Animal Farm

Animal Farm

  About the author:  George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, was born on June 26th, 1903, in India. During his life he worked in lots of different professions. Most of them referred to writing or reporting. His first novel (Burmese Days) was published in 1934. In 1937 he went to Spain to fight on the side of the Republicans in the Civil War. During WW II he worked for the BBC. His most popular books are Animal Farm and 1984 (1949). He died on January 21st, 1950, in London.

About the book:     Animal Farm was first published in 1945 by Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd..

The story is set on a farm in England in the first half of the 20th century. On this farm the animals chase away Mr. Jones, the farmer, and establish their own society, based on the rights and the equality of all animals. But with the passing times the system changes more and more, so that in the end it is totally different from the one they had wanted to establish at the beginning of their rebellion.

It is often said that the story refers to the revolution in Russia in 1918 and the development there in the years after.

List of the main characters:

Mr. Jones          the farmer of Manor Farm, which later becomes Animal Farm

Old Major          the old pig, which gives the animals the idea of the rebellion and establishes the basics of Animalism

Snowball           one of the two leading pigs, later driven away by Napoleon and his dogs

Napoleon the other leading pig, which becomes the totalitarian leader at the end of the story

Squealer            a rhetorically very clever pig, which always tells the other animals everything Napoleon wants him to tell in a way that they believe it

Mr. Pilkington, Mr. Frederick  farmers who live next to Animal Farm

Summary:      One evening the pig Old Major gives a speech to all the other animals on Manor Farm. He tells the animals about his attitude towards men and his vision of future, he dies little time later. Later, after the leading animals have developed the basic ideas, called Animalism, for a new society of animals they chase away Mr. Jones and establish a new society. This is based on seven commandments (e.g. all animals are equal etc.). The leaders try to teach all the animals to read, but they are not very successful. For this reason the leading pigs are later able to change the commandments without the knowledge of the other animals. At this time the animals live and work peacefully together. After some times they repel an attack of the farmers (Mr. Jones, Mr. Pilkington, Mr. Frederick and their men). This and some other events lead to a feeling of brotherhood among the animals. Then Napoleon drives away Snowball with the help of some big dogs. Now the situation changes, the society becomes more fixed on Napoleon. He rules the farm by giving orders and decrees to the other animals. Squealer 'explains' the new things to the more simple-minded animals, so that they think everything Napoleon says or does is right. To achieve this the ruling pigs also change the seven commandments. Napoleon and his followers change more and more. They twist the basic ideas of the rebellion and in the end they are just like men. They walk on two legs and oppress the other animals.