By: Nicolás Herschmann
and Daniela Alessio
“Animal Farm” by George Orwell is an allegorical novel published on England in 1945. According to the author, this book reflects historical events leading up and during the Stalin era before World War II. It is the story of a revolution which goes wrong, based on the Russian revolution and Stalin’s use of power, the overall message is that man’s desire for power makes a classless society impossible. In the book, each animal represents a public figure or a type of person in real life. With this we can begin to develop the questions below in order to have a more complete idea of the meaning of the novel.
1) “All animals are equal”. Explain and expand your ideas. Mr Jones was the owner of a animal farm, and he was careless and irresponsible with them. One day, he forgot to feed the animals, so they reveled and attacked Mr Jones, and from that day the animals start to live by their own, independent from their past owner. Next to this, the animals, in specially Old Mayor, create a philosophy called animalism, which consist of seven commandments, and the last one was the most important: “all animals are equal”. This is a contradiction in the story, because there were some creatures that work much more (as Boxer or Clover) and others who work less and had more power than others, as were the pigs Napoleon and Snow Ball. They excused this situation by mentioning that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”
Comparing this context to the Russian Revolution, we can understand that Mr Jones represent Tzar Nicholas II of Russia, who was a man who don´t care about his people. Then, Napoleon represents Stalin; Snow ball, Trotsky, and Old Mayor represent Karl Marx, because he was the philosopher of the doctrine of the revolution. He believes in a communist society, with the concept of equality as the most important one. But this is a utopia, it cannot be applied in real life, so the concept that established the seventh commandment is a false equality, created by the leaders to have a good image for all the animals and so, to be accepted. Clover and Boxer represent the working class who don’t have a very clear philosophy, and so, they are very manipulatable. This philosophy and new system seemed to be a solution for all the bad conditions that animals had, but in fact, it is the same with other words and with other appearance, and that´s why they excused their selves saying that some animals are more equal than others. At bottom, it is a capitalist system, because the leaders (the pigs) want their own benefit, and the others work harder.
The concept of equality is an utopist word, and so, the people who want power use it for being accepted, but in real life it doesn´t exist, such as the communist society, it is only a dreamed vision of the reality in which all seemed to be good, but is impossible.
2) Refer to three elements or facts or events that are considered symbols of a capitalistic society. Explain them. In this book, “Animal Farm” you can find several symbols which represents an socialist ideology; this idea that identifies for constructing a society with a political, social and economic control by the State, more global and with fair divisions, in order to avoid an unequal distribution, because when a minority of society does not have resources needed for a decent life and basic needs are satisfied, everyone must resort to selling their labour in return for a minimum wage, because is unable to compete with big corporations and industries. The creators of this idea were Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, first to apply the State as a central planner and distributor of wealth.
Base on this book, you can see this doctrine used by the name of “Animalism” where the Old Major adopted these thoughts and ideas and the pigs, Snowball, Napoleon, Squaler and all the members of the farm must follow and adapt to them.
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