Paper Views: Animal Farm

I know that I did a book post recently and I promised to mix it up a bit, but I just finished reading Animal Farm the other day and I can’t help but write about it. It’s one of those books that everyone should read as a teenager yet for some unknown reason I’ve only just gotten round to reading it- at only 102 pages I really have no excuse.

I won’t go into too much detail about the plot as I’m sure most of you already know it, but for those who are unaware (have you been living under a rock?) it follows the story of a farm on which the animals overthrow their master and proceed to run the farm themselves, renaming it Animal Farm. It’s written to mirror the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent Stalinist rule, with characters representing all manner of political figures, from Napoleon who represents Stalin himself to Mr Jones (Tsar Nicholas II) and Mr Frederick (Hitler). As geeky as it sounds, as someone who took GCSE History I love reading it and recognising characters or events that I learnt about- it’s one of the many reasons I love this book.

As satirical novels go, it’s clever. Really clever. Orwell has this amazing ability to convey the characters and story completely through characters of farm animals in a way which makes this book a great read for those of any age, even though it is often marketed as a kids novel.  It also helps you really understand how deceptively the USSR became a dictatorship by telling the story from the point of view of those who are actively being deceived by those in charge, which somehow manages to be much more relatable than a textbook (I empathise more with a horse than a Russian citizen.. go figure).

I just think that this is a classic that everyone should read, no matter how old you are. Simply but beautifully written in only 102 pages, there’s no excuse not to.