Just a week ago, I posted something written by the same author. I think 1984 and Animal Farm are Orwell’s most monumental works. So after reading them successively, I had an Orwellian daze.
Each has its own merits, but which one do I prefer? I say Animal Farm. Not only is it economical and easy to read, it is also the first ever book that I finished in one sitting.
But are these the only things that I liked about it?
Animal Farm is a social satire. A group of discontented farm animals overthrew their owner. The farmer-owner, disgraced from his own property, fled to escape the wrath of these animals. His laziness filled their cup of patience and thought to manage the farm themselves, thinking that they could do a better job than a human being.
Everything was hopeful at first. There were the pigs, the horse, the cows, the donkey, and other animals that have now slipped away from my unreliable memory. The pigs, notoriously known for their superior intelligence despite their inability to lift their heads to the sky, did most of the managing. And this management and delegation of tasks turned out to be the crux of the story.
As with any group, human or not, there is politics. In the case of the farm animals, two pigs emerged as the leaders, Napoleon and Snowball. I think it is now necessary to disclaim any profound knowledge in politics. I am saying this because Stalin is always referred to whenever Animal Farm is discussed.
Anyway, instead of working together, one of the pigs decided to take the power of controlling the farm in his hands. Feet, hooves, whatever you call those parts of the pig. And would you like to take a wild guess on who this power-hungry pig is?
Napoleon conspired with the others to weave a lie that would lead to the ousting of Snowball in the now prospering farm. So yes, Napoleon’s gang succeeded. Snowball, the ideal farm leader, was accused of sabotaging the various farm works.
Things got nasty afterwards. All the promises that were given to the laboring animals became empty words. A bountiful retirement, better working conditions, and all the same things that one can hear from a president were just that, words. It was also inculcated in the animals that it was necessary to sacrifice first before reaping this supposed success. So they worked tirelessly, even exhausting themselves beyond their physical strength.
And guess what? When an animal is no longer of any use to the farm operations, he retired, but not in the strict sense of the word. He retired to the slaughterhouse.
Finally, the pigs decided to invite other prosperous farmers for a dinner. And what a revolting scene it was. The pigs, led by Napoleon, dressed in formal attire, stand up and walk around like humans, the very humans that they despised for their unused capacities.
I said the last part was revolting because in the end, the pigs wound up like their previous farmer, only that they were dressed better. It is sad if you come to think of it. I don’t know which is worse: humans being inferior to pigs or pigs adapting the ways of humans.
And where was Snowball all that time? Did he just give up? Rumors had it that he kept below the radar. I think he tried communicating with the other animals, but nothing came of it. He still wanted to change the way things were going. He still wanted his place in the farm. Is this concern for the welfare farm animals, or is this the same political motive that drove Napoleon to throw him out?
If we try to extend the novel by bringing in Snowball and allowing him to take over the farm, is there the possibility of the application of his ideologies as far as the management of the farm is concerned? Is working for the better sake of the laboring class foolproof?
I would like to take a bold move by setting a little example. The Philippines, my dear democratic country. The power is supposedly in her people’s hands, but is it effective? Is this practice of power enough to lead a country to development? How about a change of leadership, a change of style, a change of the form of government?
I think the Philippines is blessed enough for having a supposed Snowball administration, but why is it still in the third world stratum? Please take note of my disclaimer, my political ignorance. I would like to think that I am more of an artist, and this disables me from discussing politics further.