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5 Books like Animal Farm: A Powerful Allegory

Kedar Prasana itcherGeorge Orwell is a stellar name in the world of English literature. One of his more popular books, ‘Animal Farm’ has stirred many ideas of social justice through a bland looking children’s story. These five books similar to ‘Animal Farm’ will certainly help you dissect our beliefs through the power of the written word: ‘Darkness At Noon’, ‘1984’, ‘Brave New World’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’, ‘Crime and Punishment’. ~ Kedar Prasana

Not So Docile Beasts of England

Four legs good, two legs better! All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.

‘Animal Farm’ is often included in the middle school and high school syllabi all over the world, and quite rightly so. It’s a tale of farm animals who try to form what they think is a good society. What follows is just madness.

Orwell, despite being a mild leftist himself, never shied away from criticising the state of socialism in Soviet Russia. ‘Animal Farm’ was his way of saying ‘no, it’s not working!’

For those of you who loved the allegorical style of dealing with the reality that Orwell adopted, the following books similar to ‘Animal Farm’ will be worth investing your time in.


Books Similar to ‘Animal Farm’…

‘Darkness At Noon’ (Arthur Koestler, 1940)

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Revolutionary theory had frozen to a dogmatic cult, with a simplified, easily graspable catechism, and with No. 1 as the high priest celebrating the Mass.

The author, Arthur Koestler, himself was a staunch supporter of communism in Russia. However, as Stalin took the high-seat, like millions of Old Bolsheviks, he had to live in exile for the rest of his life – a life that certainly didn’t see a happy ending.

‘Darkness at Noon’ is set in a prison. Much of it revolves around the concept of revolution, justice and human nature that breaks down upon the slightest bereavement of hope.

Similarity Match: 95%
‘Darkness at Noon’ is not allegorical like ‘Animal Farm’. It, however, leaves no fuel unburnt while criticising what needs to be criticised – injustice, hegemony and dictatorship.

‘1984’ (George Orwell, 1949)

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If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever!

Another gem of a book that will surely rob your sleep for some nights, ‘1984’ is a chilling tale of how authoritarian influence can end humanity as we know it today.

Written in 1949, the book has, quite remarkably, managed to predict a number of things that have since come to be – from the omniscient gods of the internet to cameras that watch every nook and cranny day and night.

Similarity Match: 90%
‘1984’ is arguably longer and more complex than ‘Animal Farm’. At their essence, though, both share a single theme: dismantling of societal structure through evil deeds of a few.

‘Brave New World’ (Aldous Huxley, 1932)

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I want God, I want poetry, I want danger, I want freedom, I want sin.

Brave New World’ has more to do with science than society. It discusses how extreme scientific advancement can render the human evolution obsolete. It’s not science fiction, far from it.

With some truly incredible leaps of imagination for his time (‘custom’ human body parts, taste tube babies and artificial intelligence), Aldous Huxley managed to come up with a book that needs to be taken seriously, very seriously.

Similarity Match: 85%
Civilization can suffer through many things. While ‘Animal Farm’ tries to deal with the societal side of it, ‘Brave New World’ takes on science. The point is, nonetheless, to be careful about the progress, not wary of it.


If You Like ‘Animal Farm’, You Will Like…

If you have read ‘Animal Farm’ in school, it’s high time you pick it up again and read as an adult. To go with it, here are two more books like ‘Animal Farm’ that slightly stray in taste, but not in concept.

‘A Clockwork Orange’ (Anthony Burgess, 1962)

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It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil.

‘A Clockwork Orange’ has been the cornerstone of experimental literature for over five decades. Its author, Anthony Burgess, himself drew inspiration from none other than James Joyce in creating this masterpiece.

‘A Clockwork Orange’, just like ‘Animal Farm’, tries to guess what will happen in a particular set of anarchic conditions. It was turned into an equally riveting, sometimes repellent, movie by movie maestro Stanley Kubrick.

‘Animal Farm’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ differ in the fact that Orwell dealt with the matter in a superficially funny way while Burgess didn’t try to conceal his hand and went all guns blazing from the word go.

‘Crime and Punishment’ (Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1866)

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Life had stepped into the place of theory and something quite different would work itself out in his mind.

Fyodor Dostoevsky was one of the foremost thinkers of his time. To turn his thought into a story that lives on 150 years after it was written, he must also have been a gifted writer.

‘Crime and Punishment’ is not an entertaining book. It’s a disturbing book that you will never forget once you are through it. As the beasts of England rollick around while tragedy lurks just around the corner in ‘Animal Farm’, the young protagonist of ‘Crime and Punishment’ himself walks into a tragedy, allured by its romanticism.

‘Crime and Punishment’ is a study in itself, and it will require much more time on the reader’s part than ‘Animal Farm’. These two books are much alike in that they try to analyse human mind through metaphors, allegories and similes.


Thinking is a Virtue. So, Think!

These books similar to ‘Animal Farm’ celebrate the very act and duty of humans ‘to think’. To keep you thinking in the right direction, you cannot go wrong with the following books: ‘The Fountainhead’, ‘Heart of Darkness’ and ‘The Last King of Scotland’.

Let us know your thoughts by writing down your comments or suggestions in the box below!

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