Writers often use social criticism in their books to show corruptness or weakpoints of a group in society.
One way of doing this is allegory which is a storyin which figures and actions are symbols of general truths. George Orwell is anexample 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 asdemonstrated by Animal Farm’s brutal totalitarian rule, manipulated andexploited working class, and the pigs’ evolution into the capitalists theyinitially opposed. Totalitarianism is a political regime based on subordinationof the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of life.
It wasused by Stalin and the Bolsheviks in Russia during the 1920’s and 30’s and isparodied in Animal Farm by Napoleon, the “almighty” leader, and hisfellow pigs and their ridiculous propaganda and rigorous rule. In the book,Napoleon is deified and made superior to all other animals on the farm, forexample 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 restof the animals. An inequality between the pigs and rest of the farm was that thepigs lived in the farm house while the other majority had to sleep in pastures.A certain pig Squealer who could “turn black into white” was in chargeof propaganda, and he would often change the commandments of the farm so thatthey would fit the actions of Napoleon or the “upper class” of thefarm which was supposedly classless. For example, at one time a commandment read”No animal shall drink alcohol”(P. 75), but soon after Napoleon drankan abundance and almost died the commandment was changed to “No animalshall drink to excess.” which made it seem as though Napoleon was withinthe rules. Another instance where Napoleon showed severe rule was when everyoneon the farm who had either pledged for or showed support at one time forSnowball, the exiled former leader, was executed on the spot.
This act was ahumorous resemblance of The Great Purge in Russia where all opposition waskilled off. The governing system of the Animal Farm was truly corrupt, but itdid not stop with the propaganda and executions. At first on the Animal Farm, itwas promised to the majority of the animals who were neither Napoleon or a pig,or the so-called “working class”, that “from each according tohis ability to each according to his needs”, no more, no less.
In otherwords, if all the animals worked to their capabilities they would get the workback in rations. This system worked for a while, but stopped when Napoleon andhis Totalitarian government took over, and the system was manipulated. Napoleonand his fellow pigs gave the animals unfair hours of labor and unfair rationsfor their work which corrupted the system.
Napoleon attempted to keep theanimals intact by inspiring them with slogans, “Napoleon is alwaysright.” and “I will work harder.”(P.40) This seemed to workbecause no animal would refuse to do their job because of the fear of their foodsupply being cut as a penalty. As an example, Napoleon announced that allanimals would have to work voluntary Sunday afternoons, but any animal whoabsented himself from it would have his ration reduced by half(P. 42). Napoleongave the animals long, many hour days so that the farm could move towardindustrialization with the building of a windmill, much like The Five Year Planof Russia.
This act was made comical because much like in Russia the plan kepton failing, but the government proceeded in actions anyway. The so-called”working class” of the Animal Farm which at first had a bright futurewas turned into more of a “slave class”. Animal Farm started with adream, a dream of old Major’s which was for the animals of England specificallythe Manor Farm to rebel against the humans, take over the farm, and live atpeace amongst themselves. This dream soon became a reality for the animals ofthe Manor Farm as they defeated their master, Mr.
Jones, in the Battle ofCowshed with their battle cry “Four legs good, two legs bad”, and tookover the farm which they renamed Animal Farm. The first leader was Snowball whoruled along with his fellow pigs and kept Major’s dream alive, only to beexpelled from the farm soon