Animal Farm - Historical Relevance

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  • Topic: Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky
  • Pages : 6 (2271 words )
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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George Orwell grew up a devout and dedicated socialist in the British colonies of India and even when he eventually studied and lived in England. He was loyal to the beliefs and followings of socialism's fathers, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the authors of The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. However, when Orwell saw the ideals of Socialism turned into vicious Communism, taking advantage of and abusing the lower classes that it was intended to help, he could not turn a blind eye to the cruelties and hypocrisies of the totalitarian Communism under the dictatorial reign of Joseph Stalin. Therefore, Orwell wrote two greatest anti-Communist novels that solidified his place as an advocate of freedom and a committed opponent of Communist oppression. His loathing criticism is best portrayed and evident in his satirical and allegoric fable Animal Farm. Written between 1943 and 1944, it served as an enlightening call to freedom and fairness around the world with the Russian revolution serving as the perfect backdrop and storyline to convey his powerful message.

In February 1917, Czar Nicholas II, the monarch of Russia abdicated leaving Alexander Kerensky as the premier. However, about eight months later Kerensky was overthrown by Socialist/Communist revolutionists led by Vladimir Lenin, who quickly was self-appointed Chief Commissar of the new Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Almost immediately, as the country was war-torn, the chief allies of Lenin began jockeying for position and power in the newly formed state. Most notably including Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, Gregory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev. The popular and charismatic Trotsky came into the forefront along with the intimidating and militant Stalin as the likely successors to Lenin's vast power. Upon Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin manipulated an alliance with Zinoviev and Kaminev against Trotsky. Eventually Stalin stood supreme dictator of the USSR where Trotsky was exiled and eventually assassinated by Stalin's troops. These horrifying events became the wondrous plot and characters of Animal Farm.

Mr. Jones, representing the capitalist monarch society in pre-rebellion Russia, has a functioning and standard farm in the countryside of England and it includes the typical animals and beasts of burden on such a farm, including pigs, horses, poultry, dogs, goats and other animals of the sort. In many ways the farm also mimics the countryside of Russia during its revolution with its poor and worsening conditions and irresponsible leaders. He works and uses the animals to sell the fruits of their labor so that he may survive and thrive in the capitalist society. However, Old Major, a prize-winning boar has been around long enough to realize his and the other animals exploitation. He envisions and dreams of a socialist utopia for the animals. He assembles the animals to tell him of his dream and the pending rebellion against the harsh and devil human. He stirs and inspires the animals with his song "Beasts of England". In the role of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx, Old Major enjoys a brief period of leadership controlling the revolution but fails to see the product of his vision, dying only three days after initially inciting his new "comrades", an obvious pun on the Soviet's word for friend.

Finally, after a brief period of planning and plotting, the animals, starving and freezing, break into the food storage and help themselves, when Mr. Jones discovers them, he, quite inebriated, begins to whip the animals in an attempt to hoard them back into their pens. Unexpectedly, the revolution spontaneously occurs as the animals have finally had too much and can stand no more. The revolt is extremely successful as Mr. Jones and his men are driven from the farm. Following their victory, Napoleon and Snowball, two ambitious young pigs, emerge as the two new leaders in the new animal republic, evidently depicting the Communist combatants of Joseph Stalin...
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