Animal Farm: A Book Review

 

Animal Farm is a fictitious story written by George Orwell published in the UK in 1945 and in the US in 1946. It was originally called Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. Its plot is meant to represent the Russian Revolution, and its characters represent real people. For example, Napoleon the pig is based on Joseph Stalin, Snowball the pig represents Leon Trotsky, and Mr. Jones the farmer represents Tsar Nicholas II.

 

The story begins with Old Major, an aging and well-respected pig, calling all the animals of Manor Farm to a meeting. There he explains his grand idea of a rebellion against humankind, and teaches the animals a song called “Beasts of England.” The meeting closes, and Old Major dies a few days later.

 

However, as a result of the meeting, Snowball and Napoleon take control of the farm. Along with the rest of the animals, they drive a very drunk Mr. Jones and his wife off the farm, and rename it Animal Farm. The animals immediately begin to harvest the wheat, and achieve a more plentiful harvest in a few days than Jones and his men ever had. The farm runs smoothly for a while.

 

Then Snowball, being a clever pig, formulates an idea for a windmill. This, he says, will provide the animals with hot and cold running water in every stall, electricity, and a three-day workweek. Napoleon disagrees, saying that the windmill will never work, and the farm animals become divided over the issue.

 

I don’t want to tell you what happens next or give away the ending, which is a little odd and unexpected. I will say there are many shocking parts to the story I did not see coming.

I think my teacher wanted my class to read Animal Farm because it was a good way to indirectly teach us about history. Orwell demonstrated a high level of skill with this piece. You may walk away from the book not even realizing that you’ve just learned about the entire course of the Russian Revolution, and not many stories can do that well.

I also thought Animal Farm was a good read. It is well written and actually rather short: only ten chapters and 100-some pages long. However, it makes good use of its short length, and is not too drawn out, nor rushed. I liked this story very much and would definitely recommend it to somebody interested in historical fiction, talking animals, or both.

 

 Lara June Spanic is a seventh grader at Downtown Montessori Academy in Milwaukee who has participated in WCATY’s online Academy. She has two cats and a dog, and likes drawing, reading, writing, and watching Doctor Who and Gravity Falls. 

 

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