Don't be fooled by the "fairy story." This is no fairy tale.
"All animals are equal... but some animals are more equal than others."
A clever Beast Fable
satirizing the evolving Russian communism by George Orwell
, as well as a book with two adaptations you should never, ever show your children
. They may start revolting
. If they weren't revolting enough already.
Orwell tells, allegorically, how the Russian Revolution would go if its participants were animals, and if you reduced Russia to the area of a typical English country farm. When you get what the point of the book is — being a satire of Communism written during World War II
— it's not hard to guess where the plot is going
. It was strictly outlawed by Josef Stalin
as it technically depicted Stalin and other Soviet leaders as evil pigs (Karl Marx
as Old Major, Stalin as Napoleon, Leon Trotsky
as Snowball, and Vyacheslav Molotov as Squealer).
The inspiration for this book came about when Orwell saw a boy leading a cart horse, whipping it all the while. Orwell thought that if animals realized just how strong they are, they can defeat the human race and end up running the world.
The animalist state of Animal Farm is founded by Old Major's philosophy of peace and equality among animals and a deep hatred for humans. To confirm their stance, the animals create constitution laws that are painted on the side of a barn. But as Napoleon's reign grows corrupt, the laws are rewritten.
- Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
- Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
- No animal shall wear clothes.
- No animal shall sleep in a bed. (with sheets.)
- No animal shall drink alcohol. (to excess.)
- No animal shall kill any other animal. (without cause.)
- All animals are equal.
Eventually the pigs violate every rule and end up rewriting the constitution entirely to two phrases:
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
"Four legs good, two legs better!"
In 1954, the British animation studio Halas & Batchelor produced an Animated Adaptation
, which was widely heralded as a milestone of British animation note
, though it came under heavy criticism for its Lighter and Softer
approach to Orwell's fable, including a (somewhat) Happy Ending
in which the farm animals rise up against their new overlords. (It appears that the United States' CIA
had a hand in providing funding for the film, though it seems uncertain whether the film's writers and directors were aware of the fact.)
It also inspired Pink Floyd
's Concept Album Animals
, though it criticizes capitalism instead of communism. Snowball's Chance
also rips on both capitalism and Animal Farm
itself, portraying Snowball returning and becoming a George W. Bush Expy
A live action version, starring Patrick Stewart
as the voice of Napoleon and Kelsey Grammer
as Snowball, was produced in 1999. A stage adaptation, drawing heavily from another Orwell classic, Homage to Catalonia
, was first produced in 2008. Andy Serkis
is going to direct a new film version in Serkis Folk
.All spoilers below are unmarked. Reader beware.
Tropes in Animal Farm:
What? Not enough tropes? If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right. I will work harder!