June 18, 2008

Old Major's Revolution

Animal farm by George Orwell.
Reviewed by Alanna

So the story seemed simple enough, when I first picked up Animal Farm by George Orwell. A bunch of farm animals who sneak out of their pens at night to have meetings, and who are secretly much smarter than humans suspect. Sounds like a Disney movie right? But as I found out, this book about horses, pigs, and sheep was totally different than what I assumed.

Animal Farm is about, well, a farm. The farm appears very normal. There's a farmer ( who's also a alcoholic), his bossy wife, lazy helpers, and plenty of animals. Then one night, the pigs, the smartest creatures on the farm, call the other animals on the farm for a meeting. One pig, Old Major, tells the rest of the animals about the condition they're actually in. The animals are over-worked and underfed, and when they become old and useless, the farmer has them killed. Soon after, Old Major dies. But his words last in the animals heads. Finally, all the animals chase out the farmer and the other humans. One of the pigs, Snowball, is elected leader of the farm, which is renamed “Animal Farm”. He has big plans for Animal Farm which he'd like to take into action. Before he does, though, another pig named Napoleon drives Snowball out, using vicious dogs. Napoleon declares himself leader and uses his power to do as he wishes. After a while he starts to mistreat the animals, overworking and underfeeding them, to the point where they're just as mistreated as they were when the farmer was in charge.

Funny enough, Animal Farm is not just a story all made up by Orwell. It's based on events that happened pre-World War II, in Russia, a time called " The Russian Revolution" . You can impress your teachers with your knowledge of history by reading this book. It's a short read, and a good mix of realistic fiction and violence (which some people might enjoy). I thought of the book as a much more interesting version of my History textbook. The book is much more enjoyable though, if you know a little about the Russian Revolution or Communism.

I found the characters to be a lot like humans, even though they're animals. Each character had a distinct personality: there were dumb but hardworking horses, pessimistic donkeys (remind you of Eeyore?), and powerful, evil, intimidating, pigs.

So next time you pick up a book with a title like Animal Farm, don't assume that it's a book for babies, because it might just be your history textbook, just a more exciting version.

Reviewed by Grady

Animal Farm is a complex and wonderfully written novel. It is the story of the animals on a farm called manor farm who rebel against their human masters and try to govern themselves. Even though it is about animals, the story ultimately deals with human nature and the potential for power to corrupt. The animals try to create a fair and equal government as opposed to the totalitarian one that they rebelled against. Over time it is revealed that the new animal leaders are not very different from their human predecessors. Animal Farm tells an interesting story about animals that is also a satire of the Soviet Union and a warning of the corruption that comes when anyone tries to take the place of an evil leader. The characters aren't very complex and are mainly satirical versions of government figures and concepts like religion but this is never a problem throughout the story. Rather than developing the characters, the entire cast is developed through the stages of building their new government. As corruption begins to take hold, the characters show in their reactions the way that people throughout history gradually accept such corruption. Orwell uses his vehicle of the animals on the farm to create a warning that is less dark and yet nearly as effective as 1984 .

Librarian's note:
The original farm?

Posted by library at June 18, 2008 09:22 AM
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