novella by George Orwell
published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II
. Orwell, a democratic socialist
, was a critic of Joseph Stalin
and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism
, especially after his experiences with the NKVD
, and what he saw of the results of the influence of Communist policy ("ceaseless arrests, censored newspapers, prowling hordes of armed police" – "Communism is now a counter-revolutionary force"), during the Spanish Civil War
Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever. 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.
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.
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.
Nobody stole, nobody grumbled over his rations, the quarreling and biting and jealousy which had been normal features of life in the old days had almost disappeared.
Old Benjamin, the donkey, seemed quite unchanged since the Rebellion. He did his work in the same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones's time, never shirking and never volunteering for extra work either. About the Rebellion and its results he would express no opinion. When asked whether he was not happier now that Jones was gone, he would say only "Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey," and the others had to be content with this cryptic answer.
Four legs good, two legs bad.
Surely, comrades, surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?
Now if there was one thing that the animals were completely certain of, it was that they did not want Jones back. When it was put to them in this light, they had no more to say. The importance of keeping the pigs in good health was all too obvious. So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone.