Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Animal Farm

By George Orwell

This is very important book in my life. Actually, it was part of our academic syllabus of first year of engineering under the subject called ‘Communication Skills’. And as usual, most of the students including me hated to read anything which becomes part of course. But, I m really grateful to my teacher, who taught it in a way that created my interest in the novel. And this experience was so much exciting that I became an avid reader.

This novel is not any other novel, but is considered to be ‘Novel of the Century’. The novel is a satire on Russian Revolution. It was written during the WWII and was widely criticized globally.

The story is narrated in the form of fable. It is about a farm, having all sort of domestic animals like pigs, cows, horses, hens, sheep, dogs, ass…………. The farm was governed by Mr Jones, a human being. But, due to pathetic conditions, animals revolted. The revolt was headed by two pigs Napoleon and Snowball. Here, Napoleon depicted the character of Stalin while Snowball of Lenin. According to this revolution, all animals were comrades and all humans their enemies. They succeeded in the revolution and took control over the farm. Now for the daily governance and administration of the farm they drafted the policies in the form of the following 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.

Being clever, pigs took over the leadership of the new farm. Slowly, under the guidance of Napoleon, all the critical resources like food in the form of milk, grain and fruits and power in the form of dogs, was controlled by pigs. But, he saw one impediment in his way in the form of Snowball. So, he poisoned the ears of animals against him and threw him out of farm. Now, Napoleon was the sole tyrant of the farm. In the meanwhile there were number of attacks on the farm by Mr Jones, but he failed to recapture his farm. Then there were further attacks on the farm by the neighbour farmers Mr. Pilkington, of Foxwood & Mr.Frederick of Pinchfield (representing Germany and England), but they also failed.

Now pigs started violating the commandments set by them. In order to pacify the other animals, they took advantage of their short memory and innocence by telling them that actually the interpretation of commandments is:

1.Four legs good, two legs better
2.No animal shall drink alcohol to excess
3.No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets
4.No animal shall kill any other animal without cause
5.All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

The last scene of the novel is as follows

But they (innocent animals) had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. Uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, hangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, and furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously. Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.

This last scene had a very deep impact on my psyche. It clearly confirms age old adages

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

“Might is right.”

Since then, I have been trying to search for a book of similar cadre. But I can’t find one. As there is only one masterpiece.


Nikhil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikhil said...

Hey Prabal, I enjoyed reading your Reviews. I just have a suggestion: Your Style of writing is very good, but your reviews are like open Boxes. You try to summarize the book and in the process you reveal too much of its content. Book reviews should be directed at audiences who have not read the book. It should weave some mystery around it so that they get genuinely interested in reading it. Why would anyone read the book if they already knew the story inside it? Try selling the 'idea of reading' a particular book to the audience by telling them why they should read the book.