Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (An Hbj Modern Classic) Kindle Edition
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|Kindle, July 1, 2009||
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|Length: 63 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
As soon as the light in the bedroom went out there was a stirring and a fluttering all through the farm buildings. Word had gone round during the day that old Major, the prize Middle White boar, had had a strange dream on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the other animals. It had been agreed that they should all meet in the big barn as soon as Mr. Jones was safely out of the way. Old Major (so he was always called, though the name under which he had been exhibited was Willingdon Beauty) was so highly regarded on the farm that everyone was quite ready to lose an hour's sleep in order to hear what he had to say.
At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam. He was twelve years old and had lately grown rather stout, but he was still a majestic-looking pig, with a wise and benevolent appearance in spite of the fact that his tushes had never been cut. Before long the other animals began to arrive and make themselves comfortable after their different fashions. First came the three dogs, Bluebell, Jessie, and Pincher, and then the pigs, who settled down in the straw immediately in front of the platform. The hens perched themselves on the windowsills, the pigeons fluttered up to the rafters, the sheep and cows lay down behind the pigs and began to chew the cud. The two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover, came in together, walking very slowly and setting down their vast hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animal concealed in the straw. Clover was a stout motherly mare approaching middle life, who had never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal. Boxer was an enormous beast, nearly eighteen hands high, and as strong as any two ordinary horses put together. A white stripe down his nose gave him a somewhat stupid appearance, and in fact he was not of first-rate intelligence, but he was universally respected for his steadiness of character and tremendous powers of work. After the horses came Muriel, the white goat, and Benjamin, the donkey. Benjamin was the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered. He seldom talked, and when he did, it was usually to make some cynical remark-for instance, he would say that God had given him a tail to keep the flies off, but that he would sooner have had no tail and no flies. Alone among the animals on the farm he never laughed. If asked why, he would say that he saw nothing to laugh at. Nevertheless, without openly admitting it, he was devoted to Boxer; the two of them usually spent their Sundays together in the small paddock beyond the orchard, grazing side by side and never speaking.
The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar. She took a place near the front and began flirting her white mane, hoping to draw attention to the red ribbons it was plaited with. Last of all came the cat, who looked round, as usual, for the warmest place, and finally squeezed herself in between Boxer and Clover; there she purred contentedly throughout Major's speech without listening to a word of what he was saying.
All the animals were now present except Moses, the tame raven, who slept on a perch behind the back door. When Major saw that they had all made themselves comfortable and were waiting attentively, he cleared his throat and began:
"Comrades, you have heard already about the strange dream that I had last night. But I will come to the dream later. I have something else to say first. I do not think, comrades, that I shall be with you for many months longer, and before I die, I feel it my duty to pass on to you such wisdom as I have acquired. I have had a long life, I have had much time for thought as I lay alone in my stall, and I think I may say that I understand the nature of life on this earth as well as any animal now living. It is about this that I wish to speak to you.
"Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.
"But is this simply part of the order of nature? Is it because this land of ours is so poor that it cannot afford a decent life to those who dwell upon it? No, comrades, a thousand times no! The soil of England is fertile, its climate is good, it is capable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater number of animals than now inhabit it. This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep-and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now almost beyond our imagining. Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings. There, comrades, is the answer to all our problems. It is summed up in a single word-Man. Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.
"Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilises it, and yet there is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see before me, how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year? And what has happened to that milk which should have been breeding up sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of our enemies. And you hens, how many eggs have you laid in this last year, and how many of those eggs ever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market to bring in money for Jones and his men. And you, Clover, where are those four foals you bore, who should have been the support and pleasure of your old age? Each was sold at a year old-you will never see one of them again. In return for your four confinements and all your labour in the fields, what have you ever had except your bare rations and a stall?
"And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span. For myself I do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones. I am twelve years old and have had over four hundred children. Such is the natural life of a pig. But no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we all must come-cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Even the horses and the dogs have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to the knacker, who will cut your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds. As for the dogs, when they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and drowns them in the nearest pond.
"Is it not crystal clear, then, comrades, that all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings? Only get rid of Man, and the produce of our labour would be our own. Almost overnight we could become rich and free. What then must we do? Why, work night and day, body and soul, for the overthrow of the human race! That is my message to you, comrades: Rebellion! I do not know when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but I know, as surely as I see this straw beneath my feet, that sooner or later justice will be done. Fix your eyes on that, comrades, throughout the short remainder of your lives! And above all, pass on this message of mine to those who come after you, so that future generations shall carry on the struggle until it is victorious.
"And remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades."
At this moment there was a tremendous uproar. While Major was speaking four large rats had crept out of their holes and were sitting on their hindquarters, listening to him. The dogs had suddenly caught sight of them, and it was only by a swift dash for their holes that the rats saved their lives. Major raised his trotter for silence.
"Comrades," he said, "here is a point that must be settled. The wild creatures, such as rats and rabbits-are they our friends or our enemies? Let us put it to the vote. I propose this question to the meeting: Are rats comrades?"
The vote was taken at o...
- Publication Date : July 1, 2009
- File Size : 2391 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 63 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : B08HTVRZJ1
- Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition (July 1, 2009)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B003K16PUU
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,831 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Top reviews from the United States
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Just noticed this date on the last page. This the date I ordered it. No publisher. Almost seems bootleg-ish....
I want my money back.
Countries that had the opportunity to evolve, have had to pass a difficult test of not falling into totalitarianism and ambition. Such was the case of some countries of the Soviet Union that achieved liberation, but still others continue to fall into the same abyss from which they can't rise, or don't want to, since that parasite has crawled in the mind of their crowd, as did happen in North Korea, China, etc.
Animal Farm shows the perfect example of how the unhealthy idea of a cheap Socialism began to take root to become a dictatorial Communism, as it happens in Venezuela today. Its strange end leaves a bitter taste that perhaps the writer did on purpose to open the consciousness of future generations. An open ending that forces the reader to ask himself: what is the solution? And how will it end?
Through human experiences of the animals of this farm, we can identify this truth that still lingers in some shady societies of the present. The solution is in our hands. It will depend on the degree of preparation, culture, moral values, determination, and courage people have to free their homeland and achieve a better future. Remember governments must fear the people and not the opposite.
After that, I summarize my point of view about the strongest references dealt with through the characters in this book (that can be easily identify and distinguished when you start to read the story) in the following sections:
1) Leaders full of charisma who manage to enter the hearts of the crowd by their power of conviction. They choose the most insecure sectors and people to whom they inject large doses of false trust and dependence, and then use them in the propagation of their miserable revolution.
2) From the beginning, they call a supposed self-identification and self-recognition through rhythmic and flattering slogans. They remember again and again their few and poor achievements that remain in the distant past. Then, they impose a barrier of differences between them and the supposed enemy. In this way, the people is infused with a nationalism that is based on ignorance, fear, and blind reverence, forcing them to repeat proverbs and apply reforms without understanding the true meaning or purpose, thus beginning to resemble a herd of sheep, marching pleased towards the slaughterhouse.
3) They make the crowd believe that they have the final decision and, for the common good, unconsciously follow the rules and imposed parameters. In addition, some extra benefits are allowed to those who follow and protect the regime indulgently. This is how they teach the majority that it is better to be corrupt, dishonest, and negligent, in order to achieve higher ranks.
4) The regime feel entitled to legalize and abolish what suits it, ordering the people what to eat, how to dress, greet and live, and what to learn, while they live freely at the expense of the efforts of others and of the injustices committed, trampling the honor of an entire country and their own Machiavellian socialist laws.
5) What seemed a worthy plan for community, social, intellectual, and economic development, now shows the true intention that tries to kill the spirit of solidarity to impose the dictatorial and even genocidal plan, if the regressive revolution warrants it.
6) Everyone, even the majority of the crowd, realize that revolutionary projects are a total failure when they find themselves amidst of aberrant poverty.
7) When they want to discredit an opponent or other progressive ideas, they use their famous method of defamation with lies, intimidation, and any other means. For them, the aim (maintain / save the revolution) justifies the means (spreading false rumors, prosecutions, torture, hunger, espionage), importing in the least the opinion of others, since their own people live in ignorance, cowardice and/or conformism.
8) To finally protect their interests and ideals, communists surround themselves with and associate with allies of their own class: corrupt, traffickers, murderers and terrorists, and expand their power further through the destruction of every vital block of a society , from its financial structure to public sectors, such as health, without caring about the misery that people live. To rule the ignorant and negligent is much easier.
9) There comes a time when the revolutionary-communist doctrine is so deeply rooted in the consciences, that the people forget how well they lived before. The most outrageous thing is that there are still people who support such regimes and whose can mental programming is so easily influenced on behalf the sadistic needs and convenience of these cunning and malevolent rulers.
Times before the Rebellion are being left in the past, where the memories struggle to keep them safe to share them with others
It's so distracting, that I had stop reading at the beginning of chapter 7, and get a different version. Do yourself a favor and skip this version.
Orwell’s story is based on the Russian Revolution but could probably apply to the French, Cuban and Venezuelan Revolutions as well. Orwell was a Socialist; he rushed off to Spain to fight with the Communists in 1936, but he returned to England quite disillusioned, having realised that the Fascisti and the factions on his side were not really all that different. It’s a great pity that his tragic life was cut short. At age forty-seven, he was on his deathbed writing his second masterpiece, 1984. Had he lived longer, one wonders how his writing and political outlook may have changed, if at all, and what other great works he would have created to make us think deeply.
Top reviews from other countries
I read this in one go. All the behaviours described within are widespread today (2019), far more so than even 10 years ago. Bad things are happening - all the signs are here, but we dismiss them so we can continue feeling safe.
If 1984 describes our near future, Animal Farm is the here and now.
Orwell clearly wrote this knowing what had happened before, to warn us it would almost certainly happen again. I think our time is up.
The reason I chose this one is that it has an introduction by Bradbury.
After reading it, I think my money is well spent.
Besides, the value of this edition lies in the inclusion of the unpublished preface by the author in the first edition in 1945 as well as another one to the Ukrainian edition by Orwell.
I used to think (and still think) Animal Farm is the best of his works; after reading Bradbury's introduction, I know I am not wrong for my impression.
I bought this product (Animal Farm - Paperback) believing it was the novel and was disappointed to find that it was the screenplay. The product title should clearly indicate what this product is.
Although set in rural England it is a thinly veiled critique of Stalinism written at the time when the dictator was at the height of his power and in integral ally in the fight against Hitler. A little understanding of European history during the 1920's and 1930's is necessary to make the parallel connections, but the plot still works without this knowledge. This is a story about how the less fortunate can become victims of the manipulative. It is about the abuse of power and how the unscrupulous could brutally exploit the willing. Unlike the sub-title it does not have a fairy-tale ending.
The introduction and the two appendices [compelling essays in their own right] give a nice insight to why the author wanted to write this story and the original Establishment objections to its publication.