Book notes
Animal Farm

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Read in November 2020

"Beasts of England beasts of Ireland, Beasts of every land and clime, Hearken to my joyful tidings, Of the golden future time."

I always wanted to read George Orwell in the original language, and now I regret not doing it a long time ago.

Mayor pig has a dream! Animals take over the control of the farm and liberate themselves from the common enemy: humans. All animals will be equal, and they will never make the mistakes humans did.

Mayor pig dies, but the rest of the farm prepares for the rebellion. Meanwhile, Mr. Jones is an alcoholic who gets one step closer to bankruptcy every day. His lack of control makes the revolution possible; Manner Farm is now the Animal Farm. It's run with the greatest commandments of Animalism:

  1. Whatever goes on two legs are the enemy
  2. Whatever goes on for legs or has wings is a friend
  3. No animal shall wear clothes
  4. No animal shall sleep in bed
  5. No animal shall drink alcohol
  6. No animal shall kill other animals
  7. All animals are equal

The corruption, however, arises in the very early days with the mystical disappearance of cow's milk.

Pigs are smart; they can make plans and convince other animals to work hard. Manipulation is effortless when you have many naive sheep and ducks running around on their tiny legs. They can barely learn the first three letters of the alphabet. Pigs take the milk and apples for themselves. It breaks the 7th commandment, but not everyone knows how to read/write; thus, pigs can change the rules as they wish. They use the treat of the common enemy, Jones, to justify their privileges.

We hear the news of more animal rebellions farms around the country. Mr. Jones tries to take the farm back, Battle of the Cowshed emerges. A human and a sheep dies, leader Snowball gets wounded. He honors himself with a medal. Snowball doesn't get along very well with Napoleon, the other dominant pig.

Napoleon takes nine newborn puppies and raises them to build himself a private army. He uses them to get rid of Snowball to gain absolute power. That what I would call a successful coup. Snowball wanted to build a windmill, and Napoleon was contradicting that idea. Nonetheless, Napoleon also plans to build a windmill. He doesn't speak out the same promises –abundance and three-day work week– as Snowball, though.

Napoleon starts trading with humans to import necessary material for building the windmill. Pigs and their guards live in the farmhouse now. They also sleep in the beds, while rule four gets rephrased as No Animal Shall Sleep in bed with sheets. Windmill's construction gets damaged due to the wind. Napoleon claims it was Snowball who did that, who is an agent working for other farms to take down the Animal Farm. He puts a bounty on his head.

Animal Farm goes through scarcity, and windmill construction restarts in the meantime. They hide scarcity from the outside world by filling the barrels with sand and claiming that they are all full of grains. Hard-worker Boxer wakes up earlier to help more. Due to the new trade agreement, the hen needs to deliver four-hundred eggs per week now. A protest emerges in the hen, results in a slaughter. Napoleon also executes some pigs because they are also agents like Snowball. "Beasts of England" is banned because the rebellion is completed.

There is a pile of logs nearby the farm, Fredrick (one of the two nearby farms mentioned in the book) purchases it from Animal Farm. He, however, uses fake money. Then they attack the farm and blow up the windmill construction one more time. Humans backs of eventually, but the result is not great for Animal Farm. Yet Napoleon declares a victory with two days of celebrations. Napoleon discovers and drinks the whiskey in the cellar. He gets a hangover; other pigs think he's dying but recovers later in the day. They order distillery books, and the fifth commandment gets an update: No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.

Boxer dies. He will always be remembered with, "I will work harder." Napoleon sends him to a slaughterhouse instead of a veterinarian. Animal Farm has democracy now, with a single candidate immediately gets elected as the president.

Napoleon calls out neighbor farms to have dinner. Other farmers are fascinated by how animals are working more despite the fact they are eating less. Animal Farm is named Manner Farm again. He sits, walks, drinks, wears, talks, looks, and acts like one of them now. It's hard to tell the difference between pigs and humans.