After its publication, Animal Farm was very successful and it was actually ranked second in the year 1984. This book made Orwell to break out into fame from being a normal essay writer into the world of commended fiction. Despite the fact that the publishers were hesitant to publish the book due to its political theme, the book was met with a lot of enthusiasm by readers all over Europe and the United States. In the US, more than six hundred thousand copies were sold in a period of four years. The book was translated into so many languages an obvious reason of its diversified reaches (Orwell, 2004).
Animal Farm is still relevant today based on the fact that it is a kind of a fairy tale, parable or an allegory to many people and in particular the grown-ups. The way in which the book has been presented is in a special way taking the readers into the world of fantasy away from current issues and thus facilitating some deep understanding. Some of the major themes that have been addressed in the book are still evident in today’s society and governments and as a result, the readers are able to relate and in a way, the book can act as a wake-up call to the oppressed or those in a similar situation to the ‘common animals’ in the novel (Orwell, 2004).
The major theme is based on the totalitarian governments and their disguises and in this case the book acts as a cautionary tale in regard to Stalinism. The major revolutions in the urban countries that started from Tunisia spread to Egypt, to Libya and Yemen in the recent times is enough evidence that the issues discussed in the book affects the modern community too. The other major theme is the campaign of education and intelligence as major tools against oppression. Right from the beginning, the stratification o the population of the Animal firm was facilitated through education. Being the ‘cleverest of all the animals’ (Orwell, 2004), the pigs organize and strategize the rest of the animals in organizing the major revolution. The intelligence and education of the pigs turns them from enlightenment tools to proponents of oppression.
Every time they are in need of a material thing such as milk, they neglect their morals and apply their education and intelligence to trick the rest of the animals to get it. The pigs deny the rest of the animals an opportunity to have some formal education and this is the reason they stand out among the rest of the animals to be in a position to exploit them they way they wish. For example, the pigs are aware that the rest of the animals cannot read properly and they take advantage and revise the commandments as they wish and whenever they wish to suit themselves. They also learn the trading manuals and take advantage of the opportunities around them by conducting business with the neighboring people knowing well that they animals knew that these were their enemies. These and many other examples are a direct proves that education and intelligence are very important for the general survival in this harsh world (Orwell, 2004).
The other theme that also applies in contemporary times is the effect of propaganda. The author of this book was a propagandist in the Second World War and as a result he had a good experience of the major impact and power behind propaganda. Propaganda is a tool that is used by very many governments in their rulings. Propaganda can be used to unite people as a major strategy to mislead them. A firm stance towards the kind of harm propaganda can bring about is highlighted by the author in the book and at the same the ability to rally an abused and disenchanted populace has been acknowledged in a way. A positive value relating to propaganda was highlighted in chapter nine of the animal firm. The chapter is full of irony but at the end the author is able to give a clear demonstration of in the positive right and as a form of deception (Bloomfield, 2011).
Terror and violence
The theme of terror and violence in taking control is another important theme in the current times and it has been addressed in this particular book. It is a fact that most of dictators use terror and violence as their major tool in creating fear among the populace for automatic submission. The major rebellion that they animals have planned is to be able to eliminate violence caused by the human beings. Jones not only overwork these animals and benefit from the fruits of their labor in an unfair manner, he also slaughters them and whips them whenever he feels like and this is very irritating to these animals. Jones knows the impact that terror and violence can have and he goes on to use it to his advantage (Bloomfield, 2011).
This is the reason why the executions are conducted and as a result, the readers of this novel are made aware of the effect that these two major tools can have to a given population, but with this kind of knowledge, people are in a better position to avoid being fooled by terror and violence at the expense of remaining under oppression for a long time. Lastly the theme surrounding the exploitation as well as individual rights that the animals are denied is a major theme in the contemporary society too and this was one reason why the animals united to form the great revolution (Orwell, 2004).
George Orwell has used a lot of literary devices in the novel and one of the commonly used is the metaphor. The major theme which the author has addressed is the Russian Revolution which of course was carried out by human beings but in ‘Animal Farm’ the characters are however animals. The author has used metaphors in a number of ways to create irony, make the story more interesting while reading it and to drift the reader from the current happenings of the world in the world of fantasy for clear understanding of the issues addressed in the story. Examples of the metaphors that have been used in the book include; milk to represent the motherly care and love, the use of the farmhouse to symbolize greed, the barn to symbolize socialism, the use of the animals with the human behaviors instead of people, alcohol as a representation of the old Russia, and the Windmill as an ironical representation of the Soviet Industry or the failure of the U.S.S.R. in the cold war (Luftman, 1981).
Since the book was published, the readers have continued to enjoy it as an animal story that is not complicated. Though it is possible that a reader may go through the book and fail to relate to the historical context in which the writer was in during the time this book was written, however this book can be very interesting when the reader of the novel is informed of the happenings of the 1940s. The symbolization of the animals in a way symbolizes some real historical features. Some issues such as violence, deception and mistrust are so painful to talk about or listen to them being addressed in different areas but in this case the author addresses them in a special way in a kind of a tale and the people reading the book can reflect on their effect properly (Rae, 1998).