Date read: 29-11-2023

Author: George Orwell

How strongly I recommend it: 7/10

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Read more summaries

Farm animals gather and overthrow humans, thereby taking charge of the farm. The de facto leaders, the pigs, begin a power struggle. Napoleon, the “evil” of the two, chases Snowball (the other pig) away. He constructs new systems, makes himself the supreme commander (or dictator), and paints Snowball as the evil that plagues the farm.

Even though the revolution was for the animals and against the humans, in the end, the farm animals could no longer distinguish between pigs and humans. They were one and the same.

A well-done satire of Russia, specifically the Russian Revolution and later on, Stalinist Russia.

Favourite quotes

‘Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin.

‘And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.’

‘Comrades,’ he said, ‘I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball, with his moonshine of windmills—Snowball, who, as we now know, was no better than a criminal?’

For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran: