Satire and Animal Farm

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Module C: Satire

Part A:
Discussion Essay:

“While the satirist makes us laugh, the main objective of the satirist is to cause us, by the use of various techniques, to reflect on ourselves as humans. In reflecting upon ourselves we learn important lessons about people, about issues confronting society and about life in general.”

Question: In an essay of about 1800-2000 words, demonstrate the truth of this quotation by referring to George Orwell’s Animal Farm and two related texts of your own choosing.

Satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, and other satirical techniques, to expose, criticize and ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself. Humour is used to analyse issues, events, people or organisations and to show their flaws and weaknesses. This can be seen in the quote “While the satirist makes us laugh, the main objective of the satirist is to cause us, by the use of various techniques, to reflect on ourselves as humans. In reflecting upon ourselves, we learn important lessons about people, about issues confronting society and about life in general”. It simply states that the use of satire is effective in portraying our life and influences us to reflect on our lives and how we perceive society. Some great examples of satire that have in fact made us ponder about societies issues and life itself is: a book named “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, an episode from the popular animated TV sitcom the Simpsons – titled “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish”, and a satirical article from ‘The Onion’ called “HP Unveils Non-Computer For Those Who Don't Need A Computer”. All these texts include some aspects of humour, through the use of a vast range of different satirical techniques. By doing this, we view the issue and its true meaning and how it relates to our lives and the society we live in.

The first text, Animal Farm, written by George Orwell, is a well known novel. It is known for its effective use of satire in portraying the story of the Russian Revolution. One of the satirical techniques that were used is irony. The story started out with a common belief that all animals are equal and should earn and work the same amount. This was called animalism (symbolises communism), however over time, things changed and the values of Napoleon (who symbolises Joseph Stalin) differed from the rest of the farm. His morals and values had changed and the whole idea of animalism eventually is altered to suit the needs of the pigs rather than the needs of all animals, which is ironic, in saying that putting oneself is the exact opposite to the whole idea of animalism. His change can be seen in the difference between some of the laws that were established at the beginning of the novel and how they ended up near the end of the novel. For example one of the laws that was agreed by all was “No animal shall sleep in a bed”. This was ultimately changed into “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets”. Eventually all the seven laws are replaced with "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others", and "Four legs good, two legs better!" as the pigs become more human. This irony throughout the book enables the reader to see Joseph Stalin’s, and the whole communism ideal, flaws and mistakes in a new fashion. This supports the quote in saying that the use of irony as a satirical technique is effective in making the reader reflect about issues confronting society and about life in general.

Another effective satirical technique used in Animal Farm is that the whole book is an Allegory for the Russian Revolution. Each character in the novel symbolises a key significant figure that was part of the communism movement. These include Old Major as being Karl Marx (creator of communism), who came up with the idea of animalism. Also the events in the novel, such as the Battle of the Cowshed represent the allied invasion of the Soviet Russia in 1918, and the defeat...
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