Writer: George Orwell, published in 1945.
Main Persons and Characters:
-) Farmer Jones
Owner of the "Manor Farm"; very selfish, sunk into drunkenness, forgets about his care of the animals of Manor Farm.
-) Two close neighbours of Farmer Jones: Mr. Pilkington of Foxwood and Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield
-) Most Important Animals: The Pigs (leaders and supervisors of the farm)
Old Major (Prophet of the Animal Revolution)
Napoleon (Pig leader, Central character of Animal Farm)
Snowball (Napoleon's rival)
Squealer (in German: "Quieckschnauz", Napoleon's speaker)
The Dogs (Napoleon's body guard)
The Horses: Boxer (an enormously strong horse Favourite slogans: "I will work harder" and "Comrade Napoleon is always right")
Clover (a mare, hard worker too, Boxer's friend)
The Sheep (a mass of mindless animals who can bleat slogans for Comrade Napoleon only).
Contents: Before his death, Old Major tells to the other animals of Manor Farm his "great dream". Man is the only real enemy we have, . the only creature that consumes without producing". Old Major leaves the final message: "all animals are equal" and teaches the animals the song "Beasts of England: . Arise, you prisoners of starvation .". Old Major founds "Animalism".
After Old Major's death the Animal Revolution comes. Farmer Jones and his servants are driven out, the pigs take over the leadership of this revolution and write down the main principles of animalism. Manor Farm now becomes "Animal Farm".
Every animal is working with full idealism. The animals on the farm live nearly classless, they are all "Comrades". Only the pigs start separating themselves from the other animals, they become self-appointed leaders. They reduce animalism to a single maxim: "Four legs good, two legs bad".
Suddenly, a great danger arises:
Neighbours get afraid of general animal rebellion in their own herds and then start an invasion of Animal Farm. However, the victory is with the animals.
After this "Battle of the Cowshed" Animal Farm has to overcome hard times. Napoleon drives his rival Snowball away with the help of his dogs. Napoleon orders to build a windmill, using Snowball's plan. For this purpose, the animals have to work like slaves. The harvest is insufficient and therefore the animals are always hungry. A big disappointment terrifies the animals: The windmill falls into ruins during a November storm. Napoleon knows the reason: Snowball has destroyed it. The animals have to rebuild the windmill. Food and supplies get shorter and shorter in the farm. Napoleon says Snowball is the traitor who has caused all the problems. But times do not improve.
The windmill is finally finished. Neighbour Frederick attacks Animal Farm to steal everything the animals have earned. However, this invasion is not successful, but the windmill is totally destroyed. Now the animals have to work hard again to rebuild the devastated farm.
After this second attempt, the farm is run more efficiently, the windmill is rebuilt, the farm gets richer, but the animals work as hard as ever. The ordinary animals are not richer; wealth seems to go into the hands of pigs and dogs. But the greatest shock comes, when the pigs start walking on their hind legs. The sheep learn a new slogan: "Four legs good, two legs better!" The laws of animalism have changed from: "All animals are equal", to: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".
The pigs become more and more similar to their former human enemies. At last, when human neighbours visit the farm, men and pigs cannot be distinguished.
My comment: Animal Farm is an entertaining animal story (Orwell called it a fairy story). Moreover, it is a history of the Russian Revolution in 1917, of its further development and of its final decline.