea of the windmill in the story). But then Lenin died and the power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky began. Trotsky dreamed of a world - wide revolution - Stalin wanted this only in one country, but he wanted to be the one and only leader. In the end he expelled Trotsky and became the leader (The same which happened in the book between Napoleon and Snowball). His power was guaranteed by the red army. Helped by it, he suppressed every kind of revolts and unrest.
Nearly every character in this book has an equivalent character in the history of the USSR.

Main characters:

Mr. Jones: He represents the old imperial power, the lost zar, who had to abdicate the throne.

Old Major: Without the pig there wouldn't have been any revolution. He gives the other animals a vision, a hope for a better life an for that he is very respected. He is the personification of Lenin who is like the father for the Russians. He spread his idea of the new world to the other people.

Snowball, another pig: Snowball must be Trotsky, the intellectual, gifted leader. With all his plans and new ideas for a better life for everyone.

Napoleon, also a pig: Napoleon reflects the iron man - J. Stalin - who expelled Trotsky (Snowball) from the farm respectively from the party. He's a clever and determined organiser, but he is the military type of leader, who does everything for his own advantage.

Boxer: The cart - horse stands for the whole working class. His two mottoes are "I will work harder" and "Napoleon is always right".

The nine dogs: The dogs - Napoleons proper army - stand for the red army which defends Stalin from his enemies.

Squealer: The pig stands for the general manipulation of facts with help of the media and the whole propaganda of the Bolsheviks. He changes the bad things into good things just by telling them different. So the animals mostly believe that everything is alright.

Benjamin: The donkey represents the old, resigned and experienced part of the people, which think that nothing will change, everything will stay that bad as it is.

The story:

Mr. Jones is the owner of the "Manor Farm", he is often drunk and treats his animals badly. One night Major, an old pig, calls out for all animals to come to the big barn. He tells them about his vision of freedom and Animalism, and how their live would be improved. The main facts are that human beings are the enemies, and that the animals could only survive with a rebellion. After the speech he teaches them the song "Beasts of England". Three days later Major dies, but the animals keep his vision in mind. One day Mr. Jones comes home late and drunk and forgets to feed the animals. So the animals start the rebellion and Mr. Jones and his family have to leave. Now the farm belongs to the animals. There are two pigs Napoleon and Snowball who follow the thought of old Major and work out "The seven Rules of Animalism":
    Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend No animal shall wear clothes No animal shall sleep in a bed No animal shall drink alcohol No animal shall kill another animal All animals are equal
The pigs are more intelligent than the other animals and so they do the thinking part, the organisation, on the farm. After they have milked the cows, they all go to the fields to do the harvest, which was in this year better than ever and so all animals are satisfied. Each Sunday there is a meeting in the barn where the solutions for the problems are decided by voting, and the song "Beasts of England" is sung. Snowball tries to teach the animals reading and Napoleon takes nine puppies and brings them up hidden. There are two farms next to the Animal Farm. One day Jones comes back with a few men, leading an attack against the farm. But the animals led by Snowfall defeat it bravely. That day is called then the day of "The Battle of Cowshed". Everytime Snowfall makes a suggestion for anything Napoleon is against it. As Snowfall has the idea to build a windmill, to have later on a better live, because of the electrical power, the light and the warm water, Napoleon disagrees and lets his nine dogs attack Snowball. He has to flee and just escapes with his life. Napoleon forbids the Sunday meetings and decides all problems by himself. Some animals are against it and ask why Snowball was driven away. But Squealer, who becomes more and more the right hand of Napoleon argues that Snowball was on Mr. Jones side, and they all don't want Mr. Jones to come back. The dogs are like a security guard and every time any animal doesn't agree with the pigs, it is warned by the dogs. Napoleon even decides to let the windmill be built. During the next summer the animals work like slaves, building the windmill and working on the fields. There isn't more food than before the rebellion, it is equal or even less, but the animals mostly don't recognise, and those who do, they say: "it's better having less food, than Mr. Jones coming back". The pigs behave more and more like humans and even they move to the farmhouse. They also sleep in beds. Also the animals changed the fourth rule into "No animal shall sleep in beds with sheets". Napoleon, called the leader, starts dealing with the humans of the other farms through Mr. Whymper. In Autumn the windmill is half - built as it is destroyed by a great storm. The leader says it was Snowball who came back. There is less food in winter and so the hens have to give away their eggs for selling. The animals start to rebuilt the windmill. One day four pigs are sentenced to death and killed by the dogs, because they alleged have been in league with Snowball. A few days later the animals find the sixth rule changed into "No animal shall kill any other animal without cause". In autumn the windmill is finished and named "Napoleon Mill". Some days later it is destroyed by the farmers of the neighbour farm and about a dozen men with guns and dynamite. A lot of animals are killed, but they win again. One day a pig finds some whiskey and so they drink it. And from now on the fifth rule is changed into "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess". And again the animals start rebuilding the mill. There also should be built a school for the young pigs. One day Boxer, who is twelve years old, brakes down. Instead of bringing him to a hospital as he said, Napoleon gets Boxer to a slaughter house.
Years later only some of the animals are alive who were there before the rebellion. The farm is richer than before and the windmill has been finished, but it isn't used for electrical power, but for milling corn, which is sold. One day Squealer takes some sheeps and teaches them the new rule "Four legs good, two legs better". From that day on the pigs walk on their hind legs. Clover and Benjamin, who are both very old, go to the barn and find just one rule is left "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". A week later some humans come to the farm to celebrate a feast with the pigs, and as the other animals look through the window into the farmhouse they can't divide the pigs form the humans.

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