Animal Farm Review
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Welcome to the adult version of Babe. At first, the plot of this masterpiece makes it sound as innocent and fun as another Charlotte's Web. Animals revolt against their farmer, Mr. Jones, and set up their own barnyard government and society that’s run exclusively by animals in the interest of better treatment for all. But that’s where the similarities stop. This isn’t a cute, heart-warming adventure, filled with singing animals and lovely life-lessons; but rather it’s an in-depth look at social dominance, the abuse of power and how a corrupt government can bend the thinking of an entire society, ultimately destroying the commoner and all she/he has worked for.

Animal Farm deals with the optimism of revolution and the crushing blow when it fails. Different animals become symbols of society, but it’s the pigs that play the major role. The pigs' agenda seems clear from the start, and as they manipulate their way into power and ultimately a totalitarian regime, the notion that power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely takes its cue.

Using propaganda to manipulate the rest of the animals, Squealer, the voice of the pigs' government, is able to alter the rule “all animals are equal,” a communist mantra, into “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” a totalitarian tactical statement. The pigs also use Moses (a raven that represents the church) and his notion of Sugarcandy Mountain, a place that’s meant to represent what parts of society call heaven, to keep the hopes and dreams of the labouring animals alive, while they’re quietly washed away by a government that cares only about itself.

Animal Farm is a short novel and an easy read. While its subject matter is quite serious, it’s hidden so skillfully into the simplicity of the literal plot that regardless of whether you’re interested in revolution, communism, and totalitarian governments or not, the book is an enjoyable story in its own right. It also seems particularly relevant in today's world of Fox News-style propaganda and political catchphrases like “axis of evil” and “freedom fries.” The book served as a warning when it was written and, as amazing as it seams, so many years later, it still manages to carry a message that’s current and relevant to our lives.

This novel—along with Orwell’s other masterpiece, 1984—is an astounding example of human nature and the nature of political control, as well as of the dangers of taking your government at face value. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to think for her- or himself.

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