George Orwell ★★★★
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Eric Arthur Blair, who?
Blair used his pen name George Orwell in his literature.
Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945) features a satirical allegory presenting the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the early years of the Soviet Union in the form of revolutionary farm animals. The Manor Farm undergoes a revolution, and the pigs of the farm establish an authoritarian control. Per usual, magic of threes:
The novel is...
Whether or not you're familiar with Russian history, this novel engages and fulfils criteria of well-written and entertaining literature. The language is rich and yet simple to understand the underlying comparison of the Manor/Animal Farm to the Russian Empire / Soviet Union is engaging and entertaining. Orwell's register and language is varied and contains a sense of direction that allows the reader to relax into the storyline.
- Satirical, humorous
Animal Farm consists of humorous criticism that plays at the expense of the tyrannical leaders, naive and senseless animals, and the indoctrinated growling dogs. Orwell's ironical twists of Napoleon's character and the farm's faith captivate and engross the reader. As a history enthusiast, I found the satire of this novel amusing and recommend readers become aware of Russian history to make this read more impactful and entertaining.
Personally, this was my third time reading the novel, and I find that each read gives me more than the previous. The first time I read this, at twelve, my knowledge of Russian history was almost nonexistent, but the exciting story fulfilled and satisfied the qualities of an escapist novel. The corruption of the pigs and the vulnerability of the other animals gripped my twelve-year-old self. However, years later, at 17 and 18, rereading the novel after studying Russian history allowed a more insightful understanding of the novel. Although the entertaining characteristics of the novel remain, the underlying representations of history make the read more engaging and multi-dimensional.
To analyse and consider the novel, it's important to remember the purpose of this allegory and satire. If you're looking for a tale of entertainment and humour, but with significant purpose and themes, this is yours to read. Be mindful, however, as the novel contains great propaganda of the Soviet Union and its policies.