George Orwell: The Prophesier
George Orwell once said, “freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”, that, essentially, “speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act”. (“George Orwell”) Orwell’s words reveal his political views in the absolute truest form. His uninhibited writing style forced readers to not only to listen what he had to say, but to also recognize his writing as the truth. Although his veracity was supposed to be accepted without question, Orwell defined oppressive ideas of the government by exposing elements such as class division, and the failed attempts of the middle class to establish a meaningful union with the working class. Through his symbolic storytelling in Animal Farm and 1984, George Orwell creates a delusional and exaggerated picture of society, one marked by oppression, an eccentric government, and the complete hypocrisy of the middle class with the sole purpose of warning humanity of tyrannical forces.
Orwell’s Animal Farm, the satiric classic in which animals symbolized the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalin, illustrated many of the evils that Orwell feared. However, “according to the varying predispositions of readers, arguments arose as to whether or not Animal Farm focuses essentially on the failure of the Russian Revolution, or on the inherent likelihood of all revolutions to fail” (Gardner). Nevertheless, throughout the novel, Orwell paints a bleak picture of the political 20th century, while advocating the revolutionary ideals of justice and equality.
To symbolize revolt and the corruption of the revolution within society, Orwell starts Animal Farm with a rebellion led by the animals in an attempt to create a utopian society. After the revolt, and the “rebellion had been successfully carried through…and the Manor Farm was theirs” (Orwell 32), there were graver dangers than the threat of attack and counter-revolution. In fact, the most severe risks laid within the farm itself, in internal corruption. After all, “A revolution often means only that: a revolving, a turn of the wheel of fortune, by which those who were at the bottom, mount to the top, and assume the choice positions, crushing the former power-holders beneath them” (Atwood). To sustain the possibility of distortion within the newly regulated farm, leaders of the revolt, Napoleon and Snowball, created a doctrine of rules entitled “The Seven Commandments.” (Orwell 17). Essentially, the animals in the farm were taught, “whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy” (Orwell 34) and, furthermore, the leaders of the farm advocated, “whoever had thoroughly grasped this concept would be safe from all human influences” (Orwell 24). These two animals, primarily responsible for the elaboration of these ideas, respectively represent Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. It is through these characters Orwell tries to spread his historical view. It is as if he “espoused in simplicity of language proper to a story about animals, but also unlocked a deeper level of emotional response than could have been reached by a detailed historical treatment of revolution” (Gardner). As the rivalry between the two animals emerges, Orwell shows the hypocrisy that characterized the leadership of these two men.
The most controversial argument between the two animal protagonists in the story is over the construction of a windmill on the farm. Evidenced by the way that “[Napoleon] had declared himself against the windmill from the start” (Orwell 36). This repetitive, yet critical, debate between the two animals is a mechanism that Orwell uses to portray the misconstrued rivalry between the two political powerhouses. As the plot develops, the windmill transforms into a way in which Snowball can exert his power. Eventually, the windmill becomes an instrument to divert the animals’ attention from the increasing amount of shortages and inadequacies developing on the farm. The animals spend the...
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