How Are Themes Constructed in the Novel Animal Farm

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Many authors construct themes through their novels to deliver their personal point of view on a particular matter occurring within society. This is dominantly reflected in the 1945 novel, ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell (Eric Blaire). The novel ‘Animal Farm’ is centralised among the story of the animals that live on Manor Farm, where they are dictated by their cruel master Mr Jones. Under the inspiration of a pig named Old Major, the animals rebel against Mr Jones and overthrow him. They decide to construct their own farm, which they plan to be a utopia where ‘all animals are equal’. However; after the death of Old Major, corruption arises and many of the animals, who are lacking intelligence, live in a state of oblivion. Although ‘Animal Farm’ is under the disguise of a fable about domestic animals, it is also allegorical of the events of the Russian Revolution, the Communist Manifesto and The Russian Civil War. The author, George Orwell has created numerous themes within the novel, namely; ‘‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’, ‘simple minds fall subject to propaganda’ and ‘the abuse of language can contribute to the abuse of power’, all of which he creates through the use of many intricate writing techniques. ‘Animal farm’ was written to be focused on the story of rebelling animals. However; it both constructs and reinforces many themes.

The technique of propaganda was used during the time of the Russian Revolution to manipulate those with simple minds and in particular, the Bolshevik community. They were induced into committing to the campaign of Dr Goebbels and Joseph Stalin. Propaganda is the term used to describe the form of commandment that is intended at influencing the attitude of a community toward a certain issue. The novel ‘Animal Farm’ co-responds to the theme ‘simple minds fall subject to propaganda’, much like the events in history. This is shown through the characterisation of Boxer, Mollie and the Sheep.

Through the use of Squealer’s propaganda, Napoleon was able to take advantage of the Animal’s ignorance. This is dominantly mirrored in the example of Boxer, who supplies physical labour for Napoleon and is returned with his betrayal and death. Boxer, a strong male horse was constructed by Orwell as the hardworking proletariat devoted to Animal Farm. However; he has a simple mind and could not foresee his own doom. Boxer’s prolonged dedication to work made him weaker and deteriorated his well being. After an accident that damaged his lung, Napoleon decided to send him to a veterinary in Willingdon:

“...The animals crowded round the van. ‘Goodbye, Boxer’ they chorused. ‘Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side of that van? That gave the animals pause, and there was a hush. Muriel began to spell out the words. But Benjamin pushed her aside and in the midst of a deadly silence he read: ‘Alfred Simmmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone Meal. Kennels Supplied. Do you not understand what that means? They are taking Boxer to the Knacker’s!” (Pg 82)

Instead of being properly treated, Boxer was sold to the knackers. So that the animals did not distrust the regime of Napoleon, Squealer crafted a speech to realign the animals:

“...It was the most affecting sight I have ever seen!’ said Squealer, lifting his trotter and wiping away a tear. ‘I was at his bedside at the very last. And at the end, almost too weak to speak, he whispered in my ear that his sole sorrow was to have passed on before the windmill has finished. ‘Forward comrades. Forward in the name of the rebellion. Long live Animal Farm! Long live comrade Napoleon! Napoleon is always right.’ Some of the animals had noticed that the van which took Boxer was marked ‘horse slaughterer’ and actually jumped to the conclusion that Boxer has been sent to the Knacker’s. The explanation was really very simple. The van had been the property of the Knacker, which had been bought by...
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