George Orwell’s classic novel “Animal Farm” is known all around the world and a must-read for people of all ages. I read the book when I was 16, in full rebellious teenage mode and I loved it. Needless to say, it did strike a little bit too close to home, having grown up in Romania, a former communist country, at that time not completely recovered from it’s past.
Orwell’s analogy between the farm and the real world is still spot on, even after 70 years and what better time to talk about it again then in the political climate of today.
Let’s enter the Animal Farm
The plot is well known by most of you, so I’m not going to dwell on it for long. The idea is simple, tired of the drunken farmer, the animals, led by the Old Major, decide to rebel against the ruling class. After Old Major dies, the leadership is taken by two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, who take it upon themselves to prepare the other animals for the Rebellion. They teach the other animals to read and write and train them in the principles of Animalism. Food is plentiful and the animals are happy with this way of life, but the pigs are starting to set aside special items just for their use.
The two leaders can’t seem to get on the same page, so Snowball, who wants to modernize the farm and give the other animals a better life, is driven away by Napoleon, who assumes the leading role, building a cult personality around him, and transforming the farm into a totalitarian regime, where all the animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
What I find great is that this book is on the high school mandatory reading list in some countries. What I don’t understand is why it isn’t mandatory in all countries. Orwell manages to summaries the human character and the mass mentality perfectly and gives the reader a vivid look of the possible future that awaits us all if we allow ourselves to be so caught up in our own little realities that we don’t see the big picture anymore and then we ask ourselves how did we get here?
So my advice to all of you who haven’t read the book yet, pick it up, read it and take a moment to contemplate on the world today. Are all animals equal, or are some more equal than others?