Animal Farm

George Orwell's Animal Farm is a story of animals revolting against their owner.

Mr. Jones, owner of Manor Farm, as it was called at the time, was often drunk. One night, as soon as he had staggered back to the house, and the lights went out for the night, all of the farm animals gathered at the big barn for a meeting.

They had heard that old Major, the prize boar, had had a strange dream and that he wanted to tell them about it.  They all respected him, and were eager to hear what he had to say.Old Major began by telling them that he thought he wouldn't be with them much longer, and that before he died, he wanted to pass on to them the wisdom he had acquired in his long life.

He then talks about how farm animals are treated by the humans. He reminds them that their lives are "miserable, laborious and short".

He points out that they are given just enough food to keep them alive, that those who are capable of it are forced to work until their strength gives out. Then, when they are no longer useful, they are slaughtered with hideous cruelty.

Old Major reminds them that the produce of their labor - the milk, the eggs, the young pigs - is all taken from them by human beings. He tells each of them, in horrifying detail, how their lives will end at the hands of humans.
He then calls for rebellion. He says that no matter how long it takes, they must "work night and day, body and soul" to overthrow the human race.

Shortly after his speech in the barn that night, old Major dies, and two young pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, now consider it their responsibility to take over and prepare for the day of rebellion.

As it turns out, that day comes much sooner than any of them had expected. Mr. Jones had been drinking more than usual, and was forgetting to feed the animals. When they became so hungry they could no longer stand it, one of the cows broke the door of the storage shed with her horn, and all the animals began eating freely from the bins.

This brought Mr. Jones and his hired hands to the shed with whips. But this time the animals fought back and succeeded in driving the men from the farm.

With the humans gone, things went very well for a while.  Mr. Jones was even defeated a second time when he came back attempting to reclaim his land.

But, as time went on, the pigs started behaving more and more like the humans they had despised. Their most important commandment, "all animals are equal", became "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

It took a few years to get someone to publish the book because of Orwell's criticism of the USSR. When it was finally published in England in August of 1945, it was banned in the USSR and other communist countries.

It was also banned in schools of the United Arab Emirates in 2002, mostly because of talking pigs, which goes against Islamic beliefs.

Animal Farm has been challenged in various schools in the United States for "its political theories", the words "masses will revolt", and the claim that Orwell "was a communist".

A play based on the book was banned in Kenya in 1991 because it criticizes corrupt leaders.

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