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In allegorical novel called “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

By mrsm1ley May 19, 2013 1106 Words
In allegorical novel called “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, an interesting idea that was worth learning about is how power can corrupt an individual. Animal Farm tells us about the Rebellion of animals against humans. The Rebellion is a great success and pigs, being the most intelligent animals, take control. However, as time goes on, life of other animals becomes worse and worse while pigs prosper. Orwell based this book of Russian communism and used Stalin as prototype for Napoleon. He also tries to demonstrate that once a person has complete power, that individual will become corrupt and will do anything in order to maintain it. Orwell wanted this novel to be a warning for future societies as in the novel, Napoleon slaughters the ones who openly oppose him and uses different methods of psychological manipulation and physical threat in order to maintain his leadership. Napoleon attempts to maintain his power by threatening animals physically, even slaughtering them. For instance, Napoleon slaughtered four pigs that had opposed him when he abolished the Sunday Meetings. Napoleon killed them using his dogs because they were questioning and criticizing his decisions and leadership. If that continued, other animals would start to analyse the situation and come to the conclusion that Napoleon was in fact a poor and corrupted leader. Napoleon could not let this happen, so he murdered the pigs because “they confessed that they had been secretly in touch with Snowball ever since the expulsion, that they had collaborated with him in destroying the windmill, and that they had entered into an agreement with him to hand over Animal Farm to Mr Frederick”. Of course, Napoleon also murdered the three hens (that had been the ringleaders in the attempted rebellion over the eggs) after they stated that “Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon’s orders”. However, it is obvious that Napoleon simply decided to get rid of all opposition. Mass murder was not the only physical threat used by Napoleon. At one point in the novel, hens did not wish to give up their eggs to Napoleon, so he cut off their food supply. Napoleon starved the hens because they opposed him, just like the pigs. Orwell tries to show us that once a dictator gains power, he will not accept any criticism or opposition and will simply murder whoever questions his leadership. For example, a Chilean dictator called Augusto Pinochet murdered over forty thousand people during the first month after getting power simply because they questioned his actions. But, Napoleon could not always go to extreme measures such as executing the opposition so he employed Squealor to persuade animals on issues through rhetoric. For example, Squealer, Napoleon’s right hand, made up a statistic that animals “had more oats, more hay, more turnips than they had had in Jones's day, that they worked shorter hours, that their drinking water was of better quality, that they lived longer, that a larger proportion of their young ones survived infancy, and that they had more straw in their stalls and suffered less from fleas”. In combination with complete isolation from other farms, other animals could not prove Squealer wrong so they believed that they actually had a much better life than other farms. But, in reality, animals had the lowest food rations compared to other farms. Napoleon also encourages other animals to use Boxer’s slogans such as “Napoleon is always right” and “I will work harder”. Boxer is very loyal to Napoleon due to his fairly low intelligence but he is respected by other animals because of his strength and stubbornness. Because of that, Napoleon knows that animals will listen to Boxer and try to work as hard as Boxer. In this case, Orwell tries to show that dictators carefully control the flow of information and simply block anything that could potentially harm them. For example, the Chinese government simply blocks web-sites such as YouTube because they usually contain information that the government deems to be inappropriate. However, making up statistics would not be enough to control the animals so Napoleon used patriotic songs and the seven commandments in order to manipulate the animals. He tried to make animals believe that he was the wisest, kindest leader they had. He did it by replacing “Beasts of England” with “Comrade Napoleon”, a song that contains lyrics such as “Full belly twice a day, clean straw to roll upon; Every beast big and small sleeps at peace in his stall, thou watchest over all, Comrade Napoleon!” This song helps Napoleon maintain his leadership as animals easily believe everything that is in it. Another example of biasing the truth is when Squealer explains why pigs take apples and milk. He justifies it by saying “Milk and apples contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back!” Squealer confuses animals with words such as “substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig” and then acts on the fear of the fact that Jones may come back, although in reality Jones was on the other end of the country. Dictators such as Stalin justified their actions using reasons similar to Squealer’s. These reasons were similar in a way that they acted on people’s fears, causing them to believe everything Stalin said. Orwell’s novel is based on Russian communism and it criticizes the decisions and methods used by Stalin using Napoleon as a representation of him. However, Orwell also tries to warn future generations. Orwell wanted to show what the future would look like if nobody ever questioned their leaders. He wanted to show that once a person obtained great power, he would become corrupt and a lot of people would suffer. People need to speak their mind, criticise and question everything their government says, otherwise leaders will not care about their people. But, at some point people may get tired of totalitarianism and they will rebel against their leaders, just like people did in Egypt. One last thing that Orwell wanted to show is how much propaganda can influence people and how hard it can be to regain freedom of speech using examples of the mass executions of animals and the fact that nobody “dared to speak his mind” after this mass slaughter.

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