‘All animals are equal – but some are more equal than others’. When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.
A thing I want to just mention before I start this review is that I already knew the Animal Farm story before reading this. Sort of… I watched the cartoon as a kid not realising that it was Animal Farm. So for the longest time I’ve had this image of a horse dying burned into my memory and only just recently learned it was from the Animal Farm cartoon made in the 80s.
It’s actually really difficult to review Animal Farm because it is a classic and loved by so many people. The one thing I’ve found with all of George Orwell’s books (not just Animal Farm) is that they feel very modern. It’s almost eerie in a way, how he managed to write a book 60 years ago that still feels relevant to modern day.
I mean really all I can say about this is it’s a George Orwell. It’s very good. It’s definitely worth a read (it’s really short too so you should be able to finish it in one sitting). It’s the kind of book I would have enjoyed learning about in school (and I am a little surprised to be saying that). But it’s a book I would love to learn more about.
It’s actually really interesting now seeing how many times Animal Farm is referenced in modern culture. And please tell me I’m not the only one who noticed the similarities between this and Babe. Though I suppose it would be that Babe was based on Animal Farm? But it was still interesting to see the “evil” pigs in Animal Farm and how Babe turned that idea upside down. Also I can’t help but notice both had dumb sheep who repeat a single sentence (I’m not trying to make a point with that I just thought it was funny).
One last thing to mention, there is a moment in Animal Farm close to the beginning where Old Major talks about the animals being taken away to abattoirs when they are of no use to the farmer anymore. And I’m being totally serious when I say that it made me seriously think about becoming a vegetarian. I know that if I want a cheeseburger a cow had to die for that, I’m not naive or anything, but I suppose I never really thought about it before. So Animal Farm might have turned me into a vegetarian. I’m sure that was not George Orwell’s aim with this book but yeah. It happened.