Animal Farm

Animal Farm. I am sure many of us have heard about it; a famous masterpiece in about a hundred pages. That was more than enough to make me curious. I picked up the book having no clue what to expect.

In the first few pages the novel had a heart-rending take on the injustices done by man on literally every other being he shares this planet with. Whether you’re a conservationist or not, your heart will give way to the “Beasts of England”.  At the end of the first chapter, I was put to shame for how inhumane man has become. If it wasn’t just a story, if every animal could stand up in protest, if Nature ever decides on a revolution, man will stand no chance.  I thought this was where the story was headed. I was wrong. There was much more to it.

The story arranged itself like how every society would when the suppressed sections of the society decide to strike back. And likewise, after the momentary celebrations and blowing of the victory horn, how does one suddenly cope with the new found freedom? Such was the state of the animals in the farm, after driving the humans out.

In our society, as it has always been, and I believe will always be, there are two classes of workers: the physically strong – those who work hard – and the mentally strong – those who work smart. No matter how much we talk about equality, the latter decides the fate of the former. That is when the story started reflecting the dynamics of politics. The pigs, which were more intelligent, began to lead the other animals, who could not decide for themselves and who were easily swayed by brilliantly delivered speeches. It hurts to read how gullible and innocent they are. The importance of education became very evident. It poses remarkable resemblance to the state of underprivileged people in the society. I thought this was where the story was headed. I was wrong. There was much more to it.

The pigs Snowball and Napoleon show contrasting traits, one democratic and docile, and the other conniving and tyrannical. The dirty game of politics thus begins. It deeply hurts and moves the reader to see what starts off as a democracy move towards communism and eventually give way to ruthless tyranny. After all the years of struggle, the innocent animals come back to where they started from, only this time to be callously ruled by their own kind.  I’ve never read anything that describes republicanism, communism and dictatorship the way this novel does; so simple, eloquent, artistic and profound. One falls short of adjectives for the brilliance with which Orwell portrays the Russian Revolution.

For all those who read between the lines, the last line comes as a tight slap – “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 is merely an attempt to pen down my thoughts and feelings after having read the novel, for it is impossible to review or reproduce a masterpiece!

Deepashri Varadarajan

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