Animal Farm, a Fairy Tale

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It’s a classic along with 1984, it is thoroughly debated long since published in ’45, its quotes pervades everyday language, it’s a powerful and gloomy metaphor for the fate of societies wherever absolute equality was forcefully imposed. I have seen the film and actually roughly remembered the basic plot: A group of animals living in a farm rebels against their human master and establishes a new regime in which social justice has been restored. Events don’t turn out to be as ideal as the auspicious beginning signified. Of course no great surprise, the story doesn’t seek a merry ending or counterfeit redemption for the author is George Orwell.

An enjoyable, swift reading with straight-forward historical analogies, Animal Farm is the perfect bedtime companion. Apart from the most famous phrase -all caps-

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

there are plenty of fascinating details embellishing the narrative. Here is a list with the ones that instinctively struck me first.

The poem Beast of England. I find it just wonderful when poetry is incorporated in the text and these verses infused with romantic expectations of the golden future time ahead are magnificent. Perhaps the band Animals as Leaders got its inspiration from the novel. No lyrics in their case, purely instrumental virtuosity, thus I am only speculating.

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland
Beasts of every land and clime
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the golden future time

Soon or late the day is coming
Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone

Rings shall vanish from our noses
And the harness from our back
Bit and spur shall rust forever
Cruel whips no more shall crack

Riches more than mind can picture
Wheat and barley, oats and hay
Clover, beans, and mangel-wurzels
Shall be ours upon that day

Bright will shine the fields of England
Purer shall its waters be
Sweeter yet shall blow its breezes
On the day that sets us free

For that day we all must labour
Though we die before it break
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys
All must toil for freedom’s sake

Beasts of England, beasts of Ireland
Beasts of every land and clime
Hearken well and spread my tidings
Of the golden future time

The principles of Animalism, their initial version in the form of seven commandments and how they slowly, one by one disintegrated. Orwell is a master of illustrating how demolishing sacred principles is inevitable, how life steadily refutes all we hold dear.

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

The tragic hero, the industrious, devoted but painfully naive horse, Boxer, who under the authority of the cunning pigs and the Leader, Comrade Napoleon, Father of all animals gave his unequivocal support to the unavailing building of the farm’s windmill. Thus we arrive at a connection with the Absurd. Unlike Camus’ protagonist in The Plague, tough labor towards futility without abstraction could be proven lethally mistaken. Boxer’s favorite sentences “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right” have been tenderly placed in my heart.

The grand finale. After fighting for a lost cause, abandoning all hope and woefully accepting their despondent fate the animals witness an staggering revelation. I didn’t remember that part, therefore I will leave the suspense should you decide to take up on reading. Until then “Long Live the Animal Farm”!

Α.Δ.

About Apolytos Diallaktikos

Logical stories of everyday madness
This entry was posted in Books, English, Review. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Animal Farm, a Fairy Tale

  1. Pingback: Beasts of Greece, Third Piece | Απολύτως Διαλλακτικός

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