Thursday, July 02, 2020

Review of George Orwell's Animal Farm

After many years, I reread George Orwell's Animal Farm (I think it was assigned to me in high school at some point). It is, of course, an allegory of the Soviet Union, with Stalin (Napoleon the pig) gradually subverting a revolution for his own power, eventually becoming indistinguishable from those who ran things in the past.

As we listen to an administration that lies in precisely the same ways as the ruling pigs in the novel, who changed the revolutionary commandments while pretending they remained the same, Orwell reminds us that this isn't about communism, or even necessarily the Soviet Union. It's about power-hungry leaders. For Orwell, the communal farm run by the animals together remained a desired goal. He was all for socialism. He disliked both capitalism and communism--in the end, both result in a small elite that lies and uses force to keep itself in power at the expense of everyone else.

I can't think of this novel without also thinking of Pink Floyd's Animals album. The song "Sheep" is great, though different from the novel, where the sheep don't overthrow anything. I doubt Orwell could imagine the sheep killing the dogs. Actually, Orwell never presents any answers--he just warns.


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