Friday, 22 March 2013

HELLO The Classic Club - Animal Farm

The Classics Spin. Another re-read from my childhood. I read the book without knowing the symbolism behind the animals on the farm. Back then, I thought it was a story about disgruntled animals who'd had enough of the farmer controlling their lives.

Animal Farm was first published in 1945 with the sub-title: A Fairy Story, which was later dropped. It is a satire capturing the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Stalinism by way of symbolism. For example, the Old Major, the prize boar and leader of the animals, represents a combination of Marx and Lenin. When he dies, Napoleon and Snowball, two opposing pigs take the rule. They represent Lenin and Trotsky respectively. Other animals play out human characteristics.

23/06/1903 - 21/01/1950
As a child, George dreamed of becoming a writer, hoping to write a book like H.G.Well's A Modern Utopia. Other literary connections occur at Eton where he was taught French, briefly, by Aldous Huxley.

His family suggested sending him to India, where he was born, and where he enrolled in the Indian Imperial Police. He also worked in Burma, but became sick and returned home in 1927, to pursue writing.

Did I enjoy it second time round. Yes, I did. I can read the book with it's multi layers and appreciate what Orwell was portraying in his allegory. And I guess you can call it a fairy tale. I don't know why he did or why the title was dropped, but fairy tales, too, use symbolism to get their story across. I do that in my own writing.

As the story developed you could see how the rules that were made by the animals in power, the pigs, were changed to benefit them, and manipulated, to dumb down the rest of the farm. Some animals didn't see the subtleties, some chose to ignore them, feeling safe in their ignorance. And then full circle. And an apt ending.

My other Orwell read on my list of 50 is Nineteen Eighty-Four.


  1. Oh my gosh - I cried reading this book - especially when loyal Boxer gets carted away to the knacker's yard...!!!! Trauma!!

    I never knew it was subtitled "a fairy story"! It's far from that - it was dark and evil won.

    Take care

    1. That was a sad scene.

      It's a book I will read again and again.

  2. I didn't know about the subtitle either. Argh, I haven't ever read this book, bad me! I've only read 1984. Sounds roughly similar, with the political/gov't warnings. 1984 factors into my own agented sci-fi novel a little. :)

    1. Ooh, that sounds good. Good luck with that, Carol.