George Orwell is heralded by many as a prophet after having read his book, 1984, and having seen the fulfillment of much of the horror that he had predicted when he wrote the book. Government is continuously growing and the right to self, property, and mind is ever at stake of fading away. I have never read Orwell until recently and I don’t know why it has taken me so long. I was in the book store and purchased six books the other day, one of them being Orwell’s, Animal Farm. Again this was a title that I have always heard about, but have never engaged in reading it. I had seen it front and center at Books-A-Million and decided to give it a go and I am glad that I did.
Animal Farm features a farm, owned by one Mr. Jones, and the revolt and rebellion that takes place on the farm after the animals have had enough of the raw and unjust treatment that they had received by his hand. The animals eventually win the farm over and run the men and women out of its boundaries and the book then follows the government that the animals set up. It is a bit slow with the setting up of the government, but still develops at a nice enough pace and it is intriguing to see how the animals handle the affairs of the farm and how they initially view each other. They establish laws to live by and the main ones being to never trust anyone that walks on two legs and that all animals are equal. The animals do well to follow these rules as they are led by the more intellectual of the animals, two pigs by the name of Snowball and Napoleon. Later on though it is shown how the farm becomes more in disarray as certain of the animals vie for more power and become more and more like the humans that they stole the farm from.
It is an intriguing dynamic and there are similarities to our own American rebellion against the British and how our forefathers threw off the shackles that bound them and the mistreatment that they endured. The government that was originally established, a Republic even, was great and the principles of freedom and equality were grand, but as time has inevitably drifted on so have these principles and the origins of our nations founding. One note from the book is that those that are able to learn how to read and write are the ones that become the leaders of the people and that is a lesson that can be taken into the lives of any individual and that is when one applies themselves to study that the intelligence they gain garners them greater favor in society over those that do not seek for an education, whether by their hands or those of others. The pigs are the ones that learn these traits and thus they are the ones that begin to wield all the power and they are able to use this eventually to trick the other animals into further and further subjection.
The changing of a government to a more dictator like one is exemplified in the book as well as a process, as mentioned above, that takes time. Those in leadership positions do not take all power in the genesis of their reign, but do so surely and slowly. There are freedoms that have been lost or depleted in America, but it came with time, the invoking of fear, and the assurance from a “supposed” superior government that all will be well if we but follow their words.
The book ends and there is no real concrete ending, which at first housed a tad bit of disappointment in me, but I soon realized that the book might have ended, but the story could easily be carried on. Surely had it so there would be other animals that stand up for what they believe in, power would be contested, and more power would be wielded. The rise of the Civil Rights Era, Women’s Suffrage, and Tea Party and Occupy Wall St. are but real world examples of such frictions and shiftings of power in our own country.
Orwell rights with a prophetic and historical voice as exemplified in his other works. I recommend that all read this book and then view where we are at now as a government, how we have gotten here, and if this is the place where we should be. In the book there are moment where the characters act that seem too outlandish, though i realize I am reading a book about talking animals, but all in all I conclude with that that the actions of many of our politicians and elected leaders are of the same caliber of outlandishness. The simplicity of the setting and animals makes it a great and easy and comprehensive read and will awaken the mind’s eye to scenes and situations that we meddle with in our day. I read the book in a day, having not the urge to put it down and wish you the same journey.