1. What did the different characters and animal species remind you of? What symbolism did you pull from them?
The animals are representatives of the different social classes. The pigs are the ruling class. The other animals variably try to please the ruling class. The best they can hope for is to not be harmed. The ruling class will always view them with disdain.
2. Did this story draw any parallels with you for historical events or modern events?
The story was about the Russian revolution and the Soviet Union. The proletariat were no better off under the rule of the Soviet leaders than they had been under the rule of the aristocracy. Under Stalin’s rule, many people starved to death.
3. What are your thoughts about the changes in the commandments and the animals' reactions to it?
The commandments were changed to keep the other animals obedient to the ruling class (the pigs.) The sheep were followers who never questioned the pigs. The other animals questioned, but most were not willing to risk their well-being to attempt to oust the pigs.
4. In the end, the animals couldn't differentiate between the humans and the pigs: what can we infer from how things have changed since Animal Farm was created?
Those in power can never be trusted to do the right thing consistently without a system of checks and balances to keep them from abusing their power. Citizens must be allowed to criticize the government. To have a government that is above reproach is a gateway for totalitarianism.
5. What did you like about Animal Farm? What did you dislike?
I thought that it was a well-written story and a wonderfully scathing satire of the formation of the USSR. I have no complaints about the book.
The questions are from the Insecure Writers Support Group Book Club.
Animal Farm is a brilliantly written satire of the formation of the Soviet Union. Through his use of talking animals, George Orwell shows that communism is an ideology that looks good in theory but does not benefit the majority in practice.
When the Communist party overthrew the Russian aristocracy, the common person wound up trading one set of tyrants for another. The Russian nobility (the humans) were ignorant of just how badly the lower classes were suffering and how dissatisfied the people were, and they paid the ultimate price for their ignorance.
Initially, the animals were glad to have the humans gone. However, they soon became aware that they were no better off under Napoleon (the pig) and his sycophants than they had been under the rule of the humans.
Through the use of allegory, Orwell cautions readers against blindly following any ideology, no matter how seductive that ideology is on the surface.
Review link on Goodreads