Animal Farm: Napolean-Stalin Essay, Research Paper
Animal Farm Research Paper
Animal Farm is one of George Orwell s most controversial pieces of work. One would say that Animal Farm is an allegory of Stalinism, growing out from the Russian Revolution in 1917. Because it is cast as an animal fable it gives the reader/viewer, some distance from the specific political events. The use of the fable form helps one to examine the certain elements of human nature which can produce a Stalin and enable him to seize power. In this case Napoleon was the Stalin of the book. Many elements of the book indicate this very subtly at times and clearly at other times.
Napoleon, like Stalin, uses methods to make him look favorable by simply altering the rules to his needs at the time. Squealer is responsible for most of this transgression. All of the Seven Commandments of Animal Farm are eventually broken before the commandments are revised to establish that the pigs did nothing wrong. In the eighth chapter, the commandment that strictly forbids animals to kill one another was cunningly changed to “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause” (Orwell 63) after a series of executions of supposed traitors and probable Snowball followers. Napoleon forced confessions and eliminated these probable traitors under the newly revised rule. The new rule favored his popularity, respect, and increased his hunger for power. Stalin did virtually the same: Stalin even turned against members of the Communist party and the Red Army. He removed them from positions and then, like all the others he thought were disloyal, had them either shot or sent to labor camp in icy Siberia (Smith 27). After all, Stalin did not believe in leaving officials for very long in a position from which they might build a power base (Ulam 375).
Both Napoleon and Stalin instilled a fear in the people using the notion that if you did not do their bidding you would be punished. Napoleon used his dogs. —They had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere— (Orwell 60). Stalin s dogs were the secret police. His secret police watched everyone, striking fear into hearts of the people (Smith 27). Stalin and Napoleon, both used their dogs/secret police to eliminate people that they felt threatened their position as absolute rulers. By doing this they disillusioned other people who had hopes of gaining power. It is very obvious that in both cases they felt that avoiding competition by simply getting rid of it was the easiest way to ensure their power over others.
Like Napoleon, Snowball is a pig who has great leadership abilities. His main goal was to better the life of the farm by building a windmill which would make life less burdensome for all those who lived there. Napoleon, on the other hand, argued that the great need of the moment was to increase food production, and that if they wasted time on the windmill they would all starve to death (Orwell 36). A few weeks after Snowball was ran off by the dogs and was no longer around Napoleon started thinking. It appeared that he had power now so he utilized that power just as Stalin did with Lenin s ideas. In 1936, Stalin proclaimed a new constitution for the U.S.S.R. This Stalin Constitution, as it was called, preserved the essential framework that had existed in Russia under Lenin (Mazour 691).
Napoleon was very self indulgent and craved power as did Stalin. Although admired by some Russians, most would agree with the assessment in the West that Stalin was one of the cruelest dictators in history (Encarta B). Both Napoleon and Stalin placed themselves above all officials who had control over the people and made sure that they glorified their image. In Napoleon s case he used Squealer s ability to convince and to manipulate the thoughts of the proletariat-like animals of the farm. Squealer s greatest accomplishment was getting Boxer, a hard worker and a dedicated role model for all other animals on the farm, to believe that Napoleon is a magnificent strategist who knows what he is doing. In the words of Boxer, If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right (Orwell 40). Even the poem by Minimus glorified Napoleon to the fullest extent, especially the line He should have learned to be / Faithful and true to thee, / Yes, his first squeak should be, / Comrade Napoleon (Orwell 65). If Napoleon really wanted power he was very good at manipulating others to ensure that he got it. He made sure that all his people trusted his decisions and believed in him. Stalin did exactly the same: Stalin ordered writers and artists to create only works that glorified him and the Soviet state (Smith 27). By making sure that the officials praised him he was able to involve the proletariat by allowing his congress to manipulate their thoughts about him. After all The congress was the scene of the most excessive praise of his (Stalin s) services (Ulam 370). In both cases, the people were so devoted to their leaders that they did not realize they had been brainwashed into believing that their leaders could do no wrong.
Napoleon and Stalin s ideals mirror each other and are almost identical. It is likely that if these two were put together, they would inevitably kill each other. There is one thing to realize though: They are both human. Regardless of what Napoleon really is he is human. Both Stalin and Napoleon wanted to make things better. The way they visualized it in their head was better, but after they became infatuated with power they began to lose their dreams. Many people/animals died because of one person having too much power. In the end their dream was twisted in conjunction to their original ideas. It s similar to an artist visualizing a masterpiece, beginning to paint it, and ending up with something totally different. The artist is in total control of the brush and what he thinks begins to merge with what he sees to create a total chaos in his work. It is human nature to become infatuated with power: to change the rules to fit your needs, to crush the competition, to steal ideas to make the things you do appear better, and to make sure that everyone knows that you are the one in charge. If there was anyway to perfectly fit Napoleon with Stalin, these reasons would be it.
Encarta. Stalin, Joseph. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2001.
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Orwell, George. Animal Farm. United States: McDougal Littell Inc. 1997.
Smith, Brenda. The Collapse of the Soviet Union. California: Lucent Books. 1994.
Ulam, Adam B. Stalin, the Man and His Era. New York: The Viking Press Inc. 1973.
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Compton. Stalin, Joseph. Compton’s Encyclopedia Online. The Learning Company, Inc., 1998. Online. Internet. (11 April 2001).
Gilmore, Eddie. Stalin Dies; Mystery Veils Successor. Los Angeles Times 6 Mar 1953, natl. ed.: Front Page.
Kort, Michael. From The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union. Ed. Franklin Watts Inc. United States: McDougal Littell Inc. 1997
Lamount, George J. Animal Farm Comparison of Characters to the Russian Revolution. Home Page. Online. Internet.