Animal Farm. The Great Purges

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Emily Mills

The Great Purges

As previously quoted by George Orwell, “Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. In many cases, a historical significance used in literature can be very effective and can be used to get an event or message across using symbolism and metaphors. George Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm, incorporates both a children’s read of talking animals taking over a farm and the historical horrors of the 1900’s. One of the many underlying events that the book includes is the Great Purges. Both metaphorically introduced in Orwell’s satire version, and historically researched, the Great Purges were displayed as “respectable” murders and ways to gain power and leadership. George Orwell’s Animal Farm demonstrates how the unwillingness to deny those of higher importance or authority condemns the lower classes to bear the oppression of those in command. The murders of innocent victims, or purges, with which Josef Stalin eliminated any potential threats and demanded his political title find expression in Animal Farm when the forced confessions and executions of animals, such as other pigs, sheep, and hens whom Napoleon finds distrustful following the collapse of the windmill. Though thought to have been merely out of fear, the confessions were previously coerced and forced by Stalin. In fact, the fear was instilled in Napoleon who warned the other animals to “...keep [their] eyes open. For [they had] reason to think that some of Snowball’s secret agents [were] lurking among [them] at this moment!” (Orwell, 82). Those animals who showed even the slightest hesitation in one of his orders or disapproval toward Napoleon, such as the pigs who opposed the cancellation of Sunday Meetings, were executed immediately. Similar to the 1930s, when Stalin staged a number of infamous“purges,” trials where Stalin and trusted allies forced government members and citizens to...
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