Animal Farm Book Summary - Animal Farm Book explained in key points
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Animal Farm summary

George Orwell

A Political Satire on the Corrupting Influence of Power

4.8 (419 ratings)
31 mins

Brief summary

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a satirical novel about a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, in the hopes of creating a society where the animals can be free and equal. However, their utopian dream is ultimately corrupted by those in power, leading to a new form of oppression and injustice.

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    Animal Farm
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    Scene One: Major’s Dream

    All of the animals on Manor Farm were talking about one thing. Old Major had a dream. Apparently it was so important that there was going to be a special meeting about it in the barn. Old Major was a 12-year-old prize-winning Middle White boar who was held in the highest regard. He was the wise elder among them, and if he had something important to say, no one complained about losing an hour’s sleep in order to hear what it was.

    Once the farmer, Mr. Jones, stumbled home drunk from the pub and fell asleep, the coast was clear and everyone was free to gather in the barn. From a slightly elevated platform, Old Major addressed the crowd from his bed of straw. In front of him were the hens, the sheep, the ducklings, the horses, the dogs, the pigs, the donkey – even the pigeons were all ears.

    Old Major cleared his throat and explained that part of his reason for this meeting was to describe the fantastic dream he had, but also, the time had come to pass on his wisdom. He was an old boar, and his days were numbered. But from his years of experience he believed he had come to understand the nature of life as well as any other creature alive. And the nature of life was: miserable, laborious, and short.

    As the stout old boar made clear, the life of an animal in England was that of cruel slavery. They were forced into strenuous work and fed the bare minimum. Then, when they were no longer of service, they were brutally slaughtered. And what was the cause of all this misery? Well, quite simply: Man. Man serves his interests, and his interests alone. Man is the only beast who consumes and produces nothing. Man doesn’t provide milk or eggs. He’s not strong enough to pull a plow or fast enough to catch rabbits. He uses and abuses animals for these purposes and it all goes down his throat or is turned into profit. For their toil, all the animals get are meager rations and a cold, dry place to sleep.

    Old Major then gets to his main point, and says, “This is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! We must work to overthrow the human race. It may not happen tomorrow, or even a hundred years from now. But justice will eventually prevail. And in the meantime, we must spread the word. Tell every animal that we will no longer work under the cruel thumb of man. That we can and will work for our own benefit. That one day we will be free and wealthy from our own efforts. Tell them we can be united in our struggle and our reward. That all men are enemies and all animals are comrades!”

    Cheers broke out in the barn. A vote was quickly held in which nearly everyone, save for a couple cats and dogs, unanimously agreed that even wild animals such as rabbits and rats, were to be considered comrades. Old Major then laid the foundational principles of their rebellion – what would become known as the Seven Commandments.

    1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. 
    2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. 
    3. No animal shall wear clothes. 
    4. No animal shall sleep in a bed. 
    5. No animal shall drink alcohol. 
    6. No animal shall kill any other animal. 
    7. All animals are equal. 

    Finally, Old Major began to talk about the dream he had. It was a vision of a world without Man. He could not accurately describe the details of the dream. But he could describe the song the dream invoked. It was a song his mother used to sing, though she could not remember all the words. It was a song lost to past generations. But in his dream, Old Major heard every last verse.

    He then proceeded to teach the animals the song, called Beasts of England. Its verses painted the scene of a golden future time, when the fruitful fields of England would be trod by beasts alone. It resonated with every animal in the barn, and they sang it over and over until they memorized every line. 

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    What is Animal Farm about?

    Animal Farm (1945) is a classic satirical novella that transplants the events of the Russian Revolution of 1917 to a small English farm. Once the animals stage an uprising, a political battle ensues between an ideological pig named Snowball and a power-hungry pig named Napoleon. 

    Animal Farm Review

    Animal Farm (1945) is a captivating allegorical tale that holds a mirror up to society and explores themes of power, corruption, and the dangers of totalitarianism. Here are three reasons why this book is worth delving into:

    • With its brilliant use of animals as characters, the book makes complex political ideas accessible and thought-provoking.
    • The story's satirical nature provides a sharp critique of human behavior, offering readers a fresh perspective on the flaws of society.
    • Packed with symbolism, the book invites readers to interpret and analyze its deeper meanings, sparking discussions that extend beyond its pages.

    Who should read Animal Farm?

    • Fans of political satire
    • Animal lovers
    • Anyone who likes a classic story

    About the Author

    George Orwell is considered one of the most important British authors of the twentieth century. In particular, his books Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) appear frequently on best-of-the-century lists. He was also a noted critic, essayist, and journalist.

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    Animal Farm FAQs 

    What is the main message of Animal Farm?

    The main message of Animal Farm is a critique of totalitarianism and the corruption of power.

    How long does it take to read Animal Farm?

    The reading time for Animal Farm varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Animal Farm a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Animal Farm is a thought-provoking read that offers insights into human nature and political systems. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Animal Farm?

    The author of Animal Farm is George Orwell.