Animal Farm

Writers often use social criticism in their books to show corruptness or weak
points of a group in society. One way of doing this is allegory which is a story
in which figures and actions are symbols of general truths. George Orwell is an
example of an author who uses allegory to show a social criticism effectively.

As in his novel Animal Farm, Orwell makes a parody of Soviet Communism as
demonstrated by Animal Farm’s brutal totalitarian rule, manipulated and
exploited working class, and the pigs’ evolution into the capitalists they
initially opposed. Totalitarianism is a political regime based on subordination
of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of life. It was
used by Stalin and the Bolsheviks in Russia during the 1920’s and 30’s and is
parodied in Animal Farm by Napoleon, the “almighty” leader, and his
fellow pigs and their ridiculous propaganda and rigorous rule. In the book,
Napoleon is deified and made superior to all other animals on the farm, for
example he is called emperor or leader while everyone else was referred to as a
“comrade”, and all the pigs were given higher authority then the rest
of the animals. An inequality between the pigs and rest of the farm was that the
pigs lived in the farm house while the other majority had to sleep in pastures.

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A certain pig Squealer who could “turn black into white” was in charge
of propaganda, and he would often change the commandments of the farm so that
they would fit the actions of Napoleon or the “upper class” of the
farm which was supposedly classless. For example, at one time a commandment read
“No animal shall drink alcohol”(P. 75), but soon after Napoleon drank
an abundance and almost died the commandment was changed to “No animal
shall drink to excess.” which made it seem as though Napoleon was within
the rules. Another instance where Napoleon showed severe rule was when everyone
on the farm who had either pledged for or showed support at one time for
Snowball, the exiled former leader, was executed on the spot. This act was a
humorous resemblance of The Great Purge in Russia where all opposition was
killed off. The governing system of the Animal Farm was truly corrupt, but it
did not stop with the propaganda and executions. At first on the Animal Farm, it
was promised to the majority of the animals who were neither Napoleon or a pig,
or the so-called “working class”, that “from each according to
his ability to each according to his needs”, no more, no less. In other
words, if all the animals worked to their capabilities they would get the work
back in rations. This system worked for a while, but stopped when Napoleon and
his Totalitarian government took over, and the system was manipulated. Napoleon
and his fellow pigs gave the animals unfair hours of labor and unfair rations
for their work which corrupted the system. Napoleon attempted to keep the
animals intact by inspiring them with slogans, “Napoleon is always
right.” and “I will work harder.”(P.40) This seemed to work
because no animal would refuse to do their job because of the fear of their food
supply being cut as a penalty. As an example, Napoleon announced that all
animals would have to work voluntary Sunday afternoons, but any animal who
absented himself from it would have his ration reduced by half(P. 42). Napoleon
gave the animals long, many hour days so that the farm could move toward
industrialization with the building of a windmill, much like The Five Year Plan
of Russia. This act was made comical because much like in Russia the plan kept
on failing, but the government proceeded in actions anyway. The so-called
“working class” of the Animal Farm which at first had a bright future
was turned into more of a “slave class”. Animal Farm started with a
dream, a dream of old Major’s which was for the animals of England specifically
the Manor Farm to rebel against the humans, take over the farm, and live at
peace amongst themselves. This dream soon became a reality for the animals of
the Manor Farm as they defeated their master, Mr. Jones, in the Battle of
Cowshed with their battle cry “Four legs good, two legs bad”, and took
over the farm which they renamed Animal Farm. The first leader was Snowball who
ruled along with his fellow pigs and kept Major’s dream alive, only to be
expelled from the farm soon


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