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Animal Farm by George Orwell
Mr Jones the owner of Manor Farm was quite often drunk, did not care about his animals and for this reason the animals wanted to fight against him. The 12-year-old boar Old Major had a strange dream the previous night and told it to the other animals. Major told them that each animal in England was a slave and that man did with them what he wanted. All men were enemies and all animals were comrades! His dream was about a song called Beasts of England. The idea behind it was that mankind lost its power over the animals and that all fields belonged to them. The animals who had always been slaves now had power over the human beings.
All the animals were very excited about what they had heard and began to sing the song at once. Three nights later Old Major died.
On the farm there lived the pigs, Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer who were the most important ones, cows, horses, Clover and Boxer, a donkey called Benjamin and many more animals. They all talked about the Rebellion and that it soon would happen. Once Mr Jones was so drunk that he was incapable of feeding his animals. They were all hungry and therefore one of the cows broke open the door of the store-shed with its horn. Unfortunately Mr Jones woke up and entered the stall with his men who took whips along with them. The animals chased the five men and they had no other chance than to escape. The Rebellion had been carried through successfully and all animals were very proud and happy. They could not really believe that Manor Farm now was theirs. Now the farm was called Animal Farm instead of Manor Farm and all animals on the farm had to live after seven commandments. Everyone who went upon two legs was an enemy, everyone who went upon four legs or had wings was a friend. No animal should wear clothes, sleep in a bed, drink alcohol, kill any other animal and all animals were equal. In autumn the animals worked very hard to bring in their harvest and it was the best harvest they had ever had. There was no quarrelling, biting and jealousy like in those days when Jones's was still the owner of the farm.
Sundays they did not work and after breakfast they celebrated a ceremony. A green flag that represented the green fields of England was hoisted. The white hoof and horn on the flag were symbols of the Republic of the Animals.
But peace did not last very long. There for example always was disagreement between Snowball and Napoleon.
The pigs established a school for the other animals and taught them there reading and writing. For Napoleon the education of the young animals was very important. Once he took away 9 whelps from Jessie and Blueball and took them to a very isolated place. In the course of time the other animals soon forgot them.
By the summer Animal Farm was known all over the country. Early in October Jones came with some men from the neighbouring farms to Animal Farm. One sheep and a man died in the battle - it was called The Battle of Cowshed - and Snowball was wounded. The animals took Jones's gun and from this day they fired it twice a year: on the twelfth of October, the anniversary of the Battle of the Cowshed and on the anniversary of their Rebellion. In January Snowball had a tremendous plan: He wanted to build a windmill which could offer light and could warm them in winter. Napoleon was totally against his plan and each animal had a different opinion on this matter. But when Snowball showed them his plans with some pictures the animals were sure that they wanted to build it.
One day suddenly nine huge dogs appeared and chased Snowball off the farm. They were the nine puppies that Napoleon had taken away. He had brought them up and educated them and now they were his security dogs. Napoleon had the whole power over all animals; he reduced their food rations and one day he announced that the windmill would be built. The animals had to work like slaves and one day Napoleon explained that Animal Farm would trade with the neighbouring farms as well.
In November the windmill was destroyed during the night. Napoleon told the animals that Snowball was responsible for this catastrophe - that he was the traitor. The following winter was very tough for the animals and they had only very little to eat. Napoleon spent nearly all his time in the farmhouse and his dogs were always with him when he went anywhere. One day the smell of blood was in the air and some animals said that they had been in contact with Snowball and that they had known that Snowball worked together with Jones. After this confession the dogs killed them. Some animals still remembered the sixth commandment but very soon they found out that this murder was not forbidden because these animals were traitors because they spoke with Snowball.
A poem called Comrade Napoleon was written and a portrait of Napoleon was painted on the wall next to the seven commandments as well. Napoleon had all the power over the animals and whenever anything went wrong he blamed Snowball for it. Napoleon began to sell things to their neighbours and with the money he paid the machines of the windmill. Next morning Jones arrived with some men at the farm with guns and attacked the animals. It was a very bitter battle and some animals were shot. The windmill was destroyed again but finally the animals had the strength to defend themselves. The animals had won but they had lost their windmill and some of their comrades.
The food rations were reduced again except those of the pigs and of the dogs. The rebuilding of the windmill was started and Beasts of England was abolished by Napoleon because now they lived in a new society. A new rule was set up as well: whenever a pig met another animal the other animal had to stand aside.
One evening Boxer had an accident and on the next day a van took Boxer away from the farm.
The years passed by and only a few animals could remember the old days before the Rebellion. The windmill had been completed with success. A lot of the old animals were dead - Boxer and Snowball were forgotten. Now there were many more animals on the farm and one evening they saw a pig walking on his hind legs. It was as though the world had turned upside-down. Now all sheep were bleating four legs good, two legs better. The seven commandments disappeared and ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS was written down. Napoleon wore clothes and smoked a pipe.
The other animals saw that in the farmhouse farmers and pigs were sitting at the table drinking alcohol. Something strangely had happened. The animals outside looked from the face of a man to the face of a pig for several times. At last they were incapable of knowing which face belonged to the human being and which face belonged to the pig. Interpretation: Animal Farm is the story about some animals that wanted to change their lives. They did not want to live like slaves on the Manor Farm any longer - they wanted to have their own rights and they wanted to carry through a revolution. With the help of this revolution they wanted to get rid of Mr. Jones, the farmer. The animals wanted to live in freedom and they wanted to help each other. They wanted all the other animals to be happy - to live a full filled life, they did not want to be worried about their food. The animals were of the opinion that human beings could only be their enemies because they took away all their eggs, milk and they even kill them to have something to eat. Old Major's dream was the symbol for the animals' greatest wish: freedom.
But although they tried very hard the revolution went completely wrong. Surely, they were able to get rid of Jones, they owned the farm, had enough to eat but in the course of time a kind of dictatorship among the animals was established. At first all animals were equal, they had the same rights and the same duties. But in the end there were animals at the farm that were more equal than the others and they told the others what to do. Under Napoleon's leadership for all animals except the pigs life was even harder than before. The seven commandments that said that all animals were equal and friends, that everything with two legs was an enemy and that no animal was allowed to lead a life like human beings - that meant that they were not allowed to wear clothes, drink alcohol, kill other animals, have money or live in the farmhouse - disappeared in the course of time.
At first it seemed as if the animals' plan would work - but it did not. In the course of time Napoleon got power over all the animals, and the pigs had many privileges. But the other animals did not complain - they accepted things as they were and they did not realize that they became slaves. For them it was normal to work all day long, to get less to eat - they did not see that everything got completely out of control. They did not ask Napoleon why he reduced their food, why he sold some land, why he began to live in the farmhouse and why he exploited them. The other animals were frightened that Jones would come back and live at their farm again.
I think this was one of the reasons why they did not want to see what happened to them under Napoleon's leadership - they did not realize that Napoleon was like Jones - both did not care about the others, both only cared about money and their power. Jones and Napoleon wanted to show the others that they were the strongest, unbeatable and better than the rest. The other animals wanted to live their life among all their friends on the farm. Life was hard for them but they fought - they fought for those things they had always wanted to achieve - for their own rights. But they did not succeed in doing this because Napoleon was stronger. He was able to turn all things so that they seemed to be right - that it seemed to be right if they were done. But in the course of time their society changed completely. When Old Major had suggested to carry out a revolution each of the animals was of the same opinion - everyone wanted to get rid of Mr. Jones and to live in freedom. They all wanted to work together, to fight for their rights, to help each other and never to let anyone down. But this were only their wishes and they did not become true. In the course of time Napoleon and the other pigs became more and more like human beings. They lived in the farmhouse, drank alcohol, wanted to have money and power. The pigs developed into humans and the other animals lost their own lives because they were not able to do anything against their `leader'. Napoleon sets a symbol for human thinking and acting. He wanted everything to belong to him and to reach this goal he did everything. He lied, treated the other animals as if he and all the other pigs were superior and he even killed. He wanted to show all the others that he had all the power, that they all depended on him, that they were not able to live without him. This book should show us what human beings were and are still able to do. Their greed for power and money is horrible. Many people nowadays still think that all humans are equal but some humans are more equal than others.
I am of the opinion that those people who still think that there are humans who are more equal than others have not learnt anything from the past. I think the past especially the 2nd World War should make us think about what discrimination, persecution, mass murder and all the other horrible things that happened have done to millions of people. I think everyone has the right to be different - to live his own life, to practise his own religion, to express his own opinion - and nobody should be persecuted only because he is different. We always say that we are individuals, that we are different from each others - yes, in a special way we are but we all have the same roots.
- Quote paper
- Johanna Granitzer (Author), 1998, Orwell, George - Animal Farm, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/95519