Boekverslag : George Orwell - Animal Farm
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George Orwell

George Orwell, Whose real name is Eric Arthur Blair, was born in 1903 in India. He moved with his family in 1907 to England and he entered Eton in 1917 where he contributed the various college magazines.

In 1921 he left and joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, where he resigned in 1928 because of having come to hate imperialism. His first novel 'Burmese days' (1934) shows that. When he lived in poverty for several years he wrote 'Down and Out in Paris and London' (1933).

George Orwell has worked for a time as a schoolteacher, but due to his poor health he stopped and worked as a part-time assistant in a Hampstead bookshop. In 1936 Orwell visited Lancashire and Yorkshire and wrote the book 'The road to Wigan Pier' (1937), that is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there.

'Homage to Catalonian', the book that he wrote to inducement of his fight for the Republicans in 1936 is considered by many to be his greatest achievement. During World War Two he was a member of the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service. George Orwell had tuberculosis and died in 1950, he was 47 years old.

He has written many books: 'Coming up for air', 'Down and Out in Paris and London', 'the decline of the English murder and other essays', 'Burmese days', 'A clergyman's daughter', 'Keep the aspidistra Flying', 'The road to Wiger Pier', 'Inside the whole and other essays' and 'Homage to Catalonian', But his name became widely known with the publication of 'Animal Farm' and 'Nineteen eighty-four'

Book: Animal Farm

Author: George Orwell

Publisher: Secker&Warburg, London.

First published: 1945

A fairy tale for adults

Mr. Jones, the farmer of Manor Farm is a quite unpleasant man. He treats his animals as if they were of no importance at all. There lived, if you could call that living, on the farm. Old Major, who is a very old pig, said to the other animals that they didn't deserve such a life, and that humans were to blame. 'We are being used' was his main argument and the animals had to fight the humans for their own freedom.

Old Major told them about the future and taught them their new freedom song 'Beasts of England' (a song about the good life that will come)

There is a raven who was the only animal allowed in the house. He told the animals outside about the life in 'heaven' and that it is so exquisite. Old Major, who moved the whole farm towards revolution, died. Three pigs took over: Napoleon, Snowball and Squealer, who had elaborated Old Majors teachings into a complete system of thought, which was called 'Animalism'!

Four months have passed and the Rebellion that was predicted came and Mr. Jones and his men were driven away by all the animals. The start of a good life had begun for the animals. The farm was no longer called by its old name 'Manor Farm' but the animals baptised it the 'Animal Farm'!

The three pigs made seven commandments which said that every animal is a friend and that they have to treat every animal equally. None of the animals may live in the farmhouse, everything on two legs are enemies. The pigs became the leaders of the farm, because they were the cleverest of all and every animal believed in Old Major and now in them. The animals worked hard and with all the pleasure in the world, even through difficult times like winter and hunger, because they had a good goal; themselves!

After some time, the pigs decided to make a windmill so they could make the work lighter and better. All the animals worked hard for the windmill and they lived happily ever after. You would think, BUT.......

Further along the story you will see how much the pigs start to behave like bosses and Napoleon was good in bossing everyone around. He said that it was from now on forbidden to sing the song 'Beasts of England' and organise more of the meetings they had. And he had dogs, vicious dogs, who protected him and inspecting all the animals if they were doing everything right.

The pigs started to break some of the rules of the seven commandments: they started to live in the farm house and later they were sleeping in the beds. The pigs were the only ones who could read so they could fool the other animals very easily and changed the commandments to their liking. Like, don't sleep in bed with sheets and don't kill without a reason. But with the other animals suspicion was growing. Their lives became more difficult and hunger paid his toll. But the pigs were stronger with their dogs and intelligence. So they couldn't do anything against the pigs.

And at the end of the fairy tale the pigs are walking upright on two legs and wearing clothes and the pigs lived happily without any difference with human beings ever after. But the other animals didn't!

Animal Farm: is a 'fairy story'. It is in a chronological order and is divided in to ten chapters. There is a third person narrator and it quote the dialogues.

The theme is based on the history of Russia:

Mr. Jones (the farmer) is the Tsar.

Old Major (the old Pig) is Lenin.

Napoleon is Stalin.

Snowball is Trotski.

The dogs are the secret police.

The windmill is the heavy industry and first target after the revolution.

The song 'Beasts of England' is the nationalism

And the raven is the church.

My opinion: This book is one of my favourites it's cynical and well written. Because it is written in a fairy tale style it is easy to understand and the meaning is well brought. If you don't know the background of the Russian history I can imagine it is hard to associate the story with it. I like it that George used animals in the story, it is renewing. Most writers use humans in their story's. The different animals are clearly used for the different sort of people, and that is helping to make the story more clear.

You think it is funny, but I felt it was realistic. When the pigs were beginning to go the wrong way I was feeling mad about them. All together: it is a very nice book!
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