Animal Farm Essay Research Paper Eric Arthur

Animal Farm Essay, Research Paper

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his

psuedonym George Orwell, is an English author commonly known to write about

political issues. Orwell has been highly acclaimed and criticized for his

novels, including one of his most famous, Animal Farm. In a satirical form,

George Orwell uses personified farm animals to express his views on stalinism

in the novel Animal Farm.

Throughout Orwell’s early novels, democratic

socialism kept the author from total despair of all humans(Greenblatt 104).

After his better experience in the Spanish Civil War and the shock of the

Nazi-Soviet pact, Orwell developed Animal Farm. The socialism Orwell believed

in was not a hardheaded “realistic” approach to society and polotics but

a rather sentimental, utopian vision of the world as a “raft sailing through

space, with, potentially, plenty of provisions for everybody”(Grennblatt


Animal Farm is a satirical beast fable

which has been heralded as Orwell’s lightest, gayest work(Brander 126).

It is a novel based on the first thirty years of the Soviet Union, a real

society pursuing the ideal of equality. His book argues that this kind

of society has not worked and could not (Meyers 102). Animal Farm has also

been known as a an entertaining, witty tale of a farm whose oppressed animals,

capable of speech and reason, overcome a cruel master and set up a revolutionary

government(Meyers 103). On another, more serious level, it is a political

allegory, a symbolic tale where all the events and characters represent

events and characters in Russian history since 1917(Meyers 103).

Orwell uses actual historical events to

construct Animal Farm, but rearranges them to fit his plot. Manor Farm

is Russia, Mr. Jones the Tsar, the pigs the Bolsheviks who led the revolution.

The humans represent the ruling class, the animals the workers and the

peasants. Old Major, the inspiration of the rebellion, is a combination

of Marx, the chief theorist and Lenin, the actual leader(Meyers 105). Old

Major dies before the rebellion just as Lenin did in the Russian revolution.

In actuality Stalin and Trotsky argue over power after Lenin’s death, which

Orwell satirizes in Napolean and Snowball.

In Animal Farm, Orwell immediately establishes

the Soviet political allegory as Old Major (Marx/Lenin) describes the exploitation

of animals by humans and the statement “all animals are comrades.” The

animals continuous singing of “Beasts of England” can be seen not only

as a symbol of the decay of communist notions of a perfect state, but also

as Orwell’s more general comment on the decline of true liberty and equality

in the west (Gardner 99).

The progress of the revolution from a common

idealism to a state system of leader, police, and workers happens rather

rapidly. The animals take over the farm and the pigs ( Bolsheviks ) emerge

as natural organizers. The pigs rduce the principles of animalism in seven

simple commandments and develop a green and white version of the Russian

hammer and sickle flag. Instead, theirs has “a hoof and horn which signifies

the future Republic of the animals which would arise when the human race

had been finally overthrown”(Orwell 89). Orwell demonstrates both the greed

and the hypocracy involved in the urge to power when the clever pigs contribute

to none of the work and keep for themselves all the milk and apples.

During the novel, the pigs continue to

gain more and more power. In the pigs uprise of power, the Seven Commandments

are an effective structural device. Their different alterations resemble

the pigs’ progressive rise to power. The pigs’ gradual acquisition of priveleges-

apples, milk, house, whisky, beer, clothes- leads to the final identification

of pig and human, Communist and capitalist(Gardner 101).

The blurring of the past and the hardening

shape of the present, grim, greedy, or just pragmatic, are accompanied

by betrayal of the spirit of the revolution exemplified in the ammendments

made into the “Seven Commandments” of “Animalism”(Gardner 102). Costantly

these are changed by one of the deceiving pigs, Squealer. The puzzled animals

can not figure out with trying to keep pace with the pigs increasing authority.

So the commandments such as, “No animal shall sleep in a bed” becomes,

when the pigs move into the farmhouse, “No animal shall sleep in a bed

with sheets.” Also, after the savage killings “No animal shall kill another”

is modified by the addition of “without a cause.”

Each event that occurs in Animal Farm has

a historical parallel(Meyers 106). The Rebellion is the October 1917 Revolution,

the Battle of the Cowshed is the subsequent Civil War, Mr. Jones and the

farmers represent the loyalist Russians, the hen’s revolt stands for the

brutally suppressed 1921 mutiny of the sailors, Napolean’s deal with Whymper

represents Russia’s 1922 Treaty of Rapallo with Germany(Meyers 106). The

most significant of all the events is the building of the windmill, which

in Soviet terms represents industrialization(Meyers 107). Orwell ends the

novel with a satiric portrait of the Teheran Conference of 1943, the meeting

of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin who are now allies (Raymond).

Throughout the entire book, the pigs gradually

gravitate towards the human world. First, through trade and alliances with

Mr.Frederick. The selling of timber to Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield is the

animal equivalent of the short-lived Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact of

1939(Gardner 105). Then as the pigs celebrate the Pyrrhic victory at the

Battle of the Windmill, they drink alcohol. More and more has Napolean,

now “elected” president, become the remote object of a personality cult

in a system marked by “readjustment” of rations for workers and the empty

“dignity of” more songs, more speeches, and more processions(Gardner 105).

Despite this, all the animals, except the pigs, still hope for days before

the Rebellion. They figured if they worked hard, at least, they worked

for themselves. “No creature among them went upon two legs”(Orwell 36).

“No creature called another creature ‘Master’”(Orwell 38). “All animals

were equal”(Orwell 62).

Orwell finishes Animal Farm with a surprise

ending. He demonstrates the pigs’ complete corruptness as they walk on

their hind legs. The pigs train all the young sheep to walk on their hind

legs and chant “Four legs good, two legs better.” Orwell throws in irony

throughout the novel to show that not all the animals are fair and equal.

On the whole, Orwell’s intentions to discredit

the Soviet system by showing its inhumanity and its back-sliding from ideals

is achieved. It is Orwell’s sharpness of visualization and emotional resonance

that have ensured Animal Farm what seems to be a permanent place in literature(Gardner

107). Graham Greene rightly noted in his review that we “become involved

in the fate of the animals. We care about them too much merely to translate

events into their historical equivalent.” There is no such possibility

in Animal Farm, nor, by the end , can we escape the weight of the book’s

sadness by thinking that these things have only happened to animals(Gardner

107). We look from the oppressed animals in the book to the oppressed human

beings outside and back again, and can see no difference (Gardner 107).


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