George Orwell, Animal Farm, London, 1989.
I have chosen this book, because the title, the text on the cover and also the subject appealed to me very much. I read that the book was about a revolution of animals and that seemed very funny to me.
Mr Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, is always drunk and treats his animals badly. Major, an old pig, tells the other animals to start a rebellion. It is the only way to change their miserable life. He teaches them the words of the song "Beasts of England," a song about the time when England will belong to the animals. Old Major dies but the other pigs prepare the animals for the great day. The rebellion takes place one day when Jones and his men forget to feed the animals. The animals break into the store shed where their food is kept and chase Jones and his men off the farm. The pigs change the name Manor Farm into Animal Farm and paint Seven Commandments on a wall. The Seven Commandments were:
Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.
Now the farm is theirs, the animals do not mind working hard. During their Sunday meetings it becomes obvious that there is a strong rivalry between the two pigs Snowball and Napoleon. Jones and his neighbours are afraid of rebellions on other farms and try to recapture Animal Farm. But they are driven off, thanks to Snowball's battle plan. The animals win the Battle of the Cowshed. The differences between Snowball and Napoleon dominate the Sunday meetings. Snowball wants to build a windmill, but Napoleon is against that plan. When Snowball is about to win the argument, Napoleon suddenly produces nine fierce dogs who chase Snowball off the farm. Now Napoleon makes all the decisions alone. The other animals listen to him because they are afraid of the dogs. Squealer, one of the pigs, is always sent to explain the pigs' policies to the other animals. The windmill is built after all and the animals have to work even harder than before. They need goods they can't produce themselves and Napoleon begins to trade with the neighbouring farmers. The pigs move into the farmhouse and sleep in beds, which is against a law of the Seven Commandments. The windmill falls down in a storm and Napoleon declares that Snowball, their enemy, is to blame. It becomes the custom to blame Snowball for everything that goes wrong on the farm. Napoleon keeps the other animals under control with the help of the dogs. The animals are not longer allowed to sing "Beasts of England", which is replaced by another song. The pigs change the Seven Commandments one by one so that everything they do is legal. The animals have worked harder than the years before and are worse off (less food) then in Jones' days. But Napoleon, who behaves more and more like a king, tells them that the production of food has increased greatly. Again the farm is attacked by farmers, but the animals succeed in defending their farm again. However, the windmill is blown up and many animals are killed or wounded. During the cold winter the animals have almost nothing to eat. One day Boxer falls ill. The animals are told that he is being taken to a hospital, but actually he is sold to a "knacker". Many years later Animal Farm has become prosperous, but only the pigs and the dogs live in luxury. The other animals have to work hard and are always hungry. Yet they are proud to be on the only farm in England owned by animals. One day they are very much chocked when the pigs suddenly walk on their hind legs, wear clothes and carry whips. The Seven Commandments are replaced by a single commandment: All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. One evening the pigs and six neighbouring farmers, with whom they have a friendly relationship now, have a party. In a speech Napoleon says that all the memories of the Rebellion will be suppressed and that the farm is to be called Manor Farm. The other animals, who are outside looking in through the windows, can no longer see any difference between the pigs and the farmer.
First personal response
To me the book was very funny, with animals that could read and other strange things. Sometimes the book looked very serious, with serious problems but I saw the story as a joke. I liked to read it because of its fun, but there were no serious problems with sorrow or anything like that. Normally, I like stories with drama, but for one time it was also amusing to read a funny story and that’s why I have enjoyed this book.
Two summaries to compare to my own summery
The pigs became the most powerful animals of all. They changed the Seven Commandments one by one so that everything they would do would be legal. The other animals had to work harder than the year before and are worse off than in Jones's days. But Napoleon, who behaved more and more like a king, told them that the production of food had increased greatly. Again farmers attacked the farm, but the animals succeed in sending them away. During the cold winter the animals had not much to eat, while the pigs kept the best food for themselves and even drunk whisky and beer. In the spring Animal farm became a little republic and Napoleon is elected President. Later on, the Seven Commandments are replaced by a single commandment: ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THEN OTHERS.
The other animals could no longer see any difference between the pigs and the farmers.
Everything in this summery is right, but it’s a very short summery without depth. So there aren’t things I would add to my own summery. I don’t think it’s a good summery, but it depends on the fact what the summery must content. If the summery must content the plot without any details, you could say it’s a fairly good summery, but also the begin and the end of the story aren’t told in this summery.
Mr. Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, is always drunk and treats his animals badly. Major, an 'old' pig, tells the other animals to start a rebellion. It is the only way to change their miserable life. He teaches them the words of the song 'Beasts Of England', a song about the time when England will belong to the animals. One evening all the animals come together to discuss how they could overtake the farm. Together they make a plan, that was implemented in due time. Then they take over Manor Farm and rename it in Animal Farm. The animals try to learn reading but only the smartest animals actually learn it. The pigs, who could read and write the best, propose seven rules which all animals should obey to:
• whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy
• whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend
• no animal shall wear clothes
• no animal shall sleep in a bed
• no animal shall drink alcohol
• no animal shall kill any other animal
• all animals are equal
These rules are summarised by the statement 'Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad'. However, gradually things change. The pigs and dogs create a new rank. They make themselves the leaders of animal farm. Sometimes their behaviour must defended by adapting several rules of the above seven commandments. Their criticism is consequently respond by the remark: 'but it was always so, don't you remember?' There is also a struggle for leadership between the two pigs Napoleon and Snowball. Snowball can make brilliant speeches and has good ideas. But Napoleon has most support from the sheep. When Snowball presents a plan for the building of a windmill, he is chased away by a group of dogs. Now Napoleon is the ultimate leader. Every idea Snowball had is proposed again by Napoleon. When things go wrong, Snowball gets the blame. Napoleon behaves more and more like a human-being (sleeping in bed, wearing clothes and walking on two legs). The horse Boxer is the best worker of all. He works harder and harder each time things go bad. Then he falls ill. In the end the pigs invite their human neighbours to a feast of reconciliation, leading the other animals to realise that they have merely exchanged one tyranny for another.
This is a better summery than the previous. Everything what’s important to understand the plot is told. There are no details, but that’s not necessary. Everything what’s told here is also told in my own summery. So, Also in this summery there’s nothing I would add to my own summery. In spite of I think it’s a very good summery in which everything is told.
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