Animal Farm by George Orwell has been described as the remains of “our great satire of the darker face of modern history” by Malcolm Bradbury. True to the name, the novel is about an animal farm run by humans. But before long, the animals, especially the pigs rebel against the former owner and managers and drive them away claiming all the land to themselves. They even erect the Seven Commandments or principles that all animals were to follow in a newfound ‘liberal’ farm. However, a note must be taken of the fact that a peaceful Animal Farm is a Utopian imagery. A Rebellion is always followed by counter-attacks. Hence, the defeated men tried to launch a counter-attack and reclaim their farm; but alas they were defeated once again! The belonging and emotion that the animals expressed towards their home even lead some of them to become martyrs while seriously injuring many others.
For a while, things are at peace and all animals are equal. They are noted to call each other as ‘Comrades’. However, it is soon seen that the animals started requiring a leader to lead them and give them their daily or weekly tasks because the management and control of the farm were beginning to go haywire. But what happens when the leaders fall prey to greed and changing values that manipulate the very principle of freedom and equality that once formed the foundations of the Animal Farm? At the beginning ribbons adorning a pony, human beds, tools, clothes etc. are seen as symbols of animal slavery and are boycotted as part of the Rebellion. Nevertheless, as the days passed, it appeared that the pigs, especially Napoleon, were appearing to be the new leaders of the group. A lot of facilities were being reserved only for the pigs. This included a healthy part of their weekly rations. Moreover, the leaders slowly started changing their perception in adaptation to the situation at hand. They started re-introducing man-made facilities in the Animal Farm as per their comfort, and all who tried to raise a voice were successfully brainwashed.
Napoleon started changing and that too drastically. From building a windmill to equivocally interpreting the founding principles of Animal Farm and even pronouncing radical measures for the supposed betrayers, makes the readers question the ideologies that formed Animal Farm. In fact, earlier where all traces of human beings were removed; now a human was the mode of communication between the farm and the world outside. Napoleon also started building trade relations with the owners of the neighboring farms. Orwell truly climaxed the novel with the Quote, “The creatures looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.” It would not be wrong to wonder if Napoleon took on the shoes of a Dictator with his powerful oratory and intelligence, and his faithful stooges by his side.
Animal Farm is a brilliant satire on the revolt of the working class against the ruling class; their internal struggles, brainwashing, crumbling philosophy and corrupt leaders are all beautifully portrayed through the animal characters of the novel. With the simple, yet elegant and powerful storyline, Orwell has indeed given birth to an iconic piece of work which would continue to earn appreciation for many generations to come. His tagline, “All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.” fits perfectly in the socio-political scenario of many countries. His metaphoric criticism of the society reveals his deep understanding and sheer justice of an issue which would remain relevant time –immemorial.