Saachi Kandula

United States

Why George Orwell's 1945 novel Animal Farm should be at the top of your wishlist for 2021

January 19, 2021

    2020 was a depressing year, whoever you are, wherever you live. The coronavirus and the economic disaster it caused and is still causing, police brutality, and Australia literally burning, not to mention numerous other horrible events have all but cemented the year past as one of the worst years in the history of mankind. But by far the most surprising thing of them all was the collapse of democracy in the United States. Now, I know what you're thinking, "What could a heavy-weighted, serious issue like the collapse of democracy have to do with a children's book?" Well, Animal Farm is not a children's book. It is George Orwell's brutal political satire on the dangers of Communism and what could and will happen if people decide that democracy is a bad idea, which makes it eerily relevant today.
    There are a couple of reasons why I believe this book is more powerful than any other one of its kind. For one, Animal Farm is a lot more violent and jarring than books like Lord of the Flies by William Golding or Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which really drives home the message of a possible dystopian society in the near future. Another reason that Animal Farm is a great book to read is that it mimics actual human events. Everything that happens in the book is a reference to real events, and all characters symbolize various people in history who played a role in the rise of Communism. This makes the terrifying events in the book even scarier because they have a connection to reality. This means that whoever reads the book will gain a much better understanding of the importance of maintaining a democracy. An example of the book's references to reality would be the quote and the idea that "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." This is a direct reference to the totalitarian governments in the past who have maintained the idea of equal power for all, but instead concentrated all of the power in the hands of the elite. The main characters, such as Napoleon, a pig, and Snowball, also a pig, represent Stalin and Leon Trotsky, respectively. Old Major, another pig represents Karl Marx, the father of Communism. Boxer, the working-horse represents the working class of Russia and so on.
    This book has also impacted me personally as well. Now that I know how a dictatorship can lead to a cycle of societal failures and more dictatorships, I realize the importance of things such as voting (when I'm eligible) and not spreading rumors and conspiracies about democratic practices on social media, especially with the rise of tech titans such as Facebook and Twitter. I also hope that you will embark on a journey yourself and truly understand the devastating power of Communism when applied to human society.
    Unfortunately, but somewhat inevitably, the fact that this book is a political satire about Communism means that it is fairly dark, especially for those who understand the true meaning of the book. The book also is not written to entertain, so the turns this book take may not be particularly enjoyable at times. In the end, however, it does deliver its intended message.
    So what does this mean in terms of recommendation? I would recommend this to fans of the Lord of the Flies or Brave New World, and I would also advise that unless you feel you have clearly grasped the subject that this book revolves around, you should probably not read it, as you would not be getting the full experience. All in all, this is a very good satire that is important today because we need to understand these overarching political issues in society that need to be fixed, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is mature enough for the subject. So yeah, you might want to pick up this title ASAP.

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