Animal Farm

Om novellen "Animal Farm" og sosialismen

In the novel "Animal Farm", George Orwell tells about a farm. There are horses, sheep, pigs, dogs, goats, ravens, donkeys and probably other animals as well. And of course, there is a farmer, Mr. Jones. He is the chief of the farm. But unfortunately not a skilful one. He is often drunk, and from time to time he forgets to feed the animals. This fills the animals with anger. One evening they assemble in the barn. Old Major, one of the pigs, tells about his great vision: The animals should not any longer be forced to tolerate the enslavement of Mr. Jones and the humans. This vision is to be carried out by removing man out of the farm. Then the animals could govern the farm by themselves. The animals believe this is a fine idea and convince Old Major to collect his ideas into seven commandments:


1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. 2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. 3. No animal shall wear clothes. 4. No animal shall sleep in a bed. 5. No animal shall drink alcohol. 6. No animal shall kill any other animal. 7. All animals are equal.


Furthermore Major teaches the other animals a song, which is to inspire them in the process of creating a better farm. It is called "Beast of England". All of the animals appreciate the song, especially the sheep. From now on, when the animals face some sort of difficulties, they always sing this song. Some time later Major dies. However, the other animals feel a great will to realise his great dream. Hence they prepare for the rebellion Major was dreaming of. The pigs become the head of the animals, giving particularly influence to Snowball and Napoleon, the pigs. And after some time the opportunity for rebellion is enlightened by Mr. Jones himself. Because of his alcoholism and bluntness, he forgets to feed the animals. As a consequence, the animals march to the store-shed and throw themselves on the food. Suddenly Mr. Jones storms them eating. But after a short fight he has to run away. As a result, the animals own the farm, which from now on is to be called the animal farm. At this stage the question concerning how to run the farm smoothly, is raised. But having driven away Snowball, Napoleon takes the politic offensive. First he comes up with an idea of instructing the pigs to supervise and control the farm. Second he settles an equality program which imply ordering the animals to go naked. "It is humanise to wear clothes", he argues. Afterwards he serves out a double ration of corn to all the animals which quickly turn out to like him.


Some time later Napoleon instructs the workers to undertake a great project: The building of a windmill. The first try is a failure. After some time the windmill collapses due to its own height and weight. The second attempt is interrupted and afterwards destroyed by the humans during a war. But finally, in the third try, the windmill project is completed. It makes the daily work easier for the workers, and it stands as a symbol of the fruits of hard work. As time goes on, a great displeasurness grows among the animals. The pigs, which are the supervisors, take advantages of their sole power. They have expanded in force and are a burden to bear for the other working animals. In addition, the pigs ignore the opinions of the other animals. The result being that the pigs become less and less popular as leaders of the Animal Farm. One day they even redictate the laws stated in the Seven Commandments, making it not forbidden to kill other animals, wear clothes, sleep in bed and drink alcohol. However, there is no attempt to rebel. The pigs are too supreme and sovereign.


But one day, the pigs push the limit too far. They invite the humans from the neighbouring farms for a discussion with the pigs only. The other animals are excluded. The pigs are having a great time. They play cards with the humans and drink and eat. Napoleon has a preach about how respectfully and kindly he takes care of the working animals. Unfortunately for the pigs, the other animals listen from outside. They can hear and see what happens inside. Then, for the first time, they start thinking about how they are treated by the pigs. The angerness flourishes among the working animals. It ends in a new rebellion. And that is how "Animal Farm" ends, in rebellion, just as it starts… There are many characters in this novel. As I see it, the most interesting ones are Mr. Jones, Napoleon and Boxer. Mr. Jones is the owner of the farm in the beginning of the novel. But as a result of his poor management of the farm, the animals are not given the necessary need for help, food and care. At this point of the novel he is rather lazy and indolent. He prefers spending time in the nearby pub instead of in his farm. We all know that life in a pub is not healthy for a human being in the long run. And after some time, Mr. Jones is in an awful condition, barely capable of walking at all. But he does manage to blow the half-built windmill to pieces in an attempt to devastate the spirit of working at Animal Farm. At first, I got the impression that Napoleon was a fine leader of Animal Farm. He manifests the need for a change at the farm and he fights with his full strength against the men. But as the story goes on, another side of Napoleon appears, the true Napoleon. Instead of debating with Snowball, he sets his dogs on him in order to increase his personal power. Except for the pigs, he treats all the animals in a terrible way. They are to work, sleep and eat - nothing else. All that really matter for Napoleon is power, not ideas, in contrast with the legendary Old Major who believed in a great revolution. Boxer is the hard-working horse which never give up. His two slogans are "I will work harder" and "Napoleon is always right". His enthusiasm and eagerness inspire the animals to work even harder. But at the age of 12, he collapses from overwork and is sold for glue.


Since this novel was issued in the late fourtees, it has been a best-seller throughout the world for many years. Not for being any normal adventure - but for being a well-written parody on the Russian Revolution. And the different characters in "Animal Farm" can be given an interpretation in the context of the Russian Revolution. Old Major, the pig, may be associated with Lenin and Boxer with the Russian people. Furthermore Mr. Jones and Napoleon represent the Tsar and Stalin, respectively. But it is also possible to interpret "Animal Farm" and its characters in other frameworks - before or after the Russian Revolution in 1917. Before I will give my opinion of this novel, I would like to mention that I have always been very interested in the Russian Revolution. In fact, I have written a thesis about the development in Russia between 1917 and 1939. Furthermore I have read a book about this revolution a couple of years ago. So when I was confronted with "Animal Farm" and heard about the connection between the novel and the Russian Revolution, I became very enthusiastic. And then I started reading. At first, the whole story seemed rather strange. But after some time I got the feeling of the basic idea - animals acting like humans. And then I began to make parallels to the Russian Revolution, associating the animals to the real human beings in the real world. I must say, when considering the connection between the novel and the Russian Revolution, it is stunning that George Orwell managed to harmonise the world of human beings into an animal story. He has done that in a well-written, thrilling and interesting novel which makes him to one of the best writers of his time.

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