The first book we did in our book club is Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Glancing the cover, it appeared to me as one of those children’s books talking about animals, farms, their fights etc. But as I continued, I realized this one is a sinister one. George Orwell has used this metaphor in a magnificent way to explain how communism can convert itself into totalitarianism.
Written in an elegantly simple style, Orwell uses the turmoil faced on the farm by the animals as a metaphor for the Russian Revolution itself. It shows how an animal’s fight for freedom can so quickly morph into a power play as chaos ensues. Orwell cleverly plants lies, illiteracy and even a head hunt throughout the novel to explain the oppression that led to the rise of the Soviet dictatorship.
Orwell has also criticized the church which is represented by Moses, a tame raven, who talks of ‘Sugarcandy Mountain’, a happy country in the sky where poor animals shall rest forever from their labours. It is interesting to observe that when old Major was first preaching revolutionary commission, Moses was sleeping in the barn, which satirizes the church being caught asleep by communism. Orwell has covered almost all the aspects of how an economy functions and the impact of political framework on well-being of citizens.
Truly a timeless classic that speaks so much of human nature, oh sorry, of animal nature. Plus, it’s quaint farmyard setting makes this a very British book. Animal Farm is one of the most thought-provoking piece of literature, and a brilliant politically minded piece, easily read in one sitting.