“The creatures outside 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.”
Well, how do you review a book like this? Even before I delve into that, what bowled me over was how short a time it took Orwell to write this book – ‘November 1943 – February 1944’. Sure, it is a short read; a little over a hundred pages. But, what it conveys takes up an entire Constitution or someone’s entire career to convey. This book may be shy in words, but so rich in interpretation, it kind of completes itself in every reader’s mind, at its own pace and morphs into a different dystopia; different, yet same.
It is a brilliant allegory that mocks Stalin in the name of Napoleon. This is a story of Control and power struggle. Every animal mimes a familiar trait –
1. Old Major – The founding father (Marx’s counterpart)
2. Napolean – The dictator
3. Snowball – The wronged leader
4. Squealer – The Bootlicker
5. Mr Jones – The lesser of two evils (surprisingly!)
6. Boxer – The one everyone loves & feels sorry for
7. Mollie – The narcissist, the freeloader, the deserter
8. Clover – The Goodfella
9. Benjamin – Apathetic or Cynical?
10. The Puppies – The soldiers or mindless drones
11. The Sheep – The press without freedom
There are many other animals and humans, each woven into the morbid social fabric in a hideously befitting fashion. The satire plays well and we get a biopic of how an idea, a faith, a nation is conceived, cradled, lulled, distorted, marred and then raped for the final encore.
This is, by far, the most consequential political fable. It exposes the treachery and glutton behind the facade of propaganda and memorandums. The simplest of stories are often the most powerful ones, not because they’re plain, but because they have a lot more to say than meets the eye
Animalism? Humanism? Animalism? Humanism? Animalism? Humanism?
Well, it all boils down to the same thing. This is a story that will hold its meaning till the day the last soul is alive on the planet. Pigs in pants or men in herds, could you really tell the difference?