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Animal Farm

By caitlinhamiltonx Mar 29, 2014 1488 Words
Animal Farm: Critical Essay
In the era of the Russian Revolution George Orwell wrote the fable known as “Animal Farm” to highlight the events and outcome of the revolution. Orwell symbolises iconic figures during the revolution through the use of farm animals such as pigs, cows and donkeys. Throughout the novel Orwell takes us through the story of the animals and how they deal with overtaking the human race, food shortages, deaths and have to tolerate with the horrors of having a tyrannical leader. Napoleon makes a strong impact on the readers as a character to be wary of as he slowly starts to sabotage the animal’s hard work and the equal society. Instantly the readers are suspicious of his scheming and forceful behaviour.

During chapter 2, the first impression of Napoleon gives us a warning of the tyrant leader he will soon develop into. “Napoleon was a large, rather fierce – looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker but with a reputation for getting his own way.” Due to the fact Napoleon is ‘fierce – looking’ directly gives the impression he is frightening and to be afraid upon. The idea that he doesn’t talk much but has ‘a reputation for getting his own way’ which conjures the idea he uses violent tactics and force to get what he wants. With this first portrayal of Napoleon the reader is now cautious of his character and hesitant about how his personality will contrast with the other animals.

After the death of the farm leader Old Major they animals impose the idea of taking over the human race and producing their own farm where they are in control. During debates Napoleon’s behaviour is unfamiliar and odd as he is very active even though he is known to not be much of a talker. However, what is stranger is the disappearance of milk that was last seen by Napoleon. “When they came back in the evening it was noticed that the milk has disappeared.” After the disappearance of milk and Napoleons activeness of the debates, it is obvious he is acting strange and out of character. Also, it is noticeable that Napoleon’s views on the ideas for the farm contrast with Snowballs but he always seem’s to win over the other animals to agree with him. It is as though he is brainwashing the animal’s to believe what he says is correct. Now, the readers are taking a strong disliking to Napoleon’s personality and his cunning tactics.

The animals worked extremely hard for the farm, sometimes for full days, but it was rewarded with the huge success of the harvest. Once Jessie and Bluebell give birth to 9 puppies, Napoleon is soon to offer giving the pups an early education taught by him. “He took them up into a loft which could only be reached by a ladder from the harness-room, and there kept them in such seclusion that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence.” The behaviour of Napoleon and the pigs is noticeable, as they do not take part in any of the work but do take on the role as leaders who oversee and direct the work done by the animals. It is suspicious how Napoleon keeps the young pups in isolation from the rest of the farm including their mother Jessie. Napoleons suspicious behaviour leaves the readers wondering what Napoleon is really doing with the puppies.

The contrasting views between Snowball and Napoleon grows clearer and stronger as seen in the disagreement over the windmill. The windmill was to give the animal’s electrical power for light supply and heat in the upcoming winter. However, Napoleon is strongly against the idea of it and refuses to contribute to it. “He arrived unexpectedly to examine the plans. He walked heavily round the shed, looked closely at every detail of the plans and snuffed at them once or twice, then stood for a little while contemplating them out of the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his leg, urinated over the plans, and walked out without uttering a word.” Napoleon selfishly ruins Snowballs blueprints for the Windmill which shows his true cunning and vicious personality. The way he ‘unexpectedly’ arrived at the shed suggests the idea that he sneakily came into the shed without planning. Napoleon also ruins the pans by peeing on them which shows he is trying to sabotage the windmill mostly because it is Snowballs idea. By now the reader is fully aware of Napoleons tactics to win over the farm and how he is slowly brainwashing all of the animals. The equal society the animals once wanted where they would all unite is slowly diminishing apart due to Napoleon and nobody is aware of it.

Soon in chapter 5 the readers are quick to learn what Napoleon was really doing with the pups… “At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws.” Napoleon raised the dogs to become his own army of guards. Now, the animals are in great fear of both Napoleon and what they had just witnessed. ‘Brass studded collars’ on the dogs necks gives off the idea of a vicious appearance where they have studs on their collars. This is a strong turning point in the book as it shows Napoleon seizing power, as his plan was to all along. Napoleon finally has what he wants and the animals cannot object because he can easily force the dogs onto them.

By chapter 6 it is clear Napoleon has power over the animals and is now their leader. His forceful and devious tactics have won him “Animal Farm”, and he can easily brainwash the animals. “Napoleon announced that there would be work on Sunday afternoons as well. This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.” The animals are told working on Sundays is ‘voluntary’ but will have their food cut in half, this means the animals have no other option but to work on Sundays or else they will starve. This is an evil method used by Napoleon because it means the animals will obviously work on Sundays and if any try to object they will be too hungry to have the energy to fight him. Napoleon has seized power over the animals and they have to struggle with the horrors of having him as a tyrant leader.

As we see Napoleon has seized Animal Farm and has full control over the animals, mostly because they are terrified of him. Napoleon uses his powerful strategies to keep the animals under control and keep them from protesting against him. “They were the same four pigs as had protested when Napoleon abolished the Sunday Meetings. Without any further prompting they confessed that they had been secretly in touch with Snowball ever since his expulsion that they had collaborated with him in destroying the windmill.” Napoleon sets his 9 guard dogs onto the 4 pigs who once stood up against him. Napoleon doesn’t want any other animals to protest against him so he makes sure all of the other animals see what the consequences will be if they do. He slaughters any animal that confess to be in alliance with Snowball, leaving the other animals left trembling in fear and complete shock. By the end of the novel, the animals finally realise they have been tricked into believing Napoleon could unite the animals and give them the equal society the so badly want. “Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs? The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.” The animals have realised that the humans and pigs are truly alike and they have been tricked all along. The animals will not get the equal society they long wanted for. The animals work long, hard days with a low amount of food. The pigs have turned into humans by walking on 2 legs, wearing clothes and sleeping in beds. To conclude, Napoleon took power over Animal Farm with the use of fierce and devious tactics. He brainwashes the other animals to do as he says and that he is always right. Orwell symbolises Napoleon as a tyrant leader and his views were not for the good of the farm. The animals have to deal with food shortages so they don’t have the energy to protest against him. They have to witness executions of their beloved friends so they are too afraid to speak up against Napoleon.

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