Saturday, May 22, 2010

George Orwell "Animal Farm"

I have to say as clever as this book is, it is not at all my cup of tea. Animal Farm is a novella that falls under the category of an allegorical dystopia. What this means is that is describes a fictitious landscape that is the opposite of a utopia and it does this through symbolism not literally. George Orwell wrote Animal Farm in 1945 as a commentary and warning on the rise of the Stalinist regime in Russia. In Animal Farm the farm animals rise up in revolution against the human owners and run the farm themselves. All the original good intentions of the revolution are obliterated by the animal leaders' corruption, greed and brutality.

There are some themes in the novella that still have relevance today. The use of fear based politics can sometimes still be seen in our modern western democracies. That said I found this small book hard going. It is was partly the whole suspension of disbelief thing. In this case, the animals working farm machinery on their own and building things etc, was difficult to go along with. Or maybe I just lack the right sort of imagination for this style of book. I will say the ending scenes are powerful. The story becomes more and more disturbing as it goes along, in keeping with the revolutionary dream becoming a nightmare theme. Orwell captures this very well. I am glad I read this twentieth century classic, without really being able to recommend it as an enjoyable read. I can however imagine the enormous stir it would have caused when it was originally published, and it would still be crucial reading for anyone interested in the politics of the era.


  1. I felt the same way about this one. I did really enjoy reading 1984 though.

  2. Thanks for this Shelley because I wasn't feeling too good about reading anymore of his, but will take your advice and try 1984 at some stage in the future.

  3. I have a vague feeling I might have read Animal Farm but I'm not sure. I have definitely read 1984 and I didn't enjoy it at all. I really wanted to, but I found it a bit uninteresting.

    PS. Your feature on Page Turners is now up


Comments are very welcome.