Animal Farm (Book Report)

Title of book: Animal Farm

Author of book: George Orwell

Number of pages: 144 pages

Setting: An imaginary farm in England

Time: Animal Farm is not set in a specified time period. Although Orwell did not write a historical piece, he based this novel on the Russian Revolution. The story’s actions and messages, however, are ongoing activities in modern society.

Most important aspect of novel: After researching the author, one finds out George Orwell is actually the pen name of Eric Blair, an advocate of socialism. Blair wrote Animal Farm to support socialism, thinking that by showing how socialism became communism, he could show that communism was what was wrong, not socialism.

Author\'s purpose: To expose the corruption of socialist ideals in the Soviet Union, and to emphasize the danger of a naive working class.

Better understandings: I am now more aware than ever of the tendency of classes to divide into separate classes within a society. As time goes on, wealth and status begins to concentrate around a small number of the population. Animal Farm does an excellent job in revealing the animalistic drive to feel superior to your peers.

Basic problem: There are a number of conflicts in Animal Farm; however, all of them are expressions of the underlying tension between the exploited and exploiting classes. The pigs begin to impose more and more controls on the other farm animals while reserving more and more privileges for themselves. They cause the downfall to their own society.

Genre: Fable, allegory, and satire. Animal Farm is a short moral story exposing human folly using animals that speak and act like people.

Things I liked most: George Orwell is able to employ impressive symbolism and creative imagination. While the book may be a very short read, it brings a lot to the table. It gave me an interesting take on how history can be reenacted through fantasy.

Main idea: A pig named Major has a dream that none of the animals on Mr. Jones\' farm are to ever be ordered around by humans again. The animals had never seen any benefits in their daily work, and Major describes a place where animals are in charge of their own lives. When he tells his peers of this dream, a revolution is in store. However, this new utopian socialistic system is far more deceiving than it appears.

Summary: When Manor Farm\'s prize-winning pig, Old Major, calls a meeting of all the residing animals, he speaks of a dream he has had where mankind is gone, and animals are free to live peacefully and on their own terms. Old Major compares humans to parasites, and then proceeds to teach his peers a revolutionary song, "Beasts of England". The other animals grow accustomed to this form of thought, and begin hoping and preparing for the revolution of such a day. Just three days following the death of Old Major, Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer assume command. These three pigs turn Old Major’s dream into a full-fledged philosophy called Animalism.

Late one night, the animals suddenly revolt and drive Mr. Jones off his own property and take control of the farm. The animals rename the farm "Animal Farm" and begin to work hard towards a future utopia. The Seven Commandments of Animalism are written on the wall of a barn for all to read. The seventh and most important commandment reads "all animals are equal.” Animal Farm was off to a great start.

Their good fortune, however, ends all too soon when Napoleon and Snowball begin an epic power struggle over the farm. When Snowball announces his idea for a windmill, Napoleon quickly opposes it and uses his attack dogs to chase Snowball off of the farm. Napoleon then declares himself the leader of the farm and makes several communistic changes.

Napoleon begins to greatly abuse his powers. Life on the farm becomes very difficult for the rest of the animals. History is rewritten to villainize Snowball and glorify Napoleon even further. Squealer starts altering the Seven Commandments in order to support Napoleon’s actions. The song "Beasts of England" is banned as inappropriate and replaced by an anthem glorifying Napoleon. Even though the animals are cold, starving, and overworked, they remain convinced that they are still better off than when they were ruled by