Absurdism in George Orwell's Animal Farm

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This paper examines George Orwell’s contribution to the literary movement of absurdism. It focuses on Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. George Orwell, formerly known as “Eric Blair” enlisted in the Indian Imperial Police at about twenty years of age and served in Burma for five years during which he witnessed imperialism at its worst; he saw hangings, floggings, and filthy prisons, and he “was forced to assert superiority over the Burmese which he never really felt.” On realizing the little economic and or cultural progress he made, Orwell left this situation with the conviction that imperialism was far too evil to risk one’s life for.
In 1936, Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War and through first-hand experience he saw propaganda and the perversion of history used as instruments of war. The deliberate distortion of facts by both sides seemed to Orwell to be even more terrible than the bombs used in the war. He believed that the mere distortion of truth would create worse situations for mankind than any ideological war could. As for power, he realized that it had become an end to itself- and to those who seek it. Orwell’s involvement in these wars and the experiences seem to have influenced his life’s philosophy as it is reflected in his literary works after the war. In Orwell’s Animal Farm, the superficial level of its meaning criticizes the politics of war and its consequences; on the other hand, a deeper level sheds light on the absurdity that is the war as it examines the motive, process and outcome of the war both physically and psychologically.
Absurdism is the philosophical and literary doctrines that human beings live in essential isolation in a meaningless and irrational world, absurdists therefore recognize the universe for what it is and cease to struggle against it. The notion of the absurd contains the idea that there is no meaning to be found in the world beyond the meaning we give to it. To the world there is no such thing as a good person or a bad



References: Orwell, G. (2008) Animal farm. London: Penguin Books. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/animal-farm/critical-essays/russian-revolution.html Alex Zwerling, Orwell and the Left (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974)

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