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Author: George Orwell
First published in August 1945.
Publisher: Penguin Books
1. On what basis did you decide to read the book that you did ?
I’m not used to read English books so I went to the library. I searched some books which are adapted to a person who’s not accustomed to reading. I found three books including Animal Farm. Later in class I told the teacher about my books and she recommended me to read Animal Farm. When I read the book I was surprised that the story request a lot of knowledge about historical fact and figures.
2. Describe the appearance and the character of the main character in the story.
The role of the pigs in the story is vital. The most important pig is definitely Napoleon. Napoleon is Orwell's chief villain in Animal Farm. He’s the perfect metaphor for Stalin and his ideas. Every animal is afraid of him, he uses he’s power to indoctrinate the animals on the farm. → For example: “Napoleon is always right.” ( pg. 48 )
Napoleon brainwashes the animals who causes the animals to regard him as the perfect leader. → For example: "It had become usual to give Napoleon the credit for every successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to another, 'Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs in six days'; or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim, 'Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this water tastes!' ( pg. 78 )
Napoleon's ideas are becoming more extreme, so much so that he becomes a dictator.
→ For example : "Napoleon had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The truest happiness, he said, lay in working hard and living frugally." ( pg. 107 ) Napoleon’s way of thought are described on page 99.
3. Are the characters real to you or are they just stereotypes ?
All the characters that are used in the story are all examples of great dictators of our history. I had the advantage that I have a basic knowledge about the revolution after the Soviet-union in particular the rise of Stalinism. With Napoleon the pig, they refer directly at the French leader Napoleon who ruled in 19th century. Old Major is an metaphor for Karl Marx who was a philosopher, the founding father of Marxism. Socialists and communists were inspirited by his anti-capitalistic theories. Snowball who represents L. Trotski, who took part in de development of the Soviet Union at Lenin’s side.
4. Give some details about the location or the setting of the novel.
The farm and the animals on it, evoke characteristics that we associate with typical personalities of ( famous ) people. Such as the cruel-like, striking pig ( Napoleon III ). Already in our early childhood we get to know the setting of the farm and her elements. That makes it easy for us to make associations.
The majority of the historical period to which George Orwell refers takes place in an agrarian economy. So I think it’s more likely to use the location of the farm instead of for example: a factory.
5. Does the novel present realistic situations ?
In the novel I didn’t notice examples of instinctive animal behaviour. In my point of view it was the specific intention of the writer to make personifications of the animals. Because of all the human characteristics it was hard to find animal behaviour which made the situations surreal.
6. what kind of issues and problems are being dealt with ?
The main issue is power, power elites and power relations. When a situation changes, in a country or on the farm, we often notice a tendency of a power abuse. People frequently make decisions following their own interests.
7. Choose a passage of the book that you found most impressive or touching.
The reason for choosing this passage is that it touched me the most and was clear to me. Unlike most of the story I had the feeling, I could relate to the subject. In this situation, the position and power relations of the characters were explicit, in contrast to the rest of the novel where I had the feeling that this distinction was unclear. To understand the context of the story and the historical background, I had to inform myself on the internet. I do not regret reading this book nevertheless I prefer other kinds of stories . This resume why I chose this page of the book, it most resembles the type of story I like to read.
8. Write about an event in the story from the point of view of a minor character (first person narrative). What did he or she see, do or feel?
I chose Mollie as minor character. She isn’t interested in politics, she just wants to have a happy peaceful life.
While I did my daily walk, Mr. Jones was drunk again. This was just one of those ordinary days at the farm. All the animals lived their own miserable life. There was no coexistence between the different types of animals on the farm.
Old Major suddenly called us together. Everyone was nervous and curious about what Old Major had to say. Old Major was the oldest pig on the farm, with sometimes some strange ideas. He spend the most of his time analyzing his theories.
He waited until it became quiet. I could read the excitement on the faces of the animals. He proclaimed his dream of a world without humans and where animals would lead the world. He also announced that Mr. Jones would die soon. He suggested while he was screaming to begin a rebellion where the animals would come to power. In all its glory we sang “ Beasts of England “, we hoped for better times to come. I stayed calm when he came out with those ideas, unlike Napoleon who was in euphoria.
I was happy with my care-free life and now suddenly I had to change my life and start a new way of living. But I seemed to be alone, all the others were agree with Old Major ideas.
After a few days I thought about it and I still didn’t agree. In this time Old Major had deceased. I knew that from now on, times never would be the same.
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