Although there are significant similarities between 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell incorporated prominent differences between both novels in order to provoke thought from his readers and instill deeper meaning in the text. An example of one of these distinct differences is the form of society depicted in each novel. In 1984, totalitarianism is portrayed, while in Animal Farm, communism is demonstrated. Furthermore, 1984 illustrates how a totalitarian society is maintained, but on the other hand, Animal Farm deals with the process of achieving a totalitarian state. Despite the minor differences, Orwell utilizes similarities in characters and the overall aspect of control in order to unravel shared themes between the two novels, oppressive power corrupts absolutely and complete political control can be achieved through mental manipulation.
The major characters in both Animal Farm and 1984 act in direct association to their totalitarian environment. For instance, the characters Napolean, Squealer, and Boxer from Animal Farm compare effectively with Big Brother, Winston, and Parsons of 1984. Napolean can be linked to Big Brother because both hold the qualities of a tyrannical dictator. Similar to Napolean, Big Brother is a secretive conspirator who works out of sight rather than overtly. Squealer can be compared to Winston because both characters revise history. Squealer’s duty is to modify the Seven Commandments to suit the present, and Winston’s job at the Ministry of Truth is to amend the past to also suit the present, thus leading these characters to be relatively similar. Parsons and Boxer are both distinguished by their readiness to work, continuously offering to work whenever work needed to be done. The most distinct comparison between these two characters is their blind, obedient devotion to their master. A common theme of both novels, oppressive power corrupts absolutely, is brought about by this characterization.
In both novels, the theme that complete political control can be achieved through mental manipulation is demonstrated by the leaders’ oppressive tactics. For example, in Animal Farm when the pigs convinced the animals that they should have all of the apples, they were manipulating the animals into believing that this would be best for the whole group, while in reality the only animals it benefitted was the pigs. This same sense of manipulation is displayed in 1984 by the idea of “doublethink”, or holding two contradictory thoughts and believing both of them. This allowed the Party to control most of the citizens of Oceania’s minds by redirecting the truth to always point in the Party’s favor; the Party was always right. Mental manipulation plays a massive role in both novels, thus developing the shared theme between the two.
To conclude, the similarities and differences between the novels 1984 and Animal Farm reveal Orwell’s intentions of including them. He simply wanted to convey shared themes of the novels, oppressive power corrupts absolutely and complete political control can be achieved through mental manipulation. This artistic idea of control has left a lasting effect on readers, and will remain important throughout history.