Friday 28 August 2020

Book Review of 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell

This is the most savage book I've read this year, in terms of its symbolism. One must laud Orwell's sheer courage to have penned an obvious satire to the state of politics in his country and the whole world. It is easy to understand why so many publishers were loath to publish this explosive classic. 

There cannot be too many books, that showcase how gullible commonfolk allow themselves to become scapegoats for the ruthlessly selfish system of political elements. Animal Farm does just that, and more.


The language is simple, straight-forward and lucid. The events move along at a fast pace and gain momentum to increase the growing tension in the readers' minds.


Reading the book brought an old adage to mind, with a slight tweak of my own : 

Freedom means jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

It is brilliant of the writer to use various animals to symbolize humans. There is one set of animals who sacrifice everything for the hope of a better future that never arrives, and another set who uses them to maximum advantage to secure their own. The characters reflect the thought processes, characteristics and behavior of different classes of society. Moreover, the showcase of mental manipulation that accompanies extraction of unethical physical labour is showcased with utmost precision. One may even identify certain specific characters from the host of public figures in the public arena from the characters of Orwell's novel.

At the end, the predominant emotion would range from rage, pity and frustration from the subjugated hapless lot of animals (read general populace of countries) that are more pawns at the hands of cunning power.

Giving names to specific symbolic animals makes the read more relatable. The sheer foolishness of blind faith of illiterate followers who churn out more slavery in exchange for peanuts, only to be disposed off with ruthless nonchalance is best showcased by the character of the horse Boxer. 'Napolean is right' and 'I must work harder' sums up the entire lives of most of the working populace across the world. 

To have chosen pigs to symbolize the educated upper classes that fatten themselves with comfort, at the expense of hard lifetime toil of lower classes, is Orwell's savagery at its best. 

The glorified hogwash of oppression cannot be summed up better than the final altered commandment : 

All animals are equal

but some animals are more equal than others.

The book reminded me of Bama's Karukku which although different in its basic tenets, expressed the same theme of extreme oppression of lower strata of society.


Although the book was about Stalin, it rings true for many other political figures around the world and this makes Orwell's Animal Farm a timeless masterpiece.

I rate it 4.5 out of 5.

Hope my review added value to your reading journey. Do let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading, stay safe, readers. 


book photography:chethana

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